70. COMMENTS FROM ARIZONA/TWP REPLIES, HOW WE SPENT THANKSGIVING & JUST FOR LAUGHS

MEMO TO ALL READERS: Last weekend was definitely one to remember: Georgia knocking off :lol:that “Atlanta Tech School” which WAS ranked #7 in the top ten football rankings. Also, Alabama survived :wink:its visit to the “Ugliest village on the plains” -Auburn. (That reference was Michelle’s idea, not mine!) Of course, to add insult to injury (of pride), Jenny and Wendy had to sing :sad:the Alabama alma mater for Michelle’s pleasure after the Monday morning staff meeting. (No maternity leave could get Wendy out of this!)

MEMO TO “THEHITTINGSTOPSHERE”: I(Renee) saw your site’s version of one of our posts. YOUR comments actually make YOU look stupid and sick at the same time. As to your “threat” to forward that post/commentary to Arnie Duncan (U.S. Secretary of Education): Please DO because your typos alone will cause Secretary Duncan to dismiss you as total loons.

 

COMMENTS FROM ARIZONA/TWP REPLIES

During the Thanksgiving break, TEACHERSWHOPADDLE received an interesting message from a young lady teacher named Sharon. Her comments and our own replies are below.

(Editor’s note: TWP cannot vouch or confirm what state this teacher actually teaches in.)

Dear Renee, Jenny,Wendy and Michelle:

First of all I want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season. I have been an avid reader of your blog for several months and I think you have done an excellent job of detailing and discussing what is obviously a very controversial subject for many -school corporal punishment.

By way of background, I am a teacher as well. I teach 2nd grade at a Charter School in Arizona. I am in my 3rd year of teaching and have taught all three years at my current school. We have two 2nd grade classrooms with 64 total students. We have two teachers assigned to each classroom. However all four of us have a lot of interaction with students from both classrooms. We have 4 groups (based on level) for reading and math that integrate the two classrooms as an example.

In the State of Arizona, the use of Corporal Punishment is still legal in the public, charter, and private schools. However its use or lack thereof varies from district to district and school to school. I would estimate that less then 20% of the schools in AZ use CP as a disciplinary option. Similar to you when I was studying to be a teacher, the topic of CP was never a factor or consideration and that was the case during my first two years of teaching as well.

At our school, the Administration puts an emphasis on each grade level putting together their own disciplinary plan, as frankly, a plan for kindergarten and 5th grade should have some differences. At the start of this year we put together our 2nd grade Disciplinary Plan. This plan used a balance of rewards and consequences. The consequences included time outs, loss of recess, and detention. (nothing unique there..lol!). However about a month into the school year we were having a meeting and the other teachers and I looked at each other and decided that our Disciplinary Plan was really not being effective.

There were several prime examples of that. The loss of recess, though effective with the child was proving to be counter productive. At our school, due to budget constraints, the kids only have P.E. one day a week. Therefore, by restricting a child’s recess, they have no avenue to “burn” their energy which makes paying attention in the classroom more difficult later. Detentions were proving to be a logistical challenge for both the parents and students. More importantly, our school promotes a lot of after school programs (karate, chess club, etc) and these programs were suffering as a result.

We started to discuss other options that would be less challenging logistically but could still be consistent and serve as a proper deterrent. One of the other teachers (who actually has a daughter in our grade), then suggested the use of a weekly demerit system which would have both a reward and consequence aspect to it. The rewards side of the equation did not surprise me but what did surprise me was her suggestion that students who exceed a certain amount of demerits receive a spanking. Though I think we were all a bit surprised at her idea; after we continued to discuss the concept, it started to make a lot more sense.

We spent several hours outlining the program and then we met with the administration for their feedback and approval. The Administration approved our plan and then we sent a letter/e-mail to each parent detailing the new plan. We then hosted a meeting with the parents a few days later to discuss the plan in more detail and address any concerns and questions. Surprisingly most of the parents were comfortable with the new plan but there were certainly some who voiced their concern and disapproval. As you know regardless of the policy you will never please 100% of the parents which was the case here as well. The following Monday (in October) the plan was rolled out to the students on a formal basis.

If you are interested, I would be happy to share the specifics of the plan with you and/or write an article if you think it is prudent. I will tell you that the new plan has been successful in managing the classroom and has eliminated the majority of the logistical issues I mentioned earlier.

Have a Great Thanksgiving!

Sharon


Thanks for sharing with us what you and your teaching colleagues are doing in Arizona. I (Renee) have been to your state twice in the last two years -Once to watch Georgia down Arizona U. (HA HA) in football in 2008 and this past summer when John and I saw the Grand Canyon/Hoover Dam. Arizona is a wonderful state and we enjoyed both visits.

As to contributing to this blog: Please, by all means, send us more detailed info on your Discipline Plan because that is one of the purposes for which teacherswhopaddle exists. TWP may have to edit what you send due to limits on the size of individual posts but the central message will be published.

I (Renee) do have a few concerns about your “decentralized” approach to discipline. We at TWP DO believe in local control of schools over state government micromanagement. However, both teachers AND principals are employees of the school district -Not policy makers. We honestly feel that to make policy is to expose oneself to the legal liabilities of that policy. The following is what concerns us most.

Role of School Board: Is there a policy written by the school board concerning c.p.? At minimum, there must be an “enabling” policy from the school board specifically ALLOWING c.p. as school discipline.

Legal Liability Protection: This is an absolute must because of the nature of our legal system. A lawsuit against you or another teacher WILL bankrupt the defendant -Win or lose. We at TWP believe that should never happen but…there are just too many lawyers out there and the loser of a civil suit does NOT pay in the U.S. So, teachers or principals MUST have some form of legal protection from the school district or state.

Opt Out Policy: Parents MUST be allowed to opt out their kids from c.p. without precondition. Anytime, in today’s legal climate, that schools go against parental wishes, the schools usually lose. Also, a parental consent form isn’t worth the paper it is printed on and should never be considered as a “legal liability shield”.

TWP has some excellent posts published in August and September of 2008 such as MISSION STATEMENT, POLICY SUGGESTIONS, and IMPLEMENTS AND TECHNIQUES. We hope they are of help to you.

Hi Renee:

Thank you for your response. I was actually at the ASU/Georgia game last year as well. As a graduate of The University of Arizona I was actually rooting for the “dawgs” as well, much to the chagrin of my boyfriend who is a ASU graduate! I was very impressed by the passion of the many Georgia fans who made the trip to the game.

I will be very happy to send you the details of our classroom discipline plan in a separate e-mail. You raised a number of areas of importance and concern in your e-mail regarding any school’s CP policy and these points were all considered prior to implementing our classroom options.

I do know that my administration consulted their legal team prior to giving us the approval to move forward with our disciplinary plan. We do have an opt out provision (based on certain criteria) and parents do sign a consent form. Like many documents these days, to your point, often times the documents are not worth the paper they are written on. Admittedly I am not a legal expert but your e-mail has given me motivation to do some additional research both from a school and personal perspective. I will definitely inform you if I find anything of note.

As to your question: Yes, there is an “enabling” CP policy at the governing level. It is also my understanding that, as a teacher, I have legal immunity in regards to the administration of CP.

Once again thanks for your e-mail and more importantly for you and your fellow teachers for taking the time to maintain such an educational blog. Have a great week.

Sharon

We at TWP look forward to receiving your Discipline plan soon. As to “charter” schools, I (Renee) understand how they work although my district is somewhat small and is only able to keep its regular schools operating -Barely!

Special Editor’s Correction: I (Renee) boo booed! 😳Sharon, thanks for pointing out that Georgia played Arizona STATE University -Not Arizona University. We southern folks may seem provincial at times with our lack of familiarity as to other universities and conferences but no slight was intended.

HOW WE SPENT THANKSGIVING

This is really my (Renee) idea and is probably similar to many of our readers own experiences.

6:30 a.m. (Thursday}: Hit the road after quick stop at a Hardee’s for an equally quick breakfast. 8 hour drive ahead. Tyler is sound asleep in back of the Subaru which is fully gased up. It will be about 2 hours before Tyler starts the “Are we there yet”s.

12:30 p.m.: I finally talk John into stopping at a rest stop for lunch. Homemade sandwiches are the fare with colas to drink. Afterwards, bathroom trips and then -Back on the road to mom and dad’s.

4:00 p.m.: We made it in great time! No wonder -John wanted to make it in time for the Cowboy’s game kickoff on t.v.! (If we had gotten a speeding ticket, I would have kicked him!) Hugs all around as my parents,oldest and youngest brothers, sister in laws, nephews and nieces all greet us in the driveway.

4:45 p.m.: My oldest and youngest brothers and family who stayed over the prior night and had their Thanksgiving feast for lunch are leaving for another relative for dinner (I’m not kidding!) before my middle brother , sister in law and their two boys arrive. Phone call from same: 1 hour before arrival so mad rush to plan all sleepover arrangements and get dinner ready. (Whew!)

6:00 p.m.: Middle brother and family arrive and more hugs all around. New and unexpected guest: A collie/lab about six months old. (Good grief!) I noticed that mom and dad seem to have aged since last summer. Hmmmmm.

7:00 p.m.: “Alright y’all, the football game is almost over and we know the Cowboys will win -So, get washed up and ready to eat!” momma calls out. After grace and setting up the “kiddie table”, we all feast on Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings. And to watch our men eat is a sight to behold!

8:30 p.m.: After the last pecan pie or pumpkin pie slice, there is clean up and my sister in law and I INSIST on doing the clean up. Hey, mom has worked up TWO large meals in one day -She deserved a break.

9:30 p.m.: Like fattened turkeys, our boys (Big and small) are stuffed and starting to yawn. Clean up is done and beds or cots are ready. Teeth brushing, bedtime prayers and goodnight kisses are given before tucking in. (Lights are then OUT -No ifs, or, ands, buts about it!) Momma, sister in law and I slept in one bedroom so we could slip out for the mall opening at 5:00 a.m. (“Black ” Friday Sale, of course!)

3:45 a.m.: Momma, sister in law and I all wake up, snack on granola bars with coffee and then hit the road for a mega mall that I can remember was once a cow pasture. We made it with 10 minutes to spare. Strategy: Have one car parked overnight so more items can be stored in both cars. Also, instead of mall entrance -Wait at doors of large stores (Saks or Belk or Goodys) Advanced strategy: “Divide and Conquer” by spliting up and each of us going to different stores with our own lists. It works too! Especially with each of us using cell phones to keep one another updated on surprise sales. (You never know what you’ll find.)

Entering Belk’s, I heard over the P.A. system the song “Its the most WONDERFUL time of the year...”

11:30 a.m.: After several trips to the cars to stash items, it is time for lunch break at the food court. My feet are holding up o.k., thanks to extra padded inserts but momma looked wore out. So momma will “spy” for the first empty table while sis-law and I get in a really long line at the China Wok stand. I was hopeful they wouldn’t run out. They didn’t and mom buzzed us on where our table was. Carefully, sis-law and I were able to carry all the food and drinks w/o mishap. Sitting never felt sooooo good!

12:15 p.m.: Just a few more hours to go with a couple more trips to the car for item loading. Momma says,”I can’t shop like I used to!” We all laugh while taking a break eating a yogurt snack. You have to watch out for us women armed with credit or debit cards on “Black Friday”!

3:00 p.m.: Finished…At least round 1 of the holiday shopping season. And the roads leading away from the mall -A “parking lot” for sure. Getting back to the house, sis-law and I separate our various sacks and boxes -all strategically marked with initials- and place same in our cars for the trip home. The three of us shoppers are then ready to drop for a well deserved nap. Our “turkeys” (both young and old), who were watching another football game, DARED ask,”Whats for dinner?” Answer: Leftovers -In the ‘frig and everyone help themselves! (Our men of the family get to take charge of the kitchen for a change.)

Rest of Evening: Rest and relaxation -What else?

Saturday: Middle brother, sis-law and kids headed home and John, Tyler and I visited with some relatives all day. We got back to mom and dad’s in time for the kickoff of Georgia-Atlanta Tech (aka Georgia Tech) and my Dawg’s WON!

A Georgia win is ALWAYS a great way to end Thanksgiving weekend.

Sunday: Actually, our weekend with family wouldn’t end right w/o an early morning trip to our church. A 1st Advent church service with mom and dad at the church where I grew up, was confirmed and married in was the perfect send-off for John, Tyler, and me on our way home.

 

JUST FOR LAUGHS

We received a couple of REALLY funny comments from folks that just have to be posted by TWP. Remember -None of this was made up by us!

“I’m getting very close to finding out who these abusive teachers really are. It’s only a matter of time before we “put them out of business”. The days of them exposing children on the internet and violating their rights to privacy is [sic] just about over!” ‘

-Tony Brian

(Giggle Giggle Giggle) Hey, Tony -While you are looking, be sure not to walk into something and hurt yourself. Actually, your comments sound more like something Daffy Duck would utter. (Thanks to Prof. N. for sending TWP the quote.)

Hey Renee I read on line that they want to replace the late Georgia mascot (Uga VII) with a robot!

-Ronnie S.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Sounds like something Atlanta Tech (aka Georgia Tech) would dream up. I (Renee) have only one thing to say about it:

FORGETABOUTIT!

EDITOR’S NOTE: PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE, TEACHER FEATURE and the RENEE CHRONICLES will be back next week -WE PROMISE!

 

COMING NEXT: A DISCIPLINE PLAN FROM ARIZONA, PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE week 14/15,

TEACHER FEATURE: CONSEQUENCES OF FOUL MOUTH

&

RENEE CHRONICLES pt. XIV

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