9. INTRODUCING A “ROOKIE” TEACHER TO THE PADDLE & YOUR FAQ’S

Dear Readers: The following took place a couple of years ago between Jenny, Wendy, myself, and a nervous new hire named Michelle, who is our youngest teacher-contributor. Briefly, I (Renee) can be described as risk taking, adventuresome red head (but mild tempered) while Jenny is our brainiac brunette and Wendy (Auburn-blonde-of course!) is the more reserved silent type. Added to our trio two years ago was Michelle, a sweet voiced blonde (Think “Jessica Simpson”)from U. of Alabama- a natural fit with Jenny and Wendy from Auburn! Michelle really is as nice of a person as you will ever meet and has a beautiful personality as well as her outward looks. However, the three of us understood that Michelle’s beauty would not get her past the first few weeks- We are teachers and authority figures and, make no mistake, “cuteness” is NOT an asset for a classroom teacher. So, after the in-service meeting before the start of the new school year, we four had a meeting in the janitorial storage room betwwen the four of us.

MICHELLE: Why are we meeting in here? This is not a classroom.

Wendy: I know dear but we need to work on something that Mr. Smith just touched on a little while ago… the use of the paddle in classroom discipline.

Michelle: I don’t know about y’all , but I am not using a paddle to…

Renee (me): Michelle dear, none of us likes or wants to use a paddle but after all the other options, including phone conferences with the parents, what is the next option? Sending the student to Mr. Smith? That will result in a suspension-Too many of those will reflect adversely on you!

Jenny: Remember what Mr.Smith said about taking charge of our own classrooms and not calling on him to be the “policeman” of the school?

Michelle: I know… but I can’t bear the thought of “beating” a kid for misbehaving. (In college, she heard all the anti-c.p. rhetoric in her education methodology classes!)

Renee (me): Listen to me, Michelle- You are not the first teacher to feel that way…I did too…But there was another teacher hired back when I was hired. She just flat out stated “I refuse to paddle students and will use all the other options instead.” Well, she set out doing that and when the other options eventually failed with a few kids, there was nothing left except “blowing her stack” and calling the office when she lost control altogether. It got to the point that she was calling the office and sending students to the office on a daily and even a hourly basis. The other teachers and Mr.Smith all tried to help her but she just lost control of her classroom and never got it back. Six weeks into the school year, Mr. Smith had to terminate her contract when he received too many complaints from the board and parents. Last I heard, she is out of teaching and is working as an insurance salesperson. After four years of college, do you want to sell insurance on commission?

Michelle: I understand what you are saying but I still hate the idea of…

Wendy: We do too…but we also have a job to do and part of that is control of the classroom.

Jenny: You may not ever need to paddle but I found out that it can deter the worst behavior of some students. Give me those large paint paddles, Wendy- from your “money pit” house project. (Wendy and her husband were trying to remodel a 100 year old house) They are so light and thin separately but stack them together with super glue and you have a very stingy 16″ paddle that is still light and will not break or bruise.

Michelle: it certainly is light but what that little drill for? Holes?

Renee (me): No- not what you think… just one hole for the handle. Jenny, hand me that drill. (Drilling) There! A hole so you can hang your new paddle on the wall…at no extra charge! (We all laughed)

Michelle: Thanks, but I think I’ll just keep it in my desk drawer.

Jenny: Whatever- but be sure to impress on the kids that you are no different than any other teacher…and that, if all else fails, there is the paddle. Let me have those clamps, Wendy…There- now leave them on overnight and your paddle will be ready by tomorrow.

Michelle:(Slapping paddle on her left hand palm) Ouch! It is stingy!

Jenny: (Giggling) Now Michelle…if you ever use it…apply to the lower seat of the pants! (We all laughed)

Renee (me) Alright y’all, lets leave it on this shelf overnight…Michelle-we better be on our way…following you if we want to make it to that aerobics class you recruited us to.

We then all left the school following Michelle, a truly reluctant paddler if I ever saw one, to her real favorite pastime- High impact aerobics. That first year was not easy for her but she made it. She only paddled one student in her 4th grade class and I witnessed it. Looking back, I think she took it worse than he did! I actually had to console her after sending Ricky back to class-He was sorrowful but the paddling (3 swats) was not hard. A more in-depth blog will recall Michelle’s first paddling- in the near future.

YOUR FAQ’s

What is the target audience of your blog? Elementary teachers? Teachers at large? American or worldwide?

The first thing to understand is the more limited scope of a blog like ours compared to a web site such as World Corporal Punishment Research. (See Blogroll for links) To compare the two would be like a mom-and-pop shop to the Wal Mart Corporation. We at TWP only have so much time to dedicate to this project and the scope of the latter is worldwide which is beyond our means. So, we set out to target the U.S. teachers first, with our perspective on c.p., and then the general internet audience. As to our elementary background-Of course that has an effect on our perspective, but not as much as one might think. Two of our contributors have connections to secondary education- one whose father is a high school coach in a nearby county and the other is married to a high school teacher. So while our own training is in elementary education, we do have some perspectives on secondary education as well.

With compulsory attendance laws already in place, why do you support the idea of hitting students?

For the record, please refer to the MISSION STATEMENT blog: We at TWP are neither “old school” nor “social anarchistic” in our philosophy. Rather, as a middle-of-the-road blog, we seek to be fair and balanced in our approach to a very difficult issue. As to compulsory education- that is one of three pillars supporting the entire education system in the U.S. today. The other pillars are “right to a universal free public education” and “teacher as authority figure” also known as in loco parentis. The first, compulsory education, actually predates the right to education and creates a captive audience in the classroom. In the last thirty years, the U.S. courts and the Congress have created the “right to an education” and courts have upheld “teacher authority” as to corporal punishment in Ingraham v. Wright .(1977) We believe that all three pillars have their place and if one is removed, the others will fail. A future blog will discuss the law of unintended consequences as to the loss of any of these three pillars.

How do you make a distinction between an abusive paddling and an appropriate one?

First, we encourage our readers to review IMPLEMENTS and TECHNIQUES which sets a foundation for answering this question. In addition, there is the immediate effect and the longer term considerations. The immediate effect should be a sharp sting that subsides almost as soon as student is returned to the classroom. This is the most important principle of our blog: The paddling must be limited to short and temporal physical pain (a shock) and a longer psychological effect (getting their attention and changing behavior). Where TWP differs with “old school” pro-paddlers is that the paddling must NOT have longer term residual effects- physical or psychological. For the physical (only a small part), there must be absolutely NO bruising or marks of any kind. This is why we only endorse lighter and thinner paddles. A good rule of thumb is: If child is paddled at 10:00 a.m., then if parent comes to the school at 3:00 p.m. and visually checks for bruising- there should be NO BRUISING FOUND other than a little pinkness- at the most. We at TWP call this the 10-3 rule. As to psychological effects- keep in mind that, as teachers, we still have to educate the child for the rest of the day and school year. So the second principle is that the teacher must reassure the child that he/she is not their enemy and that he/she hated to paddle them as much as they did receiving it. Another must is repeating the reason why the paddling occurred in a calm, reasoned voice. This applies to before carrying out a paddling as well as after: As the authority figure, the teacher must be in control of their temper at all times- ANGER IS NEVER ACCEPTABLE! Sometimes, it may be best to talk to the child later in the day when both sides have cooled off. You readers would be amazed how a few words make a HUGE difference to a child like “Lets put this behind us” or “No hard feeling,o.k….Lets make a fresh start…” (I prefer this one- Michelle was the originator)I have never observed any child that I have paddled to have negative resentment towards me or any other teacher after I have reassured them.

COMING NEXT: MICHELLE GIVES HER FIRST PADDLING

and

THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF A NATIONAL C.P. BAN

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