51. RENEE’S DOUBLE” PADDLING & YOUR FAQ’S

MEMO TO “FORMER STUDENT, TEACHER & PRINCIPAL”: We at TWP saw your comments at Network54 and wonder: Are you really an educator. Your comments sound more like the typical anti-c.p. zealot. Educators can and do disagree on issues, including c.p., but RESPECTFULLY. As to Rhode Island, we at TWP hope that the law in question was changed -Sixteen year olds have absolutely no business working as strippers. Our beef is that this issue ever came to light because it reflects poorly on a pretty state. I (Renee) have passed through Rhode Island on the acela express going to Boston.

UPDATE ON WENDY’S “BABY PATRICK”: As some readers have seen on prior posts, Wendy’s baby boy is GROWING and is too big to be carried on Wendy’s back while Wendy jogs. So, baby Patrick has his own set of “wheels”: A stroller that Wendy can push as she jogs and trains for a 5K run this fall. Another problem solved by a resourceful TWP contributor.

Dear Readers: As the “dog days” of summer slowly pass and we at TWP look towards our official start of a new school year with the inservice meeting in a few weeks -We all ask ourselves: Did the summer season just zip by? Between seemingly endless trips to the swimming pool for my Tyler’s swimming lessons (Along with Jenny’s boy Tommy) and finishing our summertime graduate studies, it seems that the summer has been too short. Hey y’all; we teachers probably feel like our pupils when school time gets closer: Ready to start anew but wishing the summer would not end quite yet.

A couple of weeks ago, a reader ask if any of us ever paddled more than 1 child at a time. By that, we think the question refers to 2 or more offenders being paddled for the same offense committed. Actually, that has happened once among the four of us at TWP. It was me (Renee) and I am not proud of that fact -Although it was warranted as the reader will see below. The two that I punished were the hardest, most difficult pupils that I had ever dealt with in my teaching career.

RENEE’S “DOUBLE” PADDLING

There is an old rhyme on a commercial on t.v. that refers to “…doubling your pleasure with double mint gum…” (I think) but double does NOT always equal pleasure -Especially in this case. I had just come back from my maternity leave and intended to finish the second half of the school year. In hindsight, I wonder if I should have taken the whole school year off. Of course, if I had done so -Poor Michelle might have ended up with both “little monsters” in her 4th grade class that a newby mom (Me) confronted in her own 3rd grade class.

The teacher that I replaced (Who did a decent job filling in for me in the first half of the year) warned me about two kids that she sent to the office several times: Ricky and Lou. Their seating even was arranged so they were on opposite sides of the room. I was told that January day before I retook charge of my classroom that the “separation” only seemed to result in both sides of the classroom in a continuous uproar.

But I wanted to resume my teaching career with my hubby caring for baby Tyler on 1st shift with me relieving him right after school dismissal. Brother, I really didn’t know what I was walking into. From day one, I had to watch Ricky and Lou like a hawk and couldn’t even turn my back to write something on the blackboard for more than a minute. When my days were over, I was just worn out -And I was no rookie having already taught for several years.

By now you readers are wondering where and when the paddlings come in. Well, up until that time I had paddled only a few kids for serious reasons such as bullying and stealing. I have always tried to avoid the use of the paddle which is why I was known as the least paddler in the school. On top of that, Mary (The substitute) was not permitted to paddle as per school policy. So there’s the perfect storm: The two worst behaved kids of my career, my re-entering the classroom after a year off, and a situation in which I was to take full charge of a classroom with two kids who had no respect for teacher authority. (Folks, do y’all still think teaching is easy?)

Well, when I started back, I took charge of the classroom from day 1. Ricky and Lou were on my “zero-tolerance list” in which every time one of them would do anything not allowed, there was to be a recess sit-in. It may seem like I was picking on them but my approach at the start did set a no nonsense tone. At first, Ricky and Lou were startled and then bewiltered but the strategy seemed to work…at least for a while.

For the first couple of months, everything was “normal” or what passes for normal in our school. But as time passed and the weather warmed, I knew the biggest challenge was still to be faced because reports were that Ricky and Lou were the “playground terrors” of our school.

I was careful to watch these two because I feared that they were potential bullies. Both seemed to realize this and adjusted their behavior. I was pleased and relaxed a little, chatting with Robin, the other third grade teacher during a recess one day.

“A couple more hours and baby Tyler gets to be with mommy again…I’m sure he’s driving John nuts crying for mommy,” I somberly spoke. I missed Tyler as much as he missed me!

“Hey, Renee…What could our ‘terrible two’ be up to over there at the far end of the school grounds?” asked Robin.

“I don’t know…But it looks like they’re throwing something…Lets check it out,” I replied, hoping for no trouble but fearing the worst.

Walking behind them but not calling out to them, I could see that they were throwing some palm sized rocks -But at what?

“Ooohh…You missed!” blurted Lou, who then added, “Let a ‘pro’ show you how it’s done!”

Then Lou launched a rock towards something that moved when the projectile missed by only inches…a squirrel! As the poor little critter scurried up an oak tree, I instantly saw red and exploded.

“Ricky…Louie…How DARE you mistreat and abuse a poor little animal for your own amusement!” I screamed, not caring that the entire third grade of our school at recess heard me.

Startled, the two shook their heads but I had seen all that I needed to see.

“Uhhh…Mrs…., Lou and I didn’t hit them…or hurt them…,” Ricky pleaded innocently.

My temper still boiling over, I snapped,”There some ‘hurt’ headed your way real soon, mister!…The very idea of throwing rocks at little animals indeed!”

I then grabbed the two by the arms and hauled them inside while asking,”Robin, can you spot for me the rest of recess?…I need to take care of some business.”

Please understand, dear readers, I’m not a paddler by nature and thought I had made progress on what was considered by all the teachers as the worst behaved kids in the school. I had actually thought my paddling days -All three of them- was in the past and that “positive reinforcement” was the better course. But in this case? I was only sure of one thing: I was positive that severe consequences were in store for Ricky and Lou.

“Throwing rocks at poor little defenseless animals…,” I thought to myself. This was a case that definitely called for a paddling and I was determined to be the one to deliver the “honors.”

I parked the two culprits outside my room as I retrieved the paddle that Jean, my mentor, made for me when I returned from maternity leave. I really disliked that paddle measured 16″ x 31/2″ x 1/4″ because I felt that it was too big for 3rd graders preferring the smaller oval shaped “paddleball” paddle instead. Jean assured me that the bigger paddle was almost as light as the oval paddle but better for bigger rear ends of bigger kids. Ricky and Lou were bigger kids and certainly merited the new, unused paddle.

Crossing the hallway and one door up was Jean’s 4th grade classroom where I asked Jean to be a witness for a “double” paddling -Which she wholeheartedly agreed after hearing what happened during recess.

“Mrs…., one of these two will need to stay outside the conference room while we attend to the other…,” Jean intoned.

“Right, Mrs. (Jean) ….,” I replied. “Lou, you wait outside the door and DO NOT go anywhere…You are already in enough trouble.”

Taking Ricky into the room, I immediately had him bend over with hands against the wall and feet spread to shoulder length.

I then asked if anything was in his back pockets and when he shook his head, I said,”Ricky, I am not a paddler as you have probably heard but there are a few things that I will…For picking on other kids or trying to hurt others…including defenseless little animals!”

With my left hand on the back belt loop of Ricky’s jeans, I firmly gripped the paddle with my right hand while keeping my right wrist loose. Rearing back the paddle at a 90 degree angle, I swung it hard and briskly.

 

SMACK “OUCH”

SMACK “OWWW…sniffle”

SMACK “OUCH…OWWW…sob…sniffle”

“Alright, Ricky…We are done…and no recess tomorrow, o.k.?” I spoke softly to a not-so-rough 9 year old who was certainly sorry he’d been paddled by me. I did feel a little sorry for Ricky at that moment and patted him lightly on the head to calm him before placing him outside and dealing with Lou.

Switching the two, I brought in a smirking Lou who asked Ricky,” Did it huuurrrt Rick?…Tell me…Tell me!”

I was totally incensed at hearing that and snapped,”You’ll find out in a moment!” Lou’s smirk vanished instantly on hearing that.

I repeated the process with Lou and after taking careful aim, swung the paddle just as with Ricky -Hard and brisk with a firm paddle grip but loose wrist.

SMACK “owwww”

SMACK “OWWW”

SMACK “OWWWWW…sob…sob”

I put a little more ‘pepper” in the last swat for Lou’s teasing of Ricky and the tougher of the “terrible two” was in real tears.

Being the tender heart that I really am, I lightly patted Lou and said,”Lou, I don’t enjoy this one bit…But if I see you or Ricky picking on or hurting other people or little animals, I promise…I WILL repeat what just occurred…Understand?”

Lou nodded and I took both boys to the classroom to await the rest of the class still at recess. Jean later told me that I handled the situation just as she would have. As to Ricky and Lou, I had no more major problems from these two or anyone else for that matter. It seems that word got around fast that a “new sheriff ” was in town or as I put it: A “take charge” teacher who paddles is back!

Well, at the end of the school year, Jean took early retirement and would be replaced by an ex-beauty queen and former Alabama cheerleader who all TWP readers know as Michelle. When I found out about the incoming “rookie,” I had compassion for her and was able to move Lou into Jenny’s 4th grade class for the next school year. But as all TWP readers know, Ricky did end up in Michelle’s class and ended up being the first student paddled by Michelle. (See post MICHELLE GIVES HER FIRST PADDLING)

Today, both Ricky and Lou are at the middle school where I will be as an intern assistant principal. (UH OH!) I have seen them on a few occasions because they both have younger siblings at the elementary school. They grin and wave to me and their other former teachers when visiting and of course we wave back. Bygones are bygones but their younger siblings are better behaved. I do wonder: Did those two put the word out about our “no nonsense” approach to discipline? If so, then so be it! In the end, maybe we at TWP can just do what we spent years and $$$ training to do: Teach!

 

YOUR FAQ’s

Why can’t I leave comments at any TWPpost instead of just the most recent?

We at TWP chose to do that to encourage readership of our newest posts. Rest assured, all of TWP’s posts can still be accessed by our archive system. And when commenting, if you have a question or point about an old post -Just mention the title and we will be glad to respond. Important: You MUST be NICE!

On a recent post, you mentioned that you were born in North Carolina. Are you teaching in that state now? Also, where are the teachers of TWP taking their graduate classes at?

For obvious reasons, TWP will not reveal our state or school district. Same as to the graduate school we attend (and carpool to). The graduate program is at a state university about an hour’s drive from our homes.

Will one of your duties as an intern assistant principal be to administer paddlings? Are your former 3rd grade students attending the middle school were you will be?

As an educator in our school district, I am authorized to use c.p. unless the principal decides otherwise. Since the principal has not said anything one way or other, I reckon my status as to c.p. will be as it was when I was a 3rd grade teacher. As to former students, I see them at community and school events on occasion and they all (Even the few I paddled) come up to me to say hello -And even hug! Because the middle school is the only one in our county, all my former pupils will be there unless their families moved.

What is TWP’s opinion of the use of c.p. in private schools? Should private schools be allowed to use c.p.?

We believe that private schools should be allowed to decide their own policies, including c.p. just as elected school boards should have the same right. However, just because you CAN do something does NOT mean you should. Unlike public schools which have system-hired attorneys and deeper financial resources, most private schools work on more limited $$$. So a lawsuit based on a paddling may cause “headaches” for a public school system but possibly bankrupt a private school. Because compulsory school attendance laws do not mandate a child’s right to attend a private school, we at TWP agree that expulsion is a better option . With public schools, the courts are less favorable towards both suspension and expulsion -Hence the use of c.p. in 21 states as another option.

Renee, are you the first in your family to graduate from college?

Actually, no. My dad went to college on the G.I. bill after serving a tour in Vietnam in the late 60s. He graduated with a degree in secondary education.My mom also graduated from college with a background in library science. They met in college and my three older brothers and I came later.

All of the teachers at TWP were in college sororities -Did any of you get paddled as pledges or paddle other pledges who were under you?

Take a long, cold shower, dude!

We all joined sororities for the camaraderie and life long friendships. I (Renee) was an assistant pledge master one year and my sorority never hazed from the time I pledged to the day I graduated. I say this to all young people planning to join any organization: No membership is worth physical abuse and any such organization that does is a “sinking ship” -Avoid such a group! That advice was given to me by my dad the day I left for college.

There is a corpun.com video clip that shows a lighthearted “Mickey Getting Paddled.” Do y’all at TWP give “birthday spankings” to your students?

🙄 Good grief! Frankly, I wish Colin Farrell had not put that clip on his web site but that is his prerogative. As to us -The answer is NO and we would NOT even if school policy allowed it. We really wonder how genuine this clip is because as students ourselves, we never saw anything like a “BIRTHDAY SPANKING” in school.

 

COMING NEXT: TWP’S ADVICE TO “STUDENT-TEACHERS”,

PROF. N COMMENTARY/TWP’S RESPONSE

&

TWP YEAR #1

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