83. TWP RESPONDS, PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE: FEBRUARY, AFTERMATH III, A “WRONG” PADDLE & R.C. pt. XXIII

MEMO TO “FRAN” FROM WENDY: I appreciate your willingness to at least consider TWP’s perspective. But I must disagree on your conclusions concerning Michael. First, he DID lie repeatedly on the same offense. Second, he was paddled for the lying which I made clear to him. Finally, it was I who tried to get Mike off the hook on the one condition that he just admit to what he said. (I also got him out of trouble with his mom who asked about a “red bottom”.) Honesty is something that ALL kids have to learn because society does not excuse lying. (Need proof of that: Just lie on your 1040 Federal Tax Form and see what happens.

 

TWP RESONDS

In the last week, an anti c.p. website has made some comments that can only be described as silly, misinformed or plain stupid. Rather than allow the antis to define us or twist our words to fit their agenda, Jenny and I will answer some of their most recent comments.

Jenny

Teachers as “Bullies”: I guess real “bullying” must be o.k. by the way you treated what Darren did to Chip. You were right in saying “Kids will be kids” but I also believe “Bullies will be bullies”. At our elementary school, we teachers refuse to “Look the other way” when it comes to bullying and instead, take firm action. Only when bullying is repeated after warnings or if bullying results in a child being physically injured does the paddle become an option. I have resorted to the paddle only a few times for bullying and that fact should indicate the effectiveness of our “anti-bullying” discipline plan: Bullies KNOW they can’t get away with picking on other kids -So they don’t bully.

Question: How does that make me a “bully”? (You people must live in an upside down, alternate universe.)

Intimidating/Terrorizing children: 🙄 Yeah…right! If only you were to ever see my class on any ordinary school day. My taller stature MAY intimidate some kids but if that means they behave better, I’ll accept that. But don’t assume that I’m  loud, ill-tempered or terrorizing my students because I’m an “authority figure” in the classroom. However, I must be the adult in charge of my classroom because that IS  part of my job as a teacher!

Paddle as Weapon/Paddle=Gun or Knife: When you make comments like that, you lose any creditability that you might otherwise have. We do not even “show off” the paddle at the start of the school year because we feel that doing so sets too much of a negative tone on the first day. But we do NOT deny that we have paddles and the students are well aware of the school,s discipline policy -Including the use of the paddle. But how a paddle compares to a gun or knife is beyond me. Guns and knives ARE weapons and paddles are not. As to airport security: Why would we ever take a school paddle with us on our vacation? When the school year ends, we don’t even take them home with us.

Maybe the website The Hitting Stops Here should change its name to The Stupidity Starts Here.

Renee

Guilt: Your attempt at psychoanalysis showed me one thing: Y’all know nothing about psychology! Your implication is that my feeling in the aftermath of the first paddling I ever gave came from “guilt”. The problem with that assumption is that it is WAY off. When one feels genuine guilt, that arises from having done something “wrong”. My tears came from empathy for Greg, the feeling of frustration in the demise of my idealism and the conflicting emotions I had about a favorite childhood tradition of mine occurring on the same day I first used a paddle.

I had genuine empathy for Greg and worried that the the two mild swats I gave him might have been too hard. Greg later indicated that was not the case and that he felt shamed that the teacher he had a “crush” on had paddled him. I DID feel sorry for him that the paddling happened but never felt that I had done anything “wrong”.

I certainly had genuine feelings of frustration that I had to use something I never thought would be needed: A paddle. All of us went through the same type college courses which teach positive reinforcement of appropriate student behavior. But none of those courses teach what to do when the theoretical doesn’t work. That collision between the theories I had learned in college and the realities of the REAL classroom caused me to question myself and my assumptions about teaching. I do believe that I have resolved those doubts and my philosophy about school discipline is in our post MISSION STATEMENT published in August of 2008.

What really affected me emotionally was the fact that I gave a paddling on Halloween which, when growing up, was a childhood favorite of mine. I was actually in a giddy mood dressed up as the school “witch” when school started that morning. From that to having to paddle on of my own students really did bother me. I was no “paddler” and disagreed with Jean, my teaching mentor, on school c.p. The day I reluctantly swung a small wooden paddle twice in order to give a stinging rebuke was hard on me. I definitely did NOT enjoy paddling Greg but understood that, as a teacher, I could not allow students to steal from one another w/o consequences.

In conclusion, the answer is NO: I do NOT feel “guilt” because I did not do anything “wrong” in paddling Greg or any other student.

Those who wish to see “wrong” in the use of school c.p. do so out of their own narrow social biases. Hey, a lot of America is NOT like San Francisco/Bay Area, California.

 

AFTERMATH III

Hi y’all from the Auburn alum 5th grade teacher turned full time mommy. Folks still ask when or if I’m coming back to teach and my only answer at the moment is: I am “thinking” about possibly coming back this Fall but that isn’t 100%. Besides being a full time mommy, I am doing little projects around our on-going renovation (or as Renee mockingly calls it “the money pit”) of a 100 year old plantation house.

Well, this segment concerns the first paddling I ever gave as recounted in WENDY’S FIRST PADDLING. As I stated before, I did NOT want a paddle and felt that 5th graders should be able to behave themselves without the use of paddling as school discipline. Please understand, I will always detest the use of the paddle.However, there is one thing I detest even more and that is bullying. When growing up, I was one of the more popular girls in my school days but I put the word out that bullies were persona non-gratia as far as I was concerned. In addition, I told more than one bully that I would “snitch” if I saw them picking on someone. My girl-pals tended to look the other way but I refused to do so. And as a teacher, I was determined to have a “zero tolerance threshold” for bullying.

When I paddled Bill for bullying and taking money from Phil, another one of my students, I felt it was certainly justified and had no “guilt” about it. But having done so, it still bothered me. I felt that the paddling itself was non-abusive because of the paddle’s thinness and lite weight. I was also certain that Bill’s gluteus maximus had been well stung but not bruised. My feeling were a mixture between empathy for Bill and a recognition that an unpleasant task had been finished.

As Bill and I entered the classroom to start the day, I hoped for a fresh and new beginning. But as the class got into the normal routine, I noticed some smirks from some kids directed at Bill. I quickly tamped down any teasing and reminded the class to “Treat others as you would have them treat you.” I also understood that Bill, the bully of 5th grade had just received his comeuppance and was starting to experience the social isolation that all bullies deserve.

This became apparent when computer time started. In my classroom, we have three kids for each computer so sharing is crucial. But no one wanted Bill in their trio. Previously, Bill would impose himself into a trio but the kids were all rebuffing him. Well, I thought to myself, “Bullying really DOESN’T pay after all…”

I then had a little heart for Bill and called him up to my desk. I then calmed an anxious Bill down saying, “You’re not in trouble, Billy…But I can see that you are not very well liked by your classmates…So, I’m going to have you use my laptop computer for awhile, instead.” Bill readily agreed. But I did notice a social isolation imposed by the other kids in the lunchroom and playground. I felt sorry for Bill but allowed it for the rest of the week to allow the point to be driven home: Nobody likes bullies.

The next week, I laid down the law: No more ostracizing of Bill or anyone else. I explained to the kids that second on my list of no-nos behind bullying is “social snobbery”. I hated seeing that when growing up and dropped a few so-called friends over their looking down on others. I am firm on those two traits but am not overbearing. My class seemed to “get it” and Bill was reintegrated into the social sphere of the class.

As to ice cream, I knew Bill’s single mom was struggling $$$-wise so I came up with an idea. If Bill did all his homework, classwork andconducted himself like he was supposed to each day, I would buy him an ice cream treat. Bill wasn’t the only needy student but I saw this as a way to encourage Bill to turn a new leaf. It worked and there was a change in Bill for the better that lasted through his graduation from the elementary school.

Do understand, Bill and the rest of the class was “on notice” about bullying and the paddle consequences that could result. But I never had to resort to the paddle again that year. Bill was a little shy about me (and I understood why) for the rest of the school year but gave me the biggest hug after the graduation ceremony. While I am NOT a “proud paddler”, I AM proud of the fact that I turned a school bully around for the better.

But I will never comprehend the “Kids will be kids” mantra that some are fond of saying who personally attack us and our blog. Parents need to ask themselves this question, “Which school would you want your kids attending: A school with a ‘Boys will be boys’ attitude or a school that ACTUALLY deals with bullying punitively as we do?” Regardless of one’s position on school c.p., a “talking to” or just “sitting in the principal’s office” is inadequate for dealing with bullies.

 

A “WRONG” PADDLE

Hello TWP. My name is Sue and I am a 1st grade teacher from Texas. Like you, I have used paddling as a “last” resort for classroom misbehavior. The paddle I used was just like the paddleball paddle you describe in your blog. It is only 1/4″ thick but in my experience has not changed student behavior.  The reason my colleagues and I decided was that the impact simply wasn’t severe enough.

So we chose to upgrade our paddle for a “better” impact. I took a dicing board from my kitchen at home, narrowed it from 10″ to 4″ and then added a half dozen holes to make a truly awesome paddle at 12″ x 4″ x 3/4″. This was certainly a heavier paddle and we wondered how it would work.

In our two 1st grade classes, Laura (the other 1st grade teacher) and I use a point system. If  a child gets a third point for talking out in class, getting out of seat w/o permission, or not doing classwork during the week, they get three swats. The problem, in our view, was that the old paddles were to lite and we were paddling almost every day.

The first child we paddled was taken, as always, to the lounge for the paddling. Since it was my new paddle, I got to use it first after placing the child over my lap. The result was almost immediate. Instead of a few “ouches”, the reaction was much more profound with a louder “owww” at the first swat, crying at the second and outright bawling at the third. My witness had to actually hold the boy’s hands after the second swat so they wouldn’t get struck by the paddle.

Afterwards, Laura was beaming and I could barely refrain from smiling myself as we thought “Eureka!” We also decided to have our crying child go immediately back to the classroom for two reasons: Why hide the fact we just gave a paddling AND let the other kids see what is in store for anyone who earns a paddling.

The effect has been so marvelous on the conduct of our kids that instead of a dozen paddlings a week out of 40 kids in two classes, we now average about 6 a week since the start of January. And when a child is taken out for a paddling, they cry BEFORE they even leave the room and almost have to be dragged out.

Our paddlings are certainly more severe than what you at TWP are doing? Are we on the right track? What do you all think?

😮  O M G !!!!! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND!

Hey, Sue (or is your name Paula, Jestin or Tony?), we at TWP traced your ip address to the Bay Area of CALIFORNIA! Unless you are using a proxy server, your whole story is BOGUS.

Believe us, dear readers -If there was anything to this #@*%@#*, we would find out who, what, where and when. Then we would just forward the message to the local school board. Result: A couple of so-called educators would be studying for the Real Estate Exam because their teaching careers would be over!

On the other hand, the hittingstopshetre would write an editorial calling ALL teachers who use paddles rapists, racists, perverts, etc. Then they would collect petitions to mail to President Obama and other politicos.

Two different approaches: One based on the children and the other on politics.

 

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE: FEBRUARY

In the second month of 2010, TWP’s very own assistant principal had a routine month with nothing out of the ordinary. Until one morning while patrolling the hallways between 2nd and 3rd periods. I try not to be the “school cop” all the time and will allow a little childishness as long as it doesn’t get out of hand.

Case in point: A few weeks ago. At the start of 2010, our school received a new student by transfer from Illinois named Demarcus. He has had a couple detentions but no serious trouble. As I passed him and a few of his new friends, I heard my name with some comments I could onlybarely hear mixed with some laughs.

I then turned and decided to “join” their little chat.

“Whatsup, Demarcus?…I thought I heard my name…” I intoned.

“Everything’s cool, Mrs. …., we were just joking around,” Demarcus pleaded like a 5 year old caught raiding the cookie jar.

I smiled, understanding his anxiety but probed further asking, “Demarcus, contrary to popular legend, I DO have a sense of humor so just tell me…What did you say about me?”

Then the bell rang out and Demarcus’ friends dashed to their classes. But I was not going to knowingly allow a student to talk about me in an impolite manner so I grabbed Demarcus by the back of his belt and spun him around.

“Come with me, Demarcus…We need to discuss what I believe to be your lack of respect for me…Because I did hear words “red-head”, “hot” and “ass” with my name and I do NOT appreciate that!” I said while firmly gripping the back of his belt while holding the back of one arm. I then marched him to the office which had to shock this 14 year old who towers over me. (Least any reader get the wrong idea, I am stronger than my petite frame would indicate and ANY push off or shove by Demarcus would be a felony in our state with immediate expulsion.)

Once we got to my office, I explained, “Demarcus, you are NOT in trouble this time but I do want to talk to you about how you are to respect the teachers and staff of this school.”

A relieved Demarcus explained how he and others he had gotten to know “talked” about teachers they liked and disliked adding, “Most guys I talk to think you are ‘hot’…”

Rolling my eyes and holding down a laugh, I replied, “I’m not shocked to hear that but you are going to have to be more ‘low key’ about your opinions of the faculty here…Regardless of what you used to get away with in Illinois.”

I then wrote him a hall pass for his 3rd period class and sent him on his way. Hey, I do cut some slack because Demarcus just got a warning and NO DETENTION this time.

 

RENEE CHRONICLES pt. XXIII

Babysitting

In a post late last year, a one time contributor named Sharon mentioned that she babysat during college. The disturbing part of her “story” was the mention of how she disciplined children under her care. This segment is my recollections as a babysitter while in high school.

I did not become a babysitter until I needed $$$ to buy my senior prom dress. The prior year, my mom and dad gave me some cash for Christmas and I used it for the prom that year. The next year, the family budget was tighter and I did not wish to use the same dress -So I had to work for the $$$.

Since weekend work was the only option my folks would allow and the amusement park was closed till May, there were only two options: A burger joint or Babysitting.

Y’all know which one I chose.

How hard can watching, bathing and tucking in bed a tyke be?

For three months of weekends, I “worked” as a babysitter. Worked as in housework, picking up after little ones as well as the usual watching, bathing and tucking.

 

Until Bruce.

His parents warned me that Bruce could be “hard to handle”. And on their way out the door, his mom said, “If Bruce gives you any trouble, give him a good spanking!”

I started to object but Bruce hollered for something and then his folks backed out of the driveway before I could say anything. They were folks from my church but I didn’t care -Spanking Bruce was THEIR job, not mine!

Well, to say Bruce was the “Brat from Hell” would be an understatement but I managed Brucesomewhat as he bounced around the house to splashy bathtime to tucking in at bedtime.

I was wore out as I read his bedtime story favorite Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kabloole. (A real classic, huh?)

After his bedtime prayer and lights out, I thought “Whew, time to relax a bit.”

No such luck.

Bruce decided he wasn’t tired and started bouncing around. I just re-tucked him again. Back and forth about a dozen times. I thought about what his mom had said but shook my head. Instead, I warned Bruce that I would call his parents if he did not go to sleep.

To make a long story short, I did call his parents who came back early. They were miffed at me but that didn’t bother me. I told them, “I’m not the parent, just a babysitter…”

I got my fee which was the last I needed to buy that dress I had pre-ordered a few months earlier.

And Bruce?

No, he never became a student of mine because I teach in a different county than the one I grew up in. I haven’t seen or heard from that family since that weekend.

 

COMING NEXT: TWP EDITORIAL: RESTAINTS/ISOLATION,

TWP COMMENTS ON 14TH AMENDMENT,

AFTERMATH IV

&

R.C. pt. XXIV

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