69. Q/A ON NASHIA’S PADDLING, WENDY’S FIRST PADDLING & I AM THANKFUL FOR…

As editor of TEACHERSWHOPADDLE, I (Renee) thought that the RENEE PADDLES AGAIN segment of PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE would generate a lot of response from readers initially. What caught me flatfooted was the seemingly delayed reaction weeks after the post on the paddling of a high school girl named Nashia. Well, after chatting with our other contributors, I (Renee) started working on my responses last weekend and here are the Q/A’s everyone seems to be waiting for.

Q/A ON NASHIA’S PADDLING

Now Renee appears aware of the basketball player’s (Nashia) reputation but from where? (the Principal? Gossip? Interview? Student file ? computer record?) it just isn’t clear.

Perhaps I should have elaborated more. When I was placed on “standby” a few weeks earlier by the high school principal (Roberts), I was told that a handful of the female students were pretty “rough” and those were the most likely to be paddled. No names were ever given to me at that time and after a few weeks, I thought the “call” might never come to pass. I certainly was wrong on that.

As to Nashia’s “reputation”, I was NOT familiar with her since she attended another elementary school than the one I taught in. When I arrived at the high school, Mr. Roberts did say,”This is one of the ones I told you about a while back…” And lest anyone think I’m picking on Nashia; she stands nearly 1 foot taller than me -Over 6′ tall. Amy is about my height.

I hope it wasn’t just the injuries that made the case.

I was not there when the Nashia-Amy incident happened. Mr. Roberts explained what had happened according to the teachers who “pulled” Nashia off Amy. The evidence was plain as daylight with Amy’s black eye nearly swollen shut along with other facial injuries and Nashia’s lower left lip somewhat swollen. On the latter, witnesses said that Nashia had bumped her lip by accident during the “fight”. But I cannot confirm that.

The other missing bit here appeared to be a confirmation from the Principal that both students were eligible to be paddled.

Yes, both student were “paddle-eligible”. That was determined by Mr. Roberts before I was called. How do I know? BECAUSE I ASKED! You don’t seriously think I’m going to drop whatever I am working on to walk 5 minutes down the street for the exercise, do you? I get my exercise from Michelle’s aerobics class.

What I am curious about however , is the Principal’s stance that both should be paddled , reiterated by the librarian witness later.

I most certainly differ with the principal on that call. Mr. Roberts is the administrative type that doesn’t use flexible judgement the way I would. (Matrix?) The main problem with zero tolerance policies is when an occasion like this arises. Same as the Boy Scout knife accidentally left in a backpack or a student found with contraband aspirin. I am definitely a proponent of more administrative leeway as as a future head principal. I intend to use a lot more discretion than what normally prevails because every problem cannot be solved just by looking at policy guidelines or matrixes.

As to the librarian, she was “out of the loop” entirely and was, I reckon, under the initial impression that both would be paddled.

Was Nashia sent to class in tears, or allowed to recover?

Another area that could have had more detail. When Nashia left the back office, she had to go to the front to get a hall pass to be admitted back in that period’s class. She had a few minutes to recompose herself.

I wonder if Renee realized at the time the effect this would have on Amy, when she didn’t, at that time know Renee’s intentions to her?

When I understood the situation, it was my intent to take charge and take both Nashia and Amy to the back office on the backside of the school. The reason: I decided that only Nashia would be paddled and this would be best achieved if I took both students away from the front office. I did not SAY that only Nashia would be paddled but gave the impression both would be paddled to Mr. Roberts -Rather than get into a debate on who should or should not be paddled.

The attention (hug) that Amy received was great but should she have been made to listen to what Nashia was being dished out?

See previous reply. There was no other way around taking both to the back office. I felt badly that Amy had to fear a paddling but both had to be with me for my “plan” to spare Amy to work.

Note: Amy never saw the Nashia paddling -She was outside the room where it happened.

Was Nashia’s clutching of the buttocks and the sounds emanating from the room meant to make Amy think Renee was evening the score? Renee and Amy hugging may seem to Nashia if she saw it that it was like Renee was finishing the fight.

In ANY school discipline, I never think about “evening the score” because it is not a game. I do not know what Amy was thinking but the paddling, while hard, fit the crime -In my opinion. After all, Amy’s black eye took longer to “heal” than Nashia’s butt.

And the “hug” was not seen by Nashia who was already walking back to the front office.

As to the paddle used on Nashia:

The paddle itself I had never seen before and probably overestimated its thickness. The actual thickness was a little more than 1/2″ but not 1″ -My bad.

The double hands handle was misunderstood. The handle on this paddle was NOT like a baseball bat at all. That handle was big enough for my two smallish hands but the typical large handed coach would NOT be able to use both hands -I am certain of that.

WENDY’S FIRST PADDLING

Howdy y’all from the most misunderstood contributor of TWP. I guess that should have been foreseen by all of us when the posts WENDY’S WORST(?) PADDLING and WENDY’S MISTAKE were published. Those episodes were only weeks apart and the second nearly caused me to quit teaching altogether. It was Renee, Jenny and Michelle who helped me to pull myself together. I did and since Christmas break of last year; I have been on my maternity leave with a baby boy of my own to “mommy”.

And I’m NOT rushing to get back in the classroom. (Renee, Jenny and Michelle may have to drag me back!…HA HA HA!)

This segment deals with my first year in teaching and specifically -The first time I used a paddle in school discipline. This happened only a month after the touching and amusing story WENDY’S FIRST WEEK in which my fellow Auburn alum Jenny presented me a gift I really didn’t want -A paddle. Also, keep in mind that I hadn’t yet met Renee, who was on her maternity leave or Michelle, who was a senior cheerleader for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. Come to think of it, in those days, Auburn BEAT Alabama every year Michelle was a student there. Ahhhh! Those were the days!

As I stated above, 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. Like Renee and Jenny, I clashed with Jean, the most senior teacher on the staff about c.p. I wonder to this day if my own opinionated views caused Jean to retire early.
Think Karma: I now have to indulge an ex-Alabama cheerleader!

Anyway, my first paddling “experience” was to witness a paddling administered by Max, the only male teacher in the school and the other 5th grade teacher. And I detested it and let Max know it too. The boy had intentionally tripped another student in class and I understood that the paddling was merited. I glared at Max (as he puts it) and counted the 5 swats before saying,”Stop!…Thats it and no more!” I recall Max’s reply,”Miss …., I know how to count…Alright!”

Well, I wasn’t “alright” and would have pounced had Max raised that paddle again. That was the first and LAST time Max ever asked me to be his witness. Since then, he used Jean or Mr. Smith, our principal, as c.p. witnesses.

But one day that changed. 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.

There was a boy I will name Phil who was quiet and unassuming and loved a particular brand of ice cream after lunch. Sometimes I collected the 50 cents that students paid for those lunchtime extras and Phil ALWAYS looked all around the cafeteria freezer until he found his favorite.

There was another boy, much bigger than Phil, who was constantly being warned by Max and me to stop playing “too rough” during recess. I will name him Bill and was told by other teachers to watch out for “roughness” from Bill. But that was an understatement: Billy was a bully and would take what he could not have.

It was in late September that I found out about Bill’s turn for the worst.

One day, Phil didn’t have any ice cream. When I asked, he just said,”I’m not hungry for any today.” On the same day, Bill had the first ice cream snack in at least two weeks. I did not suspect anything wrong but the “Phil no ice cream” and “Bill yes ice cream” pattern continued for over a week. Phil, one of my better students seemed to become more withdrawn during that time but when asked would say,”I’m just not hungry for ice cream.”

One morning, I was monitoring the front foyer of the school before the start of the school day while the other teacher finished a staff meeting. It was my first time as monitor/bus duty and I saw Phil getting off the bus #12. He smiled as I waved to him but then I noticed a frown as Bill walked up to him. Bill had his back turned to me and seemed to grab Phil in a threatening manner.

I walked up quickly and heard amid the chatter of other kids,”Phil, you got ma ice cream money, don’t you?…You better have or…(Bill tapped Phil’s chin with his clenched fist)…Besides, I LOVE ‘free’ ice cream! HA HA!”

Despite what some readers like to think about me, I am NOT a hot-tempered person. But on hearing Bill’s threat, I thought I might blow a fuse!

“So thats why poor Phil hasn’t been eating his favorite ice cream treats…You’ve been taking his money!…Isn’t that right,Bill?” I snapped.

Bill turned and looked at me sheepishly like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

But this was NOT about cookies but rather taking money from someone else by way of physical threats. I actually cut more slack for my students than most teachers but this would not be allowed to stand.

When I took Phil aside and away from Bill, I reassured him,”You can tell me the truth, Phil; has Bill been taking your ice cream money?…I promise you…He will NOT threaten or hurt you!

Phil then told me how every morning for a week, Bill threatened him if he did not hand over the 50 cents.

As Clyde, the school janitor, unlocked the classroom wing of the building and kids rushed to their rooms with the teachers calling out,”Slow down…No running in the halls!”, I took Bill to the conference room.

He and I both knew why and Bill pleaded,”I’m sorry, Miss ….”

“You got that right!” I replied as I walked over to my classroom door to unlock it and allow the rest of my class to enter and prepare to start their day. I went straight in and retrieved something from Jenny I never wanted or asked for: My 16″ x 3 1/2″ x 1/4″ never before used paddle. I was able to get Clyde to watch my and Max’s room while Max and I took care of business in the conference room where a nervous Bill waited.

After I explained the situation, Max declared,”Bill -You can take your chances with Mr. Smith or take 5 swats now!…And we don’t have all morning so decide NOW!”

“Alright, I took Phil’s money!…That liitle rat!” Bill fessed.

That was more than enough for me and I told Max,”I need to do this so…”

Max nodded as I ordered Bill to bend over a chair.

I shook my head a little thinking,”Four years of college and I end up paddle swatting the rear end of a ‘mafia goon wanna be?…Crap!”

I then took careful aim, wanting to give our resident “mobster” a really good reason to never take another kid’s money ever again.

Swinging the paddle smartly, I used it as it was intended.

SMACK SMACK SMACK SMACK SMACK

The paddling had the desired effect of a stinging rebuke that left Bill sniffling but not crying.

“And there is more to come if I ever see you picking on Phil ever again…Understand me?” I added as we left the conference room towards the classroom.

Bill understood me very well and was never a problem for Phil or anyone else for the rest of the year.

So much for “peer mediation”, eh Ms. Nadine Block?

The next spring at the elementary school graduation, a bunch of my then former students gave me hugs after the ceremony. One ex-student seemed a little shy. It was Bill.

“Its o.k., Bill…You don’t have to ‘hug’…(whispering) You’ve been a ‘good boy’ since last year…And I am SO proud of you!” I intoned.

Bill then proceeded to give me the biggest hug of all.

This episode should show what I’m really like as well as the other contributors. We want our students to succeed and we work long hours towards that goal. As to me, I am NOT strict or mean as some mistaken me to be. But I will not accept bullying, repeated lying or stealing and my students abide by these rules.

At least 95% do.

And the rest?

Oh well…They were warned!

 

I AM THANKFUL FOR…

As Jenny, Wendy, Michelle and I pack suitcases, cook/prepare foods and make travel or sleepover arrangements, we all need to stop and think about what Thanksgiving Day REALLY means. Below are some of our thoughts as to what we are thankful for on this day.

RENEE

I AM THANKFUL FOR…

…the fact that my hubby John can tolerate my “back seat driving” for an eight hour road trip to my parents. (Hey, I’m the one with the road map!)

…Tyler, my boy, acquiring a taste for my vegetable casserole -Just in time for Thanksgiving!

…the 95% of students who are NOT regular visitors to my office.

JENNY

I AM THANKFUL FOR…

…my husband Thomas deciding not to buy that riding lawnmower -We really didn’t need that monster gas guzzler anyway and the old push mower is just fine!

…Tommy Jr.’s POSITIVE influence on Tyler’s behavior. (Yeah…Right! -Renee)

WENDY

I AM THANKFUL FOR…

…the extended maternity leave that our county school district gives to new moms.

…the patience that James, my husband and best friend had, when I was extra demanding at times during my pregnancy.

…the blessing of a healthy and beautiful baby boy -Patrick- who I KNOW will follow Jenny’s Tommy to Auburn.

MICHELLE

I AM THANKFUL FOR…

…all the supportive messages from readers. When people who you will never meet or know say “You are doing just fine and do not let the weirdos pull you down!” -That is a real morale boost!

…my newlywed husband letting me shower FIRST in the morning. I try not to use ALL the hot water…really!

…the most gentle, sensitive, caring man of my life -My husband Richard. Even if my M.D. does leave dirty clothes in the floor. (Christmas wish: A Husband Training Manual.)

 

RENEE, JENNY, WENDY and MICHELLE

wish all our readers

a safe and happy

THANKSGIVING WEEKEND!

 

Editor’s Note: Next post will be published a week from Friday.

 

COMING NEXT: COMMENTS FROM ARIZONA/TWP’S REPLY,

HOW WE SPENT THANKSGIVING

&

JUST FOR LAUGHS

 

 

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