96. A “REV.” EXPOSED, WHAT EVERY NEW TEACHER SHOULD KNOW & YOUR FAQ’S

😆 WE ARE NOT MAKING THIS UP: That great p.c. state of Massachusetts (Which bans the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools)  has done it again! This time, a school district has started a new policy of condom distribution to ELEMENTARY STUDENTS -Without their parents even being notified beforehand! Yep -You know they have gone over the edge when their very liberal governor has said this policy needs to be revised.

As to our “kids”: They would probably think condoms were toy balloons! We can just imagine what they would say: “But Mrs. …., you said earlier this year ‘No toys allowed in school’…”

CHALLENGE TO THE “ANTIS”: We at TWP are getting tired of the fantasies and outright falsehoods that the anti c.p. zealots continue to regurgitate. The first is the myth of a federal ban on the corporal punishment of special education students. Truth: There is NO such ban in effect, although parents CAN opt their special ed children out of school c.p. by written request in the I.E.P. (We at TWP support this “opt out” provision for ALL students) Second, that 90% of k to 12 education $$$ is federal. Truth: Quite the opposite -85% of k to 12 school $$$ comes from state and local taxes.

We at TWP issue this challenge to the zealots: Back up your b.s. with facts from an independent link/web source! It is “Put Up Time OR Shut Up Time”. Any legitimate info posted will appear on our next posting.

Dear Readers: As we at TWP settle into our summer routine of swimming lessons (For my Tyler and Jenny’s Tommy who we nicknamed ‘TNT’), Little League T-ball games (Both boys got some scrapes and scratches but nothing two TWP moms can’t handle) and of course, graduate summertime classes at the state university one hour’s drive up the interstate. But those t-ball games are starting to bring out the “overprotective” momma out of both Jenny and me. Probably shouldn’t worry TOO much because Tyler and Tommy are the ones playing a bit too rough! (Examples: “Tommy, you aren’t supposed to ‘tackle’ the base runner!” and “Tyler!…NO!…Do NOT throw the ball at the base runners!” We moms’ work raising our brood seems to never end!

Hey, we four TWPers actually look forward to our drives together to evening graduate school classes once a week! While we all have different classes, we have managed to coordinate our schedules for the last 5 years -Hooray!

A “REV.” EXPOSED

Dear Readers: It has come to the attention of this blog that an anti- c.p. zealot, who calls himself “Rev. Wade Ditty”, has entered the wordpress community with a blog of his own. Hey, we at TWP have no problem with the right of free speech. But we also believe in honesty and “truth in labeling”. The “Rev.” does neither.

Honesty: The so-called “Rev. Wade Ditty” wrote to us FIRST and claimed to be a “man of the cloth” who was opposed to corporal punishment. TWP believes in fair debate and had some back and forth with Rev. Ditty. (As our policy, we kept the last name confidential until this post.) But his comments about “pretty teen girls” and “sexy bottoms” made us wonder about this guy. In the “Prom Dress/Oxford” episode, the Rev.’s comments about “paddle swats on prom dresses” which came from Spoofnews.com confirmed to TWP that Ditty was a dud.

A FAKE!

And he calls US “creepy”? Question: What kind of “man of the cloth” obsesses about the rear ends of teenage girls? Rev., we at TWP think YOU are the definition of “CREEPY”!

Truth In Labeling: Mr. Ditty, you have the right to say whatever you wish but stop calling yourself a pastor. All four of us are of the Christian faith and have the up most respect for all those who work in the ministry. Mr. Ditty, stop calling yourself a “Rev.” because, judging by your own written words -You are NO  “Rev.”

A friend of ours reworked the spelling of “Wade Ditty” and came up with “Dead Witty”.

Editor’s Extra: Hey Mr. Ditty, we see you’ve been exercising ( and abusing) your freedom of speech with your callous “award” to sweet Michelle. Well, we at TWP have broken with routine and hereby award “Rev. Wade Ditty/Dead Witty the PERVERTED PASTOR AWARD for reasons given above. You REALLY earned it too! With it, you get a travel package to visit all the REAL victims of sexual abuse around the world. Who knows, maybe you might come to an understanding about what REAL abuse really is.

WHAT EVERY NEW TEACHER SHOULD KNOW

Dear Readers: We at TWP highly recommend that, as a prerequisite, the TWP post WHAT EVERY TEACHING APPLICANT NEEDS TO KNOW: A TWP PERSPECTIVE be re-read first. That post was published in July 2009 and can be accessed through the archives on the right side of your computer screen. Second, please understand that this post, while written with a pro c.p. perspective, does NOT  assume that the new teacher is in a school c.p. district or state. Regardless of where you teach, there will be much info useful to ANY teacher. Finally, what we say here you will not find in any psychology or education methodology textbook. Rather, what we have to say comes from the heart and EXPERIENCE gained the “hard way”.

INTRODUCTION

At this point, you have already been hired, moved in to your apartment and are familiar with the local community which you will call home for at least your first (and hopefully many more) year as a member of the teaching profession. As a newbie teacher, there is a feeling of relief that you got “the call” combined with anxiety over “Am I ready to be a teacher?” self doubts. We have ALL been there and have three words to tell you, the rookie teacher: RELAX, PREPARE and NETWORK.

RELAX

The typical rookie teacher is a bundle of nervious energy at the first Pre-School Year Inservice meeting which is usually held the week before the first day of classes. I (Renee) remember my first inservice which, between a sleepless night before and too much coffee during the a.m. session, I was a nervious wreck before lunch break. Worse, poor Michelle near spilled a pot of hot coffee on her first inservice. And Wendy over-dressed and some teachers thought she was a real estate salesperson!

So, the first thing to do is to be well rested with pen and notepad ready to write down anything that you think worth recording. But be RELAXED because as a newbie, your principal and teaching colleagues want you to be successful in the start of your teaching career. A useful Hint: As the “new teacher”, DO make it a priority to be at your first inservice meeting EARLY. Why? This is the best way to greet and introduce yourself early to your teaching colleagues. Also, this shows your enthusiasm for your new job. The others WILL notice that and will be more willing to help you with the finer points of getting your classroom organized before the first day of school.

PREPARE

Getting Teacher Editions of all your textbooks is a given. The next step is what some in the teaching profession call the “Two week rule”. That refers to the amount of lesson plans AHEAD OF TIME you should have ready for the first day of school. This will also give you a chance to work with the veteran teachers in your school/grade level on those lesson plans. Never be shy about asking for guidance and advice from the other teachers -That is why teaching is more than just a job -Its a profession.

As to being prepared for the students themselves, every school and classroom is different. But there are a few basic tips that work almost anywhere. First, try to orient the desk arrangement so the outside windows are to the back of the students and by doing this -A MAJOR distraction is eliminated. As a result, the class as a whole will face you and give YOU their full attention. Second, try and get the names of the students assigned to your room as early as possible. Why? So you can collaborate with the teachers who had these students the prior year. A secret of all teachers: About 1 out of 5 students will be your greatest challenge as to classroom management. If you can i.d. those students -You are ahead of the curve already! Third, (And this go with #2) take your “dossier list” and plan the seating arrangements around that list. Simply put, the most likely trouble-makers should be separated and placed closer to the front of the room. This move places them directly in the center of your attention and sets a tone that YOU, the teacher, are “in charge” of the classroom -From day 1.

NETWORK

This section is the last and more detailed of TWP’s advice to new teachers. But first, we wish to define, for the purpose of this post, what is meant by “Network.”

“Network” does NOT mean:

Teacher-Student Non-classroom/non-school Contact: This goes without saying but we at TWP continue to hear about scandals involving teachers and their students. Advice (If you want a long teaching career): No contact whatsoever between you, the teacher, and your students -Outside of the education setting. No cell phone #s, no emails and no twittering. If the school allows teachers to have web pages on the school site -That is the ONLY exception.

Off Campus Social Contact: As we at TWP recounted in our CLOSE ENCOUNTERS series, ANY off-campus contact with our students is very uncomfortable for us and should be for ALL teachers. A basic rule of thumb from us: Avoid community swimming pools, grocery shop during times you are LEAST likely to run into your students and, if possible, seek a “social life” outside the immediate community where you teach. We understand the inconvenience of these “rules” and their purpose is NOT to make you a social snob but rather: To help you, as a new teacher, to set firm personal boundaries -For the sake of your career!

“Network” does mean:

Building Parent/Teacher Communication: From the start, if you have the chance to meet with the parents of all your students, that must be a top priority. Going over and explaining the expectations and requirements of the students in your class will go a long ways towards preventing “miscommunications” which leads to trouble later. This is also the best time to go over the school’s discipline policy because most conflicts between teachers and parents originate around school discipline. Communication is the key and should NOT be only a first day of the school year event.

Mentoring: This part of Networking is the last and most detailed part of what ALL new teachers MUST know. TWP saved this for last BECAUSE we believe so much in its importance. While our teacher training touched on the need of mentoring, it certainly fell short. This section comes from Jenny’s, Wendy’s, Michelle’s and my (Renee’s) practical experiences with mentors -Both positive and negative.

A Mentor can be defined as “An older person of the same occupation who acts in the capacity of an adviser, role model and critic.

A Mentor is NOT a “weekend social friend”, “Afterwork drinking buddy or All-purpose pal.

Having established these parameters, the next step is to narrow the qualities of what an education mentor should be.

Experience/Age

Experience: It goes without saying that a good education mentor should be experienced AND TENURED. Many times a rookie teacher will gravitate towards someone they have more in common with -Like a younger teacher close to their own age. But for the purpose of mentoring, this is a common mistake. A mentor’s greatest purpose is to give advice and feedback. A one year teacher may make a great social companion but a LOUSY mentor.

Age: This is the crucial key. As a “rule of thumb”, 10 years age difference is a good minimum for a education mentor -Regardless of what level of school you teach. Why? Avoidance of “peer conflict”. That simply means that there is not enough age difference between the rookie teacher and the mentor. The reasoning for this is so that a possible educational overlap does not come up as a potential problem. For example, I (Renee) served as an unofficial mentor to Michelle. Recall that Michelle is young enough to be a student of mine had I taught 12th grade English at her high school. That would not have been a problem for Michelle because she was very well behaved in school. (HA HA) But for most educators, there does need to be a greater age difference between a rookie and a mentor.

Teaching Colleague/Buddy

This section was added as a contrast to the Mentor part of Networking. The four of us in  TEACHERSWHOPADDLE weblog consider each other buddies more than just teaching colleagues. We all agree that having “buddies” in the workplace is important -Especially in the teaching profession, when 90% of our time in the school day is spent with children in the classroom. As opposed to the mentor’s role of guidance and advice, the teaching “buddy’s” role is someone to relax with and let off steam from the pressure cooker of the education profession.

The teaching “buddy” really should be of the same gender and similar to your own age. After work, a good routine is to work out together at a local fitness gym. A “less” o.k. option is to have a beer after work at a local sports bar. Just be careful not to over-indulge!

But the parameters of teaching “buddies” is much broader and can lead to lifelong friendships. How far and how much this type of Networking you pursue is up to you. But doing so WILL make your teaching job more enjoyable and less stressful.

 

YOUR FAQ’S

 

Do you at TWP spank your own kids? Would you allow other teachers to do so in school?

As to the first question: We at TWP agreed when setting up this blog that the way we raise our own kids would NOT be discussed as to the use of “spanking”. Jenny and I (Renee) have one child each which start kindergarten in the Fall. Wendy’s baby boy is 1 1/2 and Michelle hasn’t had a child YET. While we all differ somewhat on child-rearing, it would be a safe bet to make that our families are typical of the norm of our region.  Regardless though, as parents ourselves, we are probably a lot less strict than our parents. I know I am.

On the second question, we have already answered that a while back. We will not teach our own kids and would definitely NOT opt them out of school c.p. Hey, if our kids behave so poorly that they get paddled in school -They are in even BIGGER trouble when they get home!

I teach in a school district which prohibits ALL physical contact of students by teachers. Isn’t this the future trend in education instead of hitting?

If it is, the legal liability issue will only shift -Not end. If a teacher refuses to break up a fight or a child is injured in a fall because the teacher did not physically prevent the fall -There WILL be legal trouble -Count on it! Apart from teaching, a primary duty of a teacher is to protect the students from harm. Aside from the use of school c.p., a teacher IS responsible for the safety of their charges.

In your letter to congress you said you wanted to debate. What kind of debate you want to have?

Our blog is way too small and limited for a nation wide school c.p. debate. Rather, we at TWP believe that the best forum for this “debate” is in the many communities throughout the U.S. Unlike the anti- c.p. zealots, who do not trust the “people”, we do -And believe the “people” will make the right decisions for their communities. The reason the antis lose so much at the local level is that they look down on and talk down to the local folks. That is ALWAYS  a loser!

Is Mr. Smith, your elementary school principal, really as “mean” as he seems in TWP’s posts?

🙄 Not if you really met him in person. Mr. Smith does have a “gruff” demeanor but is more like a teddy bear than a grizzly bear. But he is no-nonsense about bad behavior -Especially during fire drills. And when he gives a student a second chance if they will only tell the truth -That student better tell the truth. Mr. Smith gives maximum authority on classroom discipline to his teachers and holds them accountable for the management of their classes.

 

COMING ON 07-17-2010:

SCHOOL C.P. and LEGAL TROUBLE:

WHAT TO DO/WHAT NOT TO DO

&

2 READER COMMENTS/TWP REPLIES

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