77. MICHELLE ANSWERS “TONY BRIAN” AND CO., A TEACHER’S REGRET, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS II & R.C. pt. XVII

MEMO TO RONNIE S. AND WILLIE C.: Thanks for the kind words of encouragement -They mean a lot to us. Your teachers were a lot HARDER on y’all than we would have been but you have to admit that after so many “second chances”, the consequences did get your attention!

Dear Readers: As we prepared this week’s post, Michelle was just coming down from her “high” over Alabama winning the national championship in football. Hey, y’all should have heard her singing, in that sweet feminine voice of hers, that great victory song WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS…OF THE WORLD! She sang that song to me via her cell phone at her morning staff meeting at the elementary school. Rumor has it that Jenny wants to cancel Wendy’s maternity leave early because, in Jenny’s words, “This is going to be a LONG rest of the school year!”

Well, Michelle is “back to earth” and back to the normal daily routine as a 4th grade teacher. (And, NO -She has paddled only one child all this school year so don’t bother asking!) However, against my advice, she did check out THE HITTING STOPS HERE FORUM and was ticked off -To put it mildly!

MICHELLE ANSWERS “TONY BRIAN” & CO.

Tony and Co., I’ll just skip your typos and misspellings and get to the point. Your sick and perverted comments reveal a lot more about YOU than me.

1) The teacherswhopaddle blog is written for the purpose of giving a teacher’s first person perspective on the use of school c.p. How else can we give a first person account without giving a detailed description of what actually happens. If you are honest, you would just admit that our blog THREATENS your entire anti c.p. agenda. How? By simply telling our side in a way that the reader can see that  we are human beings with feelings and lives of our own. The four of us live normal lives like millions of other people. The difference is that we have, on a few occasions, used corporal punishment within the guidelines of our school’s discipline policy. (And parents can always choose to opt their kids out.)

2) You say that you find descriptions of ourselves (ex: Alabama ex-cheerleader or former Georgia Marching Band member) as either “boring” or unnecessary. I think I KNOW why you really feel this way. It is because you wish to be the one who defines us exclusively. One of the smarter things we ever did was to define ourselves on our own terms. Call us whatever you want but doing so will reflect back on YOU.

3) As to Miguel -He was just fine when I talked to him later that day. That paddling was a lite one and I do have a reputation as a lite paddler anyway. Miguel was mostly shamed and embarrassed about it and worried that I was still angry with him. When I told him I wasn’t and only wanted him to obey and respect me as his teacher, he completely understood and had no “hard feelings” towards me.. And I had NO more major problems the rest of the school year with Miguel or anyone else. Comprehende?

As to verbal warnings, he had those for WEEKS and knew what would happen if he touched me inappropriately. (I occasionally do have students put their arms around my waist innocently and that is o.k. as long as it is not overt and repeated continuously) Your suggestion that I “retreat” from MY desk is idiotic and shows how out of touch with reality you actually are.

4) As to who our readers are: We don’t honestly know but this blog was NEVER intended for the purpose of entertaining the fetishes of sicko perverts. (In your rant, you sounded like one!) So, let me, on the behalf of TWP, say this loud and clear:

THIS BLOG IS WRITTEN AND IS INTENDED FOR THE PURPOSE OF GIVING THE TEACHER’S PERSPECTIVE ON SCHOOL C.P. ANYONE WHO LOOKS TO SATISFY A “FETISH” IS TRULY SICK AND IN NEED OF PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP!

 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS II

The Swimming Pool & Renee

Like anyone else on hot summer days, I like swimming pools as much as the next person. Hey, I grew up with a church softball/swimming pool membership so the idea of summertime and pools going together was routine for me. However, classroom teachers have a certain burden in public we have to deal with -Regardless of our personal wishes.

I understood this from the beginning and accepted that I had a burden in public as far as running into any of my students apart from school. Our county has one community pool and I used it after moving to my apartment just a week before school started in August. I had just been hired as the new 3rd grade teacher and NO ONE knew me when I showed up at the pool. No big deal.

After my first year:Very Big Deal!

I guess I just was not thinking. I showed up at the pool with the idea of soaking up some sun because my wedding date was about a month away. Just bring a good book to read for a nice relaxing afternoon. Hey, my former pupils, who all made grade, were not the only ones on vacation!

Problem: I was a bit of a celebrity as far as my former students were concerned. Take that fact and combine with the image of a young red headed teacher at poolside wearing a two piece swimsuit and -That afternoon was anything but relaxing. No more than 5 minutes after settling down to read my book, I got an audience of around 15 kids -nearly all ex-pupils- sitting around my lounge chair eyeballing me.

This was NOT funny and quite uncomfortable for me. I said hello and then shooed them away, hoping they would lose interest in me and go back in the water. No such luck. They all hung around the edge of the pool watching me and asking “Whatcha reading?”,”When are you going in the water?”and “Can you do this?” (Silly water games) Bless their hearts but my time with them was OVER and I was not their teacher any more.

They finally seemed to lose interest as I tried my best to ignore them while  reading my book. After a while, I was ready for a dip in the water but quietly went over to the far end. To no avail. Picture about 15 kids swimming in a pack towards me as I started to get in. And lo, one of the first to speak was Greg of RENEE’S (FIRST) HALLOWEEN PADDLING! Grinning with his scuba mask on, Greg asked me if I recognized him. I had to think a moment and Greg then said, “Its me -Greg- and remember last Halloween?” The other kids all giggled but I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. I just shook my head at the semi circle of kids around me and quietly  got out of the water and dried myself off, preparing for a fast exit to my car.

Greg came running towards me saying, “I’m sorry, Miss …., please don’t leave us!”

[ turned and replied,”Greg, you have nothing to be sorry for…I just don’t think it is a good idea for me to be here…And as to what happened last Halloween…It hurt me too and I couldn’t sleep for several days after…”

“I’m sorry, Miss ….” Greg whined as he shyly started to look teary eyed.

“Greg, all that is history and I would like to forget it because it still hurts me to think about it…But I am leaving because it is not a good idea for teachers and their students to meet like this…So take care this summer and I’m sure I’ll see you when school starts.”

Greg smiled as I waved back to him and the others.

I found a private club with pool about 30 minutes up the interstate which all of us at TWP currently belong to.

After all, it really isn’t a good idea for our “kids” to see us in two piece swimsuits!

A TEACHER’S REGRET

Hello TWP, my name is Alexis and like three of y’all, I am an elementary teacher (with NO plans to be a principal, for sure!) in the “razorback” state (Arkansas) and like all of you -I really have no use for paddling kids as a disciplinary option but with the only other option being suspension out of school -The paddle is the lesser of two evils as far as I’m concerned.

And my paddle? It is probably exactly like the paddleball paddle your blog describes. Three swats is all I ever give (a few times a year) and there is no way any child could be bruised from 3 lite to medium swats from me. Secret: The noise (bark) should always be worse than a paddle’s bite (initial sting). ANYTHING more is abusive in my opinion.

I have read your blog extensively and agree with the general direction you are going -Especially the hammering you gave “Sharon” although I wondered about the “plan” she sent you and if it was even real. But your post WENDY’S MISTAKE I missed last year and just discovered it in your archives. It stirred my memory of a mistake I made a few years ago -In my first year of teaching -for which I will always regret.

But unlike Wendy’s, my case turned out differently…for the worse.

Like all of you at TWP, I was the typical college coed who chose early childhood education after hearing about the field of study from some of my sorority sisters. The more I got into that major, the more I felt that this is what I wanted to do with my life. And paddling children? That was the most distant thing from my mind.

Graduating from the University of Arkansas, I searched all summer before landing a 2nd grade teaching job in a small county on the opposite end of the state from where I was from. And I found out about the use of small paddles for discipline only AFTER the first inservice meeting. I didn’t like it but our school did not have afterschool detention and the single run school bus routes was the reason. I then decided that if I would paddle a child in my class, it truly would be after repeated warnings and penalties such as loss of computer time and recess sit outs.

For the most part, this worked out and as TWP teachers know all too well, the hardest part is the “new” as in being the new teacher. As a general rule, the “new” wears off after one month when the children figure out that yes, you ARE the teacher and ARE in charge of the classroom.

Of course, some kids do push the envelope and then the teacher must impose consequences. But the paddle I was given to keep in my desk was never considered for the minor things the kids did. However, a problem with some kids developed when I would leave the room for a few minutes to do errands or make copies in the teacher lounge. It seems that all chaos and ruckus would start after I left and it was hard to settle the class down when I got back. Despite the classwork that was given to them, I repeatedly caught the same ringleaders and as a result, they constantly missed recess.

Finally, after weeks of this, I had enough and announced that goofing off or playing around in the room when I was not there would be a paddling offense from that point until Christmas break two months later. I hoped (unrealistically) that my pronouncement would “scare” a few of the most rowdy into at least staying in their seats when I left the room.

There was one boy I’ll call Scott, one of the better behaved kids, who never gave me any serious trouble. But he would be the one who ended up as the first child I ever paddled.

It was the day after I made my new “policy” and I warned about horseplay before leaving the room to make a personal phone call. 5 minutes later, I was walking back towards the room when I heard what I hoped I would never hear: Ruckus! I cringed thinking, “This is it, girl…You made a promise and…” Walking up to the door at an angle, I saw a paper wad land on the floor just missing the waste basket. And Scott, of all people, dashed up front to pick it up to drop in the basket. Scott did have his pencil and was about to sharpen it as I came in. (I allow students to get up quietly to use the pencil sharpener.) Scott looked at me innocently as he started to use the pencil sharpener. No one uttered a peep as I looked around the room. I then fingered Scott as the one throwing the paper wad and despite his pleas of innocence, marched him out in the hallway and sat down in the chair I pulled from my desk. I then pulled him over my lap and, holding the paddle at shoulder height, swatted Scott 3 times with lite to medium force. But seeing his reaction of tears and cries after each swat broke my heart. Of all my students, Scott was the one I thought this would never happen to. After letting him up, I allowed him to calm down before we went back into the room. I actually needed a few minutes myself because I felt awful and wonder to this day why ANYONE would ever get any pleasure from doing this to a child -I certainly did NOT!

The paddling was not hard and Scott was more scared than anything else. My having used the paddle did have a positive effect on the behavior of  the rest of the class and I had to resort to it only a couple of other times that school year.

But the shock came to me on the last day of the school year. Two girls came to me after everyone else had left and ‘fessed to me that a Mark had thrown the paper wad and not Scott. I was livid that they never had told me and I tried to catch Scott before he got on his bus -Unsuccessfully. To make matters worse, Scott was in a nasty divorce custody battle between his parents and moved out of state with his mom a week later. His parent’s phone # was inactive by the time the school released it to me.

After a dreadful (for me) summer, I found out what school district he transferred his records to but never was able to find his mother’s address/phone #. I was devastated and would have done ANYTHING  to be able to apologize to or make amends with him. That was the WORST summer of my life and it still hurts me to this day to think about what I did.

Finally, the next school year, I had an opportunity to at least dish out a very hard paddling to Mark (who was a bully and one of my worst behaving ex-students) thanks to the help of his new teacher who knew about Scott. I told Mark, “Ms. …. and I have a little deal: For the next year, Every time you are due for a paddling, I am going to do the honors like I just did a minute ago…And you know why?…Because YOU caused another student of mine to be paddled when YOU were the guilty party!…And you know who -poor Scotty!”

Well, Mark did get paddled one more time that year but I was told his overall behavior did improve greatly that year. (When Mark was in my 2nd grade class, I did paddle him once rather moderately but I was in the dark as to Mark’s involve ment with Scott and the mistaken paddling.) As to the two delayed witnesses who told me they held back because Scott was considered “nerdy”, I promised them the “Mark treatment” if they EVER  got into any trouble and made similar arrangements with their 3rd grade teacher. But they did stay out of trouble.

The moral of this story is: You can never take back a paddling so if there is ANY doubt: DON’T! Wendy was able to make amends -I will go the rest of my life knowing about my mistake but will never be able to say the words, “I am so sorry…Will you please forgive me?” I would do ANYTHING to get to say those words to Scott.

TWP MEMO: Alexis dear, please stop beating yourself up! You are only hurting yourself and that will not solve anything. It was a honest mistake and the first thing you MUST do, for your own sake, is to FORGIVE YOURSELF! You have much to live for and contribute to the education of young children under your care. You mentioned in a separate message that you have several awards for teaching excellence. So stop pulling yourself down and seek counseling if necessary because you ARE a very good teacher and your community’s children need good teachers in their school.

 

RENEE CHRONICLES pt. XVII

Car Wash Fundraising

Some things in life are just not fair. Take fundraising for marching band camp. In high school, I was a member of the color guard in the marching band. It was a lot of fun but to participate, we all had to go to band camp which was held at the University of Georgia every summer for one week. That was fun too but we members of the band all had to collectively work to raise the money to go along with funds for new uniforms, instruments, etc.

So what was unfair you ask?

Simple. Have you EVER seen a football team do a car wash for their program?

I didn’t think so.

All my big brothers played high school football and parents and community boosters helped with $$$ for football equipment needs. The band, however, got less outside help.

But we managed and prevailed all four years I was in my high school band. These car washes were fun but hard work too. We learned teamwork and developed a sense of camaraderie  that does make a difference in a successful outcome in achieving any goal.

I had a special role that first year of our car wash that friends back home still remind me of when I see them. As I recall, it was a rather windy and cool March Saturday morning when we all met in back of the Burger King parking lot to do the car wash. The faculty sponsor was sick so one of the football team coaches filled in at the last minute and was NOT happy about it. Hey, he was down right crabby and treated us like 5 year olds!

As we set up, Coach H started to explain “How to wash a car” while doing a quick soaping of his car. “And don’t forget the whitewalls on the tires!…Are you listening, Renee?…(I started to pick up the power water hose)…And DO NOT PRESS THE WATER HOSE TRIGGER UNTIL I’M FINISHED!” Coach H hectored.

I innocently asked, “You mean like this?” and squeezed the trigger. Like a fire hose, the water erupted and doused coach H. Everyone rolled over laughing except coach and me.

“Look what you did, dammit!” Coach H howled. He was soaking wet and COLD too!

I was panicky at first and pleaded, “I didn’t mean too..It was an accident!…Honest!”

The good thing though was that Coach H had to warm up and dry off in the Burger King and we didn’t have to have that Coach “Jerk” belittling us for a while.

And I got a nickname: Firehose Renee.

Honest to goodness, it really was an accident…Sort of, anyway! (Giggle)

 

COMING NEXT:

A TWP SPECIAL FEATURE:

CHILD ABUSER/TEACHERS,

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS III,

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE: JANUARY

&

R.C. pt. XVIII

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