Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I fell week before last up a flight of concrete stairs. I'm too old for this. My body hurts.

I went back and looked later because I couldn't imagine how I missed that first step and I

saw that there are pieces of rebar sticking out of the bottom step. I feel sure that is what I caught my foot on before I indecorously bit the dust.

Since then, I look at the steps with great trepidation. I feel suspicious.

What did I see today? I saw lots of butt. I'm so sick of saggers. I have to tell teenaged boys
to get dressed before they come into my building. I do not recall ever being told to pull my
pants up.

One kid had a really cool belt buckle that incorporated a flask. Uh, sorry, flasks are
not appropriate at school whether carried by students or faculty.

This year is odd. I've been cussed out about fifteen times so far. There are no consequences
for such bad behavior. I would have never thought to say even "damn" in front of a teacher
and I have to field "f bombs" in the hallways almost every day.

Yesterday I started teaching one point perspective in my lonely only art one class. I told
one angel that she needed to use her ruler and she screeches "I DID." I suggested that
she modulate her tone.

She looked at me and said "I talk how I talk" and I told her that she could not talk to me in
such a disrespectful manner in my classroom and she screeched some more.

I pointed her toward the hallway for further discussion and she was louder telling me that I
was "tripping" and that she hadn't said anything bad to me.

I tried to explain to this angel that her tone was unacceptable and disrespectful and she let
me know that she "talked how she talked"

I saw a woman of her same ethnicity walking down the hall. I thought she was another
teacher and thought perhaps she could get the message across to this child. The lady
was very nice and she asked the angel what the issue was and angel screeched "This
lady be tripping." I explained that angel's tone came across in a disrespectful manner
and the lady explained to her about respect and how tone could be seen as antagonistic
and rude. The child rolled her eyes and looked at the ceiling. The nice lady explained that
she was a parent from our school and that she tried to teach her children that being
respectful was important. Angel's body language is disrespectful.

I didn't realize that the nice lady was a parent. I thought she was a teacher, but she
said everything to this angel that I wanted her to. I shooed my angel back into the
classroom and the mom looked at me, looked at the departing student and then shook her
head. I thanked her for her input.

It's sad. In the olden ancient days, students didn't talk back to teachers. They sure didn't
cuss them out. There used to be consequences.

Not anymore. Some years ago, they took away the paddle. I recall at O'Banion Junior High
that an assistant principal would show up in the doorway and call someone out. There would
be the sound of three "whacks" on the offending backside. One could hear a pin drop the
length of the hallway.

. . . . . .

When I was finishing school I got a phone call from my son's principal. I was about to go
into finals in Denton some fifty miles away. The principal told me that my son had flooded
the downstairs boys' bathroom and that she had to suspend him since he refused paddling.
I needed to come pick him up.

I got up to the school and she told me that he was waiting in the auditorium. I asked her if
he got paddled if he could go back to class and she said yes. I told her "I'll hold him while
you whack him."

He got whacked and was sent back to class. He didn't get five days off to watch TV
unattended while I was finishing school some fifty miles away.

Why would we reward our children for bad behavior? I figured getting whacked on the
fanny was appropriate. He got what he deserved and had to go back to class. He did not
want to repeat the offending behavior.

I think if the sound of the paddle resounding through the hallway was heard today it would
be a deterrent.

At some point, parents started to sue for paddling. That's why it doesn't happen anymore.

I do not believe in abusing children. I do believe in setting limits for them. I teach at the
largest high school in Texas. Many of our children do not have good home training.
If the parents don't want the schools to paddle their children for foul behavior, then they
need to do a better job at home.

Teachers are not paid enough to be reviled with bad language and disrespect.

I'm tired of seeing boys' underwear. The rule is that they wear their pants at the waist
with their shirts tucked in. I could care less if they wear their shirts like dresses (I do NOT
want to see their underwear) but I can't enforce the rules if I don't get the support of
my administration. Admin picks on teachers for not preaching the rules, but they don't back
us up when we do.

It's a Catch 22.

I try to do the job I am assigned. I'm just annoyed that the folks that dictate to me don't
do theirs. Damn.