Monday, March 06, 2006

A former colleague

visited my school today. Without giving too many details, she was basically my AP for the first two years I taught. Seeing her brought back many memories, some good, some bad. But here's something I hadn't thought about in a while: she had agreements with various kids' parents that if their children misbehaved, she could hit them (to save the parents the trouble, or as a prelude to what they'd get at home). I was in the office while some of these agreements were made. There is really nothing quite like being a first year teacher and having your AP march into your classroom, call out a kid's name, take him out into the hallway (or not), and cuff him in the head or across the back of his hand. Nothing.

This paragraph should be about how I blew the whistle on this. It's not. I'll spare you the excuses.


Blogger NYC Educator said...

That's not only unconscionable and idiotic--it's also illegal.

Your ex-AP belongs in prison. There she could meet scores of people who share her approach to education. She may even learn something.

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not think that teachers or administrators should hit any child. But if the child thinks you have the authority, that works wonders.

I don't think the agreements are a big deal. Let the child think you have the authority, just don't use it.

7:42 AM  
Blogger pseudostoops said...

This scenario, almost exactly, was a question during my TFA interview, purportedly because some corps members in the south had experienced something like it. It's clearly not just the South. I've seen it with the schools I work with in Chicago, too. And I haven't blown the whistle, either.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, my Dad granted my teachers the same exact permission. None took him up on it, but one did throw the loose part of a desk at me for talking one day (it didn't hit me).

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Schoolgal said...

It's amazes me how many administrators are still doing things like this. I always wondered how they managed to pass the screening process and become administrators (unless she knew someone).

Was she fired or reassigned to the region?

3:55 PM  
Anonymous the reflective teacher said...

I think, even as a first-year teacher, that I'd blow my whistle.

But your post is about your experiences and your actions, so I'm not going to tell you what to do (or what you should have done).

Our school recently had a guest speaker, and he talked about his experiences with the school admins and he said he was often "shown 'the board of education.'"

At this point in his lecture, he looked over to our principal. Our principal does not condone this type of behavior, and I have a feeling he was a little upset with the speaker.

These are things that do not (and should not) happen today, and I do not condone the fact they happened in the past, but I do recognize that they happened.

I would agree that being a first-year teacher is a frightening thing, and that one has no strength over an AP in that first year. Today, were I to hear about this behavior by an AP, I would report it.

You have excuses for the right reasons, Ms. Frizzle. At least you have those excuses and not an explanation.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Online Degree said...

ahhhh.... I hope this isn't something common!

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm more curious about an administrator who would accept the role of corporal punisher.

It's hardly news that teachers and adminstrators who possess self-control do lose that control once in a great while. But having an enforcer on the payroll, one who is supported by parents, speaks loudly about those parents as well as any administrator and administration that practices this form of behavior management.

On that note, I was told by a teacher friend of mine about a grade school in Manhattan where this practice is considered standard operating procedure. I can't say with any certainty if her claim is true or a semi-urban legend, but if I were to place a bet, I'd bet her story is true.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was wrong to strike up the deal and it is illegal so stupid on the AP's part.

However, I think the days of when you feared the paddle in school were much better off for it. These kids think they control everything now. And you know what? THEY DO!

12:59 PM  
Blogger la_teacher_301 said...

I know this is an old post, but I needed to put in my two cents. In North Carolina it is legal. If you have parental consent, and in some cases they must be present, it is legal to administor corporal punishment. My opinion echoes the views stated earlier, that knowing you have the authority but choose not to use it can go a long way. But classroom and school management done through fear I feel is inferior to management done through respect.

1:03 PM  

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