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Home : 2004 : Jun : 2

    "Discipline isn't the enemy to enthusiasm"
    By Rickie

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    I've been teaching for 18 years. I have been the district's teacher of the year twice. I have been a mentor teacher for the last 5 years. When I started teaching, paddling was a permitable punishment. Today, it still works in my district. The parents in my community support me strongly. The parents and children know my expectation and procedures from the start.
    . Only experienced and designated grade level chair teachers are allowed to use this method. Now my mentor teacher always said a good teacher had control of a class before ever using a paddle. It was as backup to reinforce desired behavior in that classroom routine. Now, in the times that I have participated in the punishement, it was as a last restort. In most cases, it never gets that far. I can say to the students what I need to have happen, and most cases it happens. I don't believe in raising my voice.

    Now, I work in the intercity. Most of my students , at first grade, can strip a car in 6 seconds flat. Most teachers would be scared to step foot in my school let alone drive through it. I love being a teacher and I love my students. Most of my former students visit me at church on Sundays or enjoy stopping by for Sunday dinners. All that I have paddled at some time or another will say they deserve it. During these Sunday dinners, they will laugh about what they did and how I handle it -- Such as one child setting the trash can on fire.
    However, I should think that any merciful person would try to allow a child the chance to correct themself before using the paddle. I think what sickens me most is a teacher who has no control of their class and tries to use corporal punishment. True, some people should not be allowed to paddle , let alone be in a classroom with children.

    I am a firm believer that before children and adults, commit any act of wrong doing they have thought about it ( conscience), but they made their choice. Most chidren know when they've done wrong. Most children know when they 've been disciplined out of love rather than anger. Most children know when the adult is being fair.

    Harry Wong is right when he say we should take the eclectic approach to dealing with our students. However, I can not allow my students to prey on others and not intervene with a firm hand. Yes, we model the correct behavior. And when we have modeled, and there seems to be no change ,we still model for the student -- until enough becomes enough. True discipline do not strip children of their dignity. In some cases, sparing the rod does not necessarily spoil the child.
    No school district can judge a teacher's effectiveness by if he or she do or do not use corporal punishment as classroom management. I would not work in that district simply because my professional skills are put under judgement before being given a chance. They can either give you a chance or let you move on. The important thing to keep in mind is the children can not be productive citizens without a sound education. Also, the students can not learn in an environment that has no structure. There must be freedom to learn and make errors, and know that one can redeem themselves, but they must know the boundries of all errors. Paddling can be effective when used by an effective person.

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