43. GUEST CONTRIBUTOR RESPONSES, MORE READER RESPONSES & “APPROPRIATE” PADDLES

MEMO TO “VIC HAMMOND”: We at TWP were pleased to receive your comments and will post them next week. Your perspective on “child psychology” was interesting. Stay tuned!

 

Dear Readers: A month and a half ago, TWP started answering questions posed to our contributors Jenny, Wendy, Michelle, and myself (Renee). The reader interest was so good that we decided to check our files for more questions. It was then that we remembered the reader questions directed towards our guest contributors. Since we are in the process of “cleaning out” our files, we finally chose to contact Angela (A TEACHER/PRINCIPAL’S PAST AND PRESENT TROUBLE), Mandy (A TEACHER TAKES A STAND), and Courtney (A TEACHER’S PADDLING: THE OTHER END -to be reposted about 05-15-09). Please understand that this is a one-time posting because they do not wish to be regular contributors to TWP. As to the Courtney post, you will not find it because TWP pulled it late last year. The reason for this was because of the extreme traffic this one post was getting as opposed to all of our other posts. We tried to encourage readership of our other posts but were unsuccessful. Fearing that one of TWP’s posts could be used and twisted by persons with an anti-c.p. agenda, we pulled the post but promised to re-publish it in the new year. We will do so and Courtney’s Q & A’s may be reposted as well.

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR’S RESPONSES

Angela

What is the status of your relationship with the boy you baby-sat and paddled later as his teacher?

I have seen him on a few occasions at athletic events between the high school of my county and his. There is no animosity between us -I think he just felt that we simply could not work together as educators under the same roof. I differed, of course, and was so excited about one of my former students being a teacher. I was sad and disappointed when he chose to move on but yet -I’m still happy that he is having a successful career in teaching!

If you had it to do over again, what would you have done differently?

I guess the first thing would be to let someone else be Kevin’s teacher. If that couldn’t be changed, I may have tried to make contact with him during the time he was applying at the county school system. By doing so, I may have become aware of the lingering “paddling” issue between us. The paddling I gave him was termed “mild” by the teacher-witness. I never thought that would ever become an issue later. As a nervous 1st year teacher, the last thing I wanted to do was use the paddle -Especially on a child whom I had know since he was a baby!

In light of what happened, do you still use the paddle as an elementary school principal?

As an elementary principal, I have resorted to the paddle the least of any principal in our school district. In fact, I insist that any child in my school that is to be paddled must be paddled or witnessed by me. In doing this, I have discarded some large paddles belonging to some teachers. As a result, a few teachers have transferred out of my school because of “differences” in disciplinary philosophy. GOOD RIDDANCE!

Mandy

If you were so opposed to c.p. in the beginning, what caused you to change your mind and become a “paddler”?

When I took the teaching job just a week before the start of school, the specific issue of paddling was never brought up. Also, my college professors could all be described as anti-paddling. And me? I really never considered the issue pro or con. It just wasn’t a concern of mine and at the start, I really thought that serious discipline problems would be dealt with by the principal. But I was absolutely opposed to paddling as it occurred with the “monster” paddle. However, I also was aware that going “bonkers” would not change anything and I might lose my teaching job if the issue was forced incorrectly. The way I took my stand did work and change did happen for the better of the children -Just not a total paddling ban.

Do you ever wish that you had stopped that first paddling instead of allowing it?

Please understand, I was only in my third week of teaching, had barely settled in my rental house, and knew the way to the post office and nearest grocery store. And I was then going to “butt heads” with a 30 year veteran teacher? As it was, I nearly walked out then! I was so numbed by what happened, it was all I could do to make it through the rest of the day. If I was more confident about driving back to my home county that night on winding mountain roads -I would have. I’m glad I took a stand instead and changed things.

What’s the difference between a big paddle and a little one? Paddling is paddling, isn’t it?

Well…in absolute terms, paddling is paddling. But I did not need a Ph.D in physics from my college alma mater to know that the monster paddle was far worse than anything my ping pong sized paddle was capable of. Proof? Later that year, Pete (The kid in the “monster” paddling) poped into my room afterschool and said, “Way to go teach for getting rid of Ms. (Ann) ….’s toy-Everybody likes you for that!” I chuckled a little hearing that but was also thankful no one thought of me as “lax” on expectations for classroom behavior.

Courtney

After what happened to you, why would you ever pick a paddle up to use on someone else’s child?

As I pointed out in my account, the use of paddling by Coach B WAS abusive! There is no way to compare what happened to me and what I do as a last resort. A large paddle like the one used on me IS abusive. The small paddle I use is only 8″ x 6″ x 1/4″ and is oval shaped -A far cry from Coach B’s paddle. A few moderate swats from my paddle stings but will NOT bruise. After my experience, the last thing I would want to do is injure any child. The “sting” itself only lasts a few minutes. I know this by observing the way a student of mine acts afterwards: Embarrassed but after a few minutes, you could not tell that they had ever been paddled by the way they act half an hour later!

Why didn’t you go straight to the police after the paddling? Or at least your parents?

The community that I lived in was one of those counties that everyone is interconnected and nothing would have happened if I had. And where was I going to go to school? That was the only high school in the county. One must keep in mind that every other county is NOT like San Francisco or Berkley, California.

Do you bear any lingering ill-will against the coach who beat you?

I will never have any respect for Coach B -Professionally or personally. But life DOES move on. As far as I know, Coach B is out of education and has “other problems” as I alluded to in the post. Hey -KARMA!

What are you doing to prevent a repeat of the abuse of students that you once suffered yourself?

As an educator myself, I am aware of the things that can go wrong. I am looking out for teachers like Coach B and his ilk. All the teachers currently in our school as well as our principal and I DEMPHASIZE the use of c.p. and as a result, it is seldom used. Reducing the frequency of paddling is crucial to preventing a “repeat” of what happened to me. I am proud to say that our school is succeeding in that goal.

 

MORE READER RESPONSES

**** you and your webb site. I am 45 years old and I still remember my 3rd grade teacher ining up every kid in the class and beating us with a board with holes drilled in it almost every day. The usual excuse being that someone peed themselves because the bastard never let anybody go to the bathroom. He also made it a habit of jerking a kid up by the shirt collar, lifting them up off their feet by the collar and slaming them up against the black board and screaming in their face. Usually it was just for talking. It’s been almost 40 years but if I ever find that SOB he will get what he deserves. He will be peeing himself by the time I get through with him. From “Robb”

Robb, please -for your sake as well as others- GET PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELING NOW! Jenny, Michelle. Wendy, and I totally condemn what happened to you and the other kids. That so-called teacher sounds like a psychopath to us and there is NO way we would ever tolerate such abuse from a teacher in our school. I (Renee) plan to become a principal someday and if I EVER find out a teacher of mine is doing what you described -THEY ARE FIRED! But also remember that the teacher you described is probably retired by now and may be dead -So the only person you wind up hurting is yourself! Best Wishes and please seek professional help!

I was paddled at school, and seem to have turned out alright. The first of three times was in the third grade which I believe is the age range TWP deals with. We were practicing for our school play, and I pretended to kick another kid as contrasted with actually kicking him. My teacher quickly pointed to me, said “back to the classroom, and you’ll get it when we get back.” I must admit that the humiliation of waiting and then being paddled in front of the entire class was more worrisome to me than the swats although it did sting and I did cry.

My question: Do you ever wish you could paddle “on the spot” and simply get it over with? I believe my third grade teacher would have done so (as she had in other situations) except she did not have her paddle “in hand” at the moment. From “Mitch”

Mitch, your teacher was certainly stricter than we are. We most likely would have made you “sit out” the rest of the practice and maybe one recess. We would never paddle a child in front of the class -The other kids should not be subjected to that and the paddling itself is enough w/o humiliating the child. Our school, since my 2nd year has mandated that all c.p. take place in the conference room behind closed doors with a witness. As to “paddling on the spot,” the answer is NO! The use of the paddle is a big negative for us -We hate this part of our job -and we use it an average of about once or twice a year.

I have gone to College and have taken many classes in Child Development as well as Psychology. From my point of view, it sounds like any teacher, principal or anyone else that like to hit kids that arent theirs should get check out by mental health because maybe he was beaten in his life and thats why he wants kids to be paddled. If kids need to be punished then the parents will do it behind closed doors. Also I think any state that has CP in their school is a horrible state to live in. I feel sorry for them because school is for learning, not for hitting. Keep your hands and feet away from others. I have seen many kids that have grown up that our now in College to get their B.A. We grwe up in a state where it is wrong to beat others kids, and because of them not hitting any of us, it gave us the motive to learn, and thats what we did exactly, learn.
Also many schools use CP for the wrong thing, like a kid being tardy ( Many kids have to walk over 30 minutes to school, and I had to walk over 45 minutes to get to my middle school) Second, chewing gum, ( this at least keeps the kid awake and some gums actually have vitamins in them that benifit their immune system as well) Having a cell phone out. Its all a poor excuse to use CP. Parents ONLY should use it when THEY think it is right, NOT PEOPLE LIKE YOU. WE ALL HAVE OUR RIGHT TO RAISE OUR CHILD THE WAY WE WANT TO, AND IM NOT GOING TO HAVE MY CHILD GROW UP IN A STATE WHERE THAT HAPPENS AT SCHOOL AND BE AROUND THAT ENVIRONMENT. From “THE TRUTH”

First, you might want to ditch the nickname because you are full of ****! As to your “college education,” do not brag about it if you send email with the spelling and grammer like the one above. Also, since you do not have a background in education at any level, DO NOT talk down to us -You only demonstrate your ignorance. If you were a parent in our district, all you would need to do is “opt out” your child with a written note. (Hey, we will even do that for you if you ask!) As to better schools -That has NOTHING to do with legal c.p. in school. (See our posts PADDLING STATES AND GRADUATION RATES: A TWP “FACT CHECK” and SURPRISE NEWS ON GRADUATION RATES) Finally, what the hell are you talking about as to “cell phones”,”chewing gum” and “tardinesss”? We DO NOT paddle for those offenses. As to your childish rant about states and schools which have c.p. policies, just remember that some of the WORST school districts in the U.S. banned c.p. decades ago…AND THOSE SCHOOLS ARE STILL FAILING! We, as moms, just want our children to go to schools where they will get a solid education like the one we were privileged to get!

 

“APPROPRIATE” PADDLES

Dear readers: In the last month, TWP has received several requests and questions about paddles like the ones we use. We have also been asked about one paddle we mentioned in a post concerning Wendy. That paddle is called TAKE ALONG and is made by Reb’s Paddles, an online paddle-maker that went out-of-business late last year. The TAKE ALONG’s measurements are 11″ x 4″ x 1/2″ but we grade it only moderately because of the thickness.

Wendy purchased TAKE ALONG believing that it would make misbehaving students think twice about their actions. As readers are aware, that line of reasoning did not work and it was used on two occasions. Wendy is now on maternity leave and because of the mistake she made in the 2nd paddling, I was given that paddle and was asked to “trash” it. I asked our principal if he wanted it and it is now in the bottom drawer of his desk. So don’t ask if it will be on EBAY because it will not! (But that paddle can be another reason to give our pupils to not be sent to the office!)

The paddles we use:

PADDLEBALL: A teacher friend of ours who teaches preK showed us her little paddle but could not tell where it came from since she got it from another teacher who left for a position out of state. This cute paddle is meant only for prek to 2nd grade and, because of the light and thin balsa wood, should be double or triple layered to prevent breaking. Even then, the IMPACT will be only a lite sting with no chance of bruising if used with just one or two pops.The measurements are 8″ x 5″ x 1/5″ and the single layer thickness is an estimate. I (Renee) use this paddle in my 3rd grade class with smaller kids on those rare occasions when the other options cease to work.

Michelle’s Special: Our darling ex-Alabama cheerleader will probably wring my neck for naming our homemade paddle after her but -I couldn’t think of any other name to call it! (Giggle) As TWP described it in our post INTRODUCING A ROOKIE TO THE PADDLE, it is actually made up of three jumbo sized paint stirring sticks. Using super glue, we combine them to make a light but scary looking paddle that measures 16″ x 31/2″ x 1/4″. In the account about Michelle, we drilled a single hole in the handle only. We joked about hanging it on the wall but the handle hole’s purpose was for a wrist strap. The reason for that is simple: The handles of paint stirring sticks are rather roundish and do not grip well. The wrist strap simply allows for a tighter but more comfortable grip.

This paddle is scary from a slight distance -But not up close! That is one major reason we keep it in our desk drawers. When it has to come out, we tuck it under one arm so student does not see how thin it actually is. The other reason is that we want our classrooms to have a positive “feel” and a paddle hanging on the wall is very negative to both our students and us.

Tip: When gluing the sticks together, be sure to give it one night to completely fuse and we recommend large paper clamps to facilitate this. (Most any office has paper clamps used to bind thick paper files together)

Never put holes in the business end of any paddle. In our opinion, that is “overkill” -The use of a paddle is supposed to be mostly psychological with only a short immediate physical sting. Anything beyond that is ABUSIVE and unacceptable!

COMING NEXT:

A TEACHER’S PADDLING: THE OTHER END (REPOSTED)

&

A TWP COMMENTARY ON “A TEACHER’S PADDLING: THE OTHER END” (REPOSTED)

***TWO NEW POSTS BACK TO BACK***

#1) A DAY IN THE LIFE

OF A

TWP TEACHER

&

YOUR FAQ’s

#2) AWARD WINNERS,

BUMPER STICKERS,

READING LISTS/VACATIONS,

&

A TWP COMMENTARY

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