76. TEACHER FEATURE: MICHELLE GOES TO CALIFORNIA!, RENEE CHRONICLES XVI & “SHARON”/TWP FAQ’S

MEMO TO “SHARON”: After much research and contacting of numerous charter elementary schools in your area, we at TWP have decided that your entire “Plan” is likely BOGUS and that you are an internet TROLL and FRAUD. We do NOT like liars and therefore have chosen to publish both your email and IP address below with the name you gave us. Expect some “fan mail” in the near future!

NAME: Sharon Velonga

EMAIL: svelonga@gmail.com

IP ADDRESS: 68.231.41.25

This is our “appropriate action” and DO NOT PUSH OUR BUTTONS WITH YOUR THREATS -That will make it worse on YOU!

And if you are REAL -We hope the info above helps to trace where you teach so your “Plan” can be ELIMINATED!

MEMO TO PROF. N.: We got your input on Memphis and may comment further in a future post. Our feelings are clear as to public punishment and secondary school c.p. -We disapprove of both. Likewise with excessive # of swats and hand strapping. See FAQ’S below.

 

TEACHER FEATURE:

MICHELLE GOES TO CALIFORNIA!

Hi everybody! This is Michelle, the ex Alabama cheerleader turned 4th grade teacher. Actually, this segment is focused on the week Monday through Wednesday leading up to the National Championship Game in which my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Texas Longhorns. Since Richard and I were to fly out to L. A. on Wednesday night, I thought my three day week would be a teachable moment for my “kids”. Jenny (the other 4th grade teacher and Auburn alum) and I collaborated on that week’s lesson plans.

Monday

The week started with math problems in which we first figured the miles between our community and the Rose Bowl game site. Then everyone picked a car from their computer research time and figured out how many gallons of gas were needed to drive all the way to the game with the $$$ amount and fuel mileage for the cars chosen. Of course, I had the kids figure out travel time, lodging and meal expense as well. Hey, most of them have no clue as to how much things cost!

Tuesday

In our history lesson, the kids learned about the early settlers and the Gold Rush of 1848. The story of the infamous Donner Party sure got everyone’s attention. In the recent 20th century, I explained how California became the most populated state because of its milder weather and became, as a result, a “boom” state economically. I think some of the kids believe California is STILL a frontier state!

Jenny talked in detail about the weather patterns and drought conditions plaguing the west coast. And yes, children -You can have drought problems on a coastal area!

Wednesday

We had an interesting lesson on what comes from California -And not just movies and t.v. shows. I (Michelle) brought a variety of fruits for the kids to sample as an afternoon snack. They liked it and just maybe will acquire a taste for something other than junk food. Jenny did a great lesson on geology and why there are earthquakes on the west coast. Bless their hearts -Some of the kids were worried about me but I reassured them that earthquakes are a part of our world.

(As we were planning this post, the earthquake in Haiti occurred and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this natural disaster. Everyone needs to donate $$$ or supplies if they are able to.)

Cafeteria “Pep Rally”

On the last hour of the school day, Jenny and I got our classes together in the cafeteria for a little mock pep rally. Earlier in the day, our kids made homemade pom poms with dark red and white strips of paper glued to old ice cream wooden sticks. Jenny brought her portable CD stereo and I played my Alabama Million Dollar Marching Band CD on it. Jenny had to grimace a little but I promised her I’d cheer for Auburn if they EVER play for a nation championship. (That will happen when Halley’s comet returns! HA HA)

Of course, I brought my cheerleading pom poms from my college days and no, I DID NOT WEAR MY CHEERLEADING OUTFIT. I CAN still fit in it but wish to keep my teaching job as well!

We divided up our classes into groups of 6 or 7 each and each group was given a cheer chant to yell out. Boy, talk about competitive! They cheered so loud, even Mr. Smith (our principal) heard us! He came in on us when I was doing a bit of my cheerleading routine and if you could have only seen the look of consternation on his face. I nearly cracked up!

As our “pep rally” ended and I introduced the substitute teacher for Thursday and Friday, I admonished my class to behave themselves and mind her. I also promised to bring back some pictures of the trip which I did.

As I headed out to the car where Richard was waiting, the kids all rushed to me and gave good-bye hugs which I did NOT mind. One boy said laughingly, “Hook ’em Horns!” I laughed back as someone said, “Paddle him, Mrs. ….!” I just shook my head and patted the boy’s head saying,”Its just a game…It doesn’t matter to me who you pull for…” He then threw his arms around my waist and said,”I was only kidding, Mrs. …., honest!” I replied on my way out the door,”Now remember what I said a minute ago: Mind Miss C. and work hard…o.k.?” He smiled back and promised to.

Note to “Sharon”: I (Michelle) have a special “connect” with my students which you will never have. I truly believe my students like me as a person as well as a teacher. I DO have their respect but it is based on my ability as a teacher and not on fear of physical pain. Ask yourself, Sharon: If something were to happen to you tomorrow, would your students even care? Mine certainly would.

Something to think about.

My Trip

Everything went well and our flight was pretty much on time. As to “body scanners” -Don’t bother asking because I did not see any at the airport. Once in LA LA land, I am glad we had already made transportation arrangements because I have never seen highway traffic like southern California. Richard and I did not do much sight seeing but did check out the San Gabriel Mountains which overlook the Rose Bowl Site. The game itself was awesome (Alabama won!) but there was one issue. After 1st quarter, I went to get drinks and snacks for us at the concession area. Hey, I don’t mind people taking notice of me but I got “hit up” three different times by various men for DATES! A little creepy if you ask me. After that, Richard went to get drinks in the second half as well as escorting me to the Ladies room at the half. Trying to get out of the stadium area to hail a taxi took nearly half the night and we didn’t reach our hotel room till almost 3 a.m.

But we made it! And our return flight Friday afternoon went smoothly.

On Thursday and Friday, I called the school to check on my “kids” and they were well behaved…for the most part, anyway!

 

RENEE CHRONICLES XVI

O’AHU Bowl

This recollection of mine is a jump forward from previous entries about my childhood. My chronicles are not exactly intended to be an autobiography but rather a look at life lessons learned.

It was my senior year at Georgia and the football team was struggling. I was too -With my sorority officership (Secretary), my honor society memberships, keeping a relationship with John (my future spouse) and of course -My grades! (Graduated with a 3.78 out of 4.0 -Preety good, huh?)

Well, in the 2000 football season, Georgia LOST to Atlanta Tech (aka Georgia Tech) and everyone wondered what bowl game we would go to. Then the news came: THE O’AHU Bowl. IN HAWAII!!!

Bursting into the sorority living room/chapter room, I yelled to marching band color guard and best sorority friend Susan, “We’re going to HAWAII…We’re going to Hawaii!!!…Yea Haaa….Sue baby, pack your swim suit and sun tan lotion because…WE ARE GOING TO HAWAII!!!”

Going all the way back to high school, I heard how nerds belonged in marching bands. But I got a partial scholarship out of high school to be in the color guard of the RED COAT MARCHING BAND at Georgia. Mom and dad encouraged me to join my high school band’s color guard since I wasn’t musically gifted and that was the best advice EVER! And yours truly, who never traveled outside a few southern states was going to HAWAII!!!

Mind you, the O’AHU Bowl was considered a “minor bowl” (Go figure!) and a few football team members looked at Susan and me in a funny way when we complemented them on the bowl. Hey, Susan and I even bought a tanning bed package so we could pre-tan for the trip.

And the absolute best part: Most expenses were paid for except breakfast and transportation for sight seeing.

Mom and dad did warn me about getting too much sun because I am rather fair skinned. (Ahhh…The curse of being a red hair girl!)

When we finally flew out of Atlanta, I knew we were in for a looooonnng flight but it seemed to take forever. At one point, I thought we might have overshot Hawaii and would land in China! Susan, always the calm and cool type, reassured me and we FINALLY landed in paradise (aka Hawaii).

I’ll skip to the chase here and tell you that Susan and I made haste to the beach a block down the street from our hotel. The day after our flight was a “free” day just before game day and we decided to make the most of it. After an early breakfast, we changed to our bikinis (Not too outrageous so please -No weird emails) and headed for a day at the beach. Hey, we weren’t stupid -Before heading out, we both put plenty of sun screen on.

Problem: The directions on the bottles say “Reapply after a few hours.” Wanna bet on what we DIDN’T do.

That’s right.

Two young and somewhat pale ladies would find out the HARD way about the limitations of sun screen.

It hit us that evening as we were readying for our Dinner Banquet. From just tired from a whole day at the beach to pure agony just after taking a shower. A school paddling involves, if done correctly, a short sting and discomfort. But a major all over sun burn? 100x WORSE!

I do not know what Susan and I would have done if the hotel staff hadn’t of had some Aloe Gel for us. We both would have given a Nobel prize to whomever invented Aloe Gel because it saved the day for us. Our band director blew his stack about the whole fiasco but what could he do? Susan had actually graduated a few days before and this was my last trip as well as I would graduate the following May.

The next day -Game Day-we managed to perform with the band at the half time show. But there would be NO more beach excursions for Susan and I -We were “burned” out. Before heading back to cold Georgia, we did get to see the famous volcano of Hawaii which I would later recommend to Michelle for her honeymoon trip.

And I certainly learned a very good lesson: There is NO such thing as an “all day” sun screen!

 

“SHARON”/TWP FAQ’S

On “Sharon”

What’s the story behind Sharon and why is TWP giving so much time on this?

First, let us start by understanding what this blog is about. Teacherswhopaddle is not nor has ever been a site that advocates abusive school c.p. The antis have never understood this and never will -Because they are blinded by their own zealotry. We truly are fair and balanced and the proof is in how we critiqued Sharon’s discipline plan. (See post: TWP’S CRITIQUE OF “A “DISCIPLINE PLAN FROM ARIZONA”)

This all started when Sharon first contacted our blog during Thanksgiving break about herself and a “new plan” that she and her 2nd grade teaching colleagues came up with. It emphasized a demerit system with weekly Friday “spankings” as the only consequence for “minor rules violations”. We at TWP had serious misgivings but I (Renee) contacted Sharon by way of my personal email account. Right after that, I was alerted by another reader of third parties trying to track me down by that same email account and it was promptly closed.

At this point, Sharon communicated a desire to use emailing over posting at our site. Against my better judgment, Wendy resumed contact with Sharon for the purpose of getting a better understanding of Sharon’s feelings about a policy that we all agreed was “borderline abusive.” What Sharon told Wendy made us all heartsick. Some of the things she said reflected so poorly on her, we decided to go the extra mile in our critique -Just to show everyone that we DO have limits on what we think is out-of-bounds.

We knew that our critique would not be liked and we took extra pains to be sure it made a lasting impression. What we did not anticipate is the threats against us and our blog. We attempted to meet Sharon half way and were given the “blow off.” Wendy then noticed that Sharon’s response to the critique was in a different format and replied, warning Sharon about the liability for damaging someone else’s computer with bugs in emails. There were no “bug” problems but Sharon’s next reply was so unacceptable due to her repeated threats, we finally blacklisted her permanently.

The main issue is this: Who will control this blog: TWP or Sharon?

The answer is clearly TWP and we will present more on what Sharon has communicated to us at a time of OUR CHOOSING.

We repeat this for Sharon if there is any doubt in her mind:

NO ONE WILL EVER CONTROL THIS BLOG -NOT SHARON OR ANYONE ELSE!

What do you hope to achieve in this Sharon tiff?

Our first goal after we got a full picture of what was going on in Arizona was to let Sharon know, in no uncertain terms, what we thought about what she was doing. We were naive and idealistic in thinking our critique would move her but the reaction we got solidified our determination that TWP was totally in the right. The past two weeks, we have launched our own investigation of the Arizona charter school system and this is ongoing. We have also come to realize that Sharon may be an internet troll and worse -A well planned trap intended to destroy this blog. (Hmmm…Who would want to do a thing like that?)

Well, Sharon may be real or a hoax but our answer to that is at the top of this post.

And if you are reading this, Sharon…WE DO NOT INTIMIDATE EASILY!

And ultimately, our goal is simple: If there is any truth to what Sharon is “doing”, we want to find out where this is occurring and stop it. After all, “Plans” like this are what cause total state wide bans to become law -Like in Ohio.

What is wrong with demerits and mild c.p. for 2nd graders?

Nothing. But what is occurring with Sharon is not mild at all. If you read our post COMMENTARY ON SHARON along with our CRITIQUE, you will see references to the arbitrariness and abusiveness of what Sharon is doing in the name of “discipline”. Hint: If a child cries his eyes out for 10 minutes after a school “spanking”, something is very wrong. Our biggest question to Sharon would be “What did you THINK our reaction would be to YOUR abusive discipline?”

Editor’s Note: Sharon’s Experiences WILL be posted at a future date TO BE DERTERMINED BY TWP.

If you could “redo” the entire Sharon encounter, what would TWP do differently?.

I guess we would be a little more careful about how we communicate. It was Sharon who asked for private communication by email and Wendy who did so. We should have realized then that the true intentions of Sharon was to try and take control of our blog by intimidation and threats when we chose to criticize her “Plan”. We have all learned a valuable lesson in how some people operate. As to Sharon : TWP will have the last word -Count on it!

On TWP

Is TWP becoming an anti c.p. blog?

No. Please read our first post of the new year A TWP DISCIPLINE PLAN. It does have school c.p. in the plan but only after warning, extra classwork, recess sit in and detention -All within a 5 school day time frame. School c.p. would be a lot rarer in our plan than Sharon’s. (Alot less empowerment for Sharon too!)

How could you paddle a 13 year old boy? Against your own stated principles?

:roll:I reckon I could have had Matt hang around the office until a male coach was available but it would have been much harder -Literally! As to policy: I don’t have the power to ban c.p. where I work. Think my boss, the Head Principal, would be receptive if I just told him one day “I’m banning c.p. at this middle school because I do not like it”? Don’t think so. And I am NOT forcing the issue -All paddlings are given AFTER the parents are contacted and they can always say NO. Of the three I’ve witnessed and two I’ve given -No parent has opted for suspension. Finally, my de-emphasis on c.p. at the middle school has meant far fewer paddlings than any other year in the 20+ year principalship of my boss.

What is TWP’s position on “hand strapping” as an alternative to “buttock beating”?

OMG! Are you serious?

(Note to Prof. N.: We have received a number of questions on this topic recently.)

First, we have a hard enough time with the idea of mild to moderate swats on one of our “kids” rear ends. And how is that a “beating” anyway? A stinging sensation that only lasts a few minutes is NOT a “beating” but a back alley mugging is -Learn the difference!

As to “hand strapping”: That is HORRIBLE and I’d fire a teacher on the spot for doing so. There is NO provision in our student handbook for such discipline. The very idea of seriously injuring the hands which a student uses in his daily routine…

If a teacher did that to my child, he would need someone to feed him for the next two months because BOTH arms would have multiple compound fractures!

Why do you dismiss scientific evidence that c.p. does not work and is harmful to children?

First, with a background in research methodology as a part time graduate student, I know that just labeling something “scientific” does not make it gospel. Any researcher can manage the data to come up with a predetermined outcome. Remember: All the researchers on school c.p. are ANTI C.P.! What a surprise! I’ll certainly consider the research of a practicing classroom teacher over a non-teacher psychologist any day.

 

COMING NEXT: A TEACHER’S REGRET,

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS II

&

R.C. pt. XVII

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