66. JENNY’S FIRST PADDLING, PRO. N. RESPONDS, PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE week #12 & R.C. pt. XI

MEMO TO ALL READERS: This is a challenge question from TWP Editor Renee: My beloved Georgia Bulldogs are playing a football game this weekend against the alma mater of a “guest contributor”. What is the name of the school AND the contributor? First person to answer both correctly will be recognized next week -By first name only, of course! Happy researching!

Dear Readers: After last week’s thunder and lightning on Paula Flowe’s slimming of Michelle, TWP received numerous replies. One response came from across the “pond” and we chose to present it below.

PROF. N. RESPONDS


Thank you for flagging up the issue Renee. I’ve never listened to (Public School Spanking) 101 radio for more than a few seconds, but I put it over the sound system this morning.

Now I come from a professional area where intense academic debate can get heated, even where , unfortunately on occasions , the odd personal innuendo flies…..but nothing like this . The show was little short of vituperative hogwash.

I say that not because I disagree with Paula and her young presenter. We all believe in in first amendment rights; but because the way to win an argument is not engage in personal attack nor to use guilt by association. It is to address the issues head on.

Whether or not someone agrees with Michelle’s approach to Miguel, one thing shines out: she believed herself genuinely that what she did was for the best, and although the paddling was far from pleasant I’m sure , it was done in a calm and supportive environment, and all necessary steps were taken to ensure that it was both safe and effective. Anyone doubting that from the written description , as I’ve said before, should look to their basic reading skills!

But the most unacceptable element was the repeated innuendos about Michelle’s motives. I’m not going to give credibility to the comments by repeating them here, except for one – which is laughable in the extreme. yet it was repeated and stressed on the broadcast.

Michelle checked Miguel’s rear pockets to see they were empty and safe. As I write this I’m wearing a pair of Wranglers; the house keys are in one back pocket.So its clear you need to check. An older child who is co-operative may check at your request, ….but….. It would be foolhardy to rely on that in elementary. …..if Michelle hadn’t, and Miguel had placed a key ring or similar there….well Paula would have had a field day.

Debate the issues and the news by all means , but radio and the media should not be about character assassination, and I’m sure we can all share, regardless of our views on the general issue, just how distressed and angry Michelle must feel.

Kind regards,

Prof. N.

Thank you for your kind words of support -Especially to Michelle -She really appreciates it. You raised a few points which I (Renee) will address here. First, as to freedom of speeech; we at TWP certainly believe in that because otherwise -TWP might not exist. Remember, the antis have a LOT of money and power -TWP’s mission is to speak truth to power. Paula is wrong, she KNOWS she is wrong and would wipe our little blog out if she could. Radicals have never been known for tolerating other points of view and will do or say anything to advance their narrow agenda. Second, the new goal of TWP is not to “silence” Paula -That would be lowering ourselves to her level. Rather, we want to reach out to middle of the road folks who may not approve of school c.p. but also disapprove of name-calling and character assassination. TWP idealistically believes most people are in the “middle” and can be persuaded to turn their backs on bigots like Paula Flowe. Finally, as to “checking back pockets”; we at TWP have always used a visual inspection only -And if any doubts arise, the child is asked to turn the back pockets inside out. Generally, it is easy to see the outline of objects in back pockets although elementary students tend not to have that problem. Prof. N., your concerns are our concerns. It just takes one “boo boo” on our part and the antis will have a field day.

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE week #12

There is nothing new here as to school discipline other than the normal number of detentions and a few I.S.S. referrals.

On the “Miranda” front, our former goth’s grades have improved from what her mom told me last week. Because of Miranda’s improved midterm reports, she has been “ungrounded” at home. I will also be cutting her some slack on afterschool study time. Why? Because Miranda is going to sign up for basketball tryouts! The other day I saw her dashing to the gym after her last class and waved while admonishing,” Miranda dear, I told you that you would have no time for your ‘old friends’ between student council and basketball…I’m proud of you but -No running in the hallways, o.k.?” Miranda nodded and went on to basketball practice. I’ll keep readers updated on Miranda’s new extra curricular activity next week.

Also, the Halloween Dance that Miranda and the student council put together was a success and came within budget. Miranda had a “date” -sort of- and things seem to be working out overall.

RENEE CHRONICLES pt. XI

Working Girl

“WHAT!…Are you kidding?…Why?…I do NOT want a ‘summer job’!” I whined after hearing mom and dad’s announcement after dinner one night. The announcement was that, as a 14 year old with one brother in college and the other in the U.S. Army, yours truly could not expect to just play softball and hang around the pool all summer.

Sooooo UNFAIR!

It was on a Sunday evening in early June 1993 that I got the “bad news” that I would have to contribute to the family budget -And there was NO opting out of chores either! Our family was not a democracy and I had no vote in the matter -Taxation without representation!

Daddy already knew of an older boy in our church who was the shift manager at a WENDY’S Hamburger franchise just a few miles away. (Don’t get any WRONG ideas -The kid was a nerd!) This is the same “WENDY’S” which has a picture of the company’s founder’s daughter on the official sign-logo: A freckle faced red haired girl. Looks are the only thing I have in common with the heir to that “family business empire”.

My long time comrade and girl-pal Angie tried to cheer me up when I dropped by her house later that evening. I was in the dumps about my different summer plans.

“Hey, Renee…If it doesn’t work out, what is the worst thing that can happen?…Get fired?” Angie asked.

She was right and the next day daddy took me to the place for my application and interview. I was hired on the spot and was told to come back for training the next day. (I swear -The fix had to be in between that boy-manager and daddy!)

How did it go? Terrible! That dumb t.v. show “Hell’s Kitchen” has nothing on a fast food joint which is hot (in the kitchen) and when the grease splatters -It feels like hell!

I lasted one two hour training session and one 5 hour shift the next day which was like a “taste of hell”. That job was close enough to a real “Hell” that I lost all desire for the $$$ and just quit.

That did NOT go over well with dad who declared,”Renee honey, we do not have quitters in THIS family and you have one week to figure out another job for the summer or work for me cleaning out the football team’s lockers between practices…Your choice!”

Daddy could be soooo direct and to the point. I already knew about how gross and stinky the lockers could be in the hottest days of summer after the team left for the afternoon. DID NOT WANT THAT OPTION!

That is when Angie dropped by as I sat out on the porch wondering what to do. Recall prior episode about “Angie the free spirit”? Well, Angie -The best girlpal a girl could ever have- brainstormed what I thought was the ULTIMATE idea ever! The idea: Work at a concession stand at a medium sized amusement park over in the next county and the best part -After work, free rides on all the park rides including the big roller coaster!

PERFECTO!

Problem: Mom and Dad were reluctant to put it mildly. But I could have won the Olympic gold for begging and pleading during my youth. After promises including doing more chores, my folks relented and agreed although warning me that this job would be harder than I thought. Hey, at 14, we are all tone deaf…Right?

The concession stand was a permanent structure in the middle of the park with large windows on three sides and was the size of a small mobile home. It served hamburgers (pre-prepared), hotdogs, ice cream and cotton candy among other things. Since Angie and I were both 14, this was the only job we were allowed to work. But we were both hired and would work together 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday.

Angie and I “high fived” each other when told “You are hired!”

Angie’s mom would drop us off in the morning and my daddy would pick us both up at 8:00 p.m. -After hours of free rides. Our start time was “set up” time to take all the supplies from boxes and stock the concession stand before the park opened for visitors at 11:00 a.m. SHARP.

Then just sit on our stools and watch the people go by.

Yeah!…Right!

About 3 minutes after the visitor’s gate opened, Angie’s and my summertime dream abruptly ended.

We didn’t just have a few customers now and then -We had an avalanche of folks lining up -At both windows. Suffice to say, we didn’t use those stools much that first day. And lunch break was only 15 minutes in the back out of sight of patrons. We took turns on lunch and restroom breaks too. (Where are unions when you really need them we both thought.)

This was almost “Hell’s Kitchen” in the middle of kiddie paradise!

And neither of us were laughing. We were too busy working our a** off!

And riding the park rides after ending our shift?

FORGETABOUTIT!

We were exhausted and could only ride a couple of rides before “riding” a park bench until my dad picked us up at the designated time of 8:00 p.m.

Daddy seemed a bit bemused as he asked,”How was my ‘working girl’s’ first day on the job?”

“Awful, daddy!…That is the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life!” I groaned.

Daddy was the only person who laughed and replied to Angie and me,”I warned you this job would not be ‘fun and games’!…Many people in our country work longer and harder than you two did today for a lifetime, not just a summertime job!”

“Daddy, I think I’ll just turn in my notice tomorrow morning and…” I replied while Angie started to nod in agreement.

“No way, Renee!…I don’t care what you do, Angie but -Renee, I will not allow you to acquire a habit of ‘quitting’!…Besides, I think this experience will do you some good -A hard day’s work for a day’s pay.”

Well, to say I was mad at my daddy that night would be an understatement. But I would not be allowed the luxury of quitting. Angie stuck it out too and we became soul sisters that summer. It was HARD work and I am so thankful the too small a/c unit didn’t sputter out in the hottest days. But I also learned an important lesson that summer that cannot be learned from a textbook.

Perseverance.

I understand now as an adult why my daddy absolutely insisted on “sticking it out” no matter how hard something is. As he often told me and my brothers,”Quitting is easy and gets easier over time…No winner ever quits and quitters never win!”

While at the time I considered that “coachspeak”, he was right. And the lesson of perseverance has served me well -All the way to the present: From “Working Girl” to Assistant Principal.

 

TEACHER FEATURE: JENNY’S FIRST PADDLING

Hello, Dear Readers! This is the “other” Auburn alum who predates Wendy by a couple of years as a teacher at our elementary school. This recollection of mine, as to the first paddling I ever gave, should demonstrate that I am no different from Renee, Wendy or Michelle as to my distaste for this aspect of my job. Also, some readers have suggested that my students are more “angelic” since I have not had much coverage by this blog as to school discipline.

Rest assured, my students behave no better or worse than the average class of our school. Still, in my teaching career, I have averaged one paddling a year with one year a high of twice. Not exactly “paddle happy” – Ms. Paula Flowe?

In fact, in my first year, I clashed with my teaching mentor Jean who also was a mentor to another young teacher named Renee. Renee and I were on the same page as to c.p. We both hated using the paddle and disagreed with Jean, who felt that we cut too much slack in our classrooms. But that changed one September morning, in my first year as teacher, during recess.

Darren was a kid who played too rough on the playground and had to be watched in the classroom as well. In my classroom, I could control his behavior better because of the location of his desk -In the front row closest to my “teacher’s desk”.

The playground was another matter. Jean’s and my class took recess together (Both were 4th grade classes) and we both watched out for any bullying or rough play. Darren was the worst as to rough play. While Jean might have paddled him after a warning, I just chose to “sit him” at the steps which lead into the classroom wing of the school. Jean told me one day,”Miss (Jenny) …., having Darren ‘sit down’ for recess is not changing his playground behavior -You know what I’m hinting at…”

“Yes I do…and NO, I am not paddling Darren for ‘rough play’,” I answered. We had a disagreement and I just decided to agree to disagree.

One morning that changed. Darren went too far.

Rough play is one thing but what Jean and I saw Darren do was way beyond just horseplay.

A boy I’ll call Chip was dangling by his hands holding onto horizontal bars and his feet were just a foot off the ground. From a distance, I could not hear if anything was said but Darren grabbed and pulled Chip down and body slammed him into the loose gravel. Jean and I both saw what happened and rushed over. Chip had a few cuts but Jean had to help me keep the two from slugging it out.

I was incensed and told Darren,”Young man, you are in big trouble!…And I don’t mean a recess ‘sit down’!”

While Jean took the 1st Aid kit and “doctored up” the cuts on Chip’s hands and left elbow, I took Darren inside and parked him outside the conference room. I then walked over to Renee’s 3rd grade classroom to have her serve as a witness to a much merited paddling.

After explaining to Renee about what transpired, she readily agreed that a paddling was justified.

Taking her 16″ x 3 1/2″ x 1/4″ paddle out of her desk (Up until then I had not wanted a paddle for my own use) and we both walked over to Darren.

“Darren, how could you be so mean…You are REALLY going to get it and you deserve it too!” Renee exclaimed.

She then turned to me and asked,”Jean has the playground under her watch?” to which I replied affirmatively.

Renee then asked if I was o.k. giving the paddling or if she should do it.

I had already made up my mind to do the paddling myself and did so. After having Darren bend over with his hands in the brace position against the wall, I then asked him if anything was in his back pockets. When he said no, I held and lined up the top edge of the paddle against the top edge of the back pockets. Then, continuing to follow Renee’s instructions, I held the paddle back about 90 degrees and swung briskly -Connecting 3 times.

Smack! Smack! Smack!

Darren “ouched” on the last swat but did not cry (Which I was glad he didn’t because giving a paddling is already unpleasant for me).

As Darren turned around, I handed the paddle back to Renee and said,”Darren, what you did was inexcusable and you WILL write a note of apology to Chip and I will see to it that Chip’s mom sees it.”

Continuing, I patted Darren on the shoulder as I spoke,” I did not enjoy paddling you -But YOUR actions led to it…understand me?”

Darren nodded and I then said,”It is over and I hope never to have to use a paddle again…Now go to the classroom and start writing your apology.”

It really bothered me that I paddled a student of mine. Like the other contributors, my idealism died the day I first swung a paddle-but at the same time, I also realize it was justified.

Darren was a little skittish towards me for a few days but I talked to him the following week and reassured him that as long as he (and others) didn’t purposefully HURT others -No one had to worry about a paddling from me.

And there were NO other paddlings from me that school year. Or playground terrorism either!

 

COMING NEXT: TWP SPECIAL: A PRINCIPAL’S WARNING TO TWP,

EDITORIAL: “OFF & ON”

&

R.C. pt. XII

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