Friday, January 14, 2011

Flashback Friday - School Discipline

How strict were teachers when you were in school? What were common methods of discipline? No recess? Writing sentences? Being sent to the principal's office? Were "pops" or "swats" allowed? Did you ever get in "big" trouble at school? If so, what was it for and what happened to you? Were you ever suspended from school? If you got in trouble at school, what happened at home? Was school lunch a pretty relaxed environment or was discipline maintained in the cafeteria as well? If you are a teacher, what have you vowed never to do as a result of your experiences growing up?
Except for my fifth grade teacher, I don't remember the teachers of my school days being horribly strict, but that wasn't really necessary because kids respected authority and responded when corrected. It wasn't like some schools today where the kid defies a teacher and then the parents take little Johnny's side and criticize the teacher for accusing their little darling of misbehaving!

For the most part, I was well-behaved at school. I was too scared not to be! I was always dismayed whenever we had a substitute, especially in elementary school, because I knew the kids would misbehave and the whole class would have to write sentences the next day. I hated that punishment then, and I'm so glad that none of my kids' teachers ever inflicted it on them. I think it is utterly pointless. I also hate when the whole class is punished for the misdeeds of a few. Some teachers think that peer pressure will keep kids from misbehaving. I've found that the kids who are going to misbehave don't care how it impacts others, and the well-behaved kids are already suffering from the effects of the others' behavior and certainly don't need to be lumped into the discipline.

Can you tell I feel a bit strongly about this?! LOL

There were a few instances in elementary school when I got in trouble, and I usually died a thousand deaths in the process! In first grade, I remember having to stand in the corner while my best friend, who sat in front of me, stood in another corner. I was as perplexed then as I am now about what prompted it - I remember my friend started crying and turned around and accused me of telling her I wouldn't be her friend. After we stood in the corner, the teacher talked to us individually outside and I remember crying and not understanding why I was in trouble. I also remember telling my mom about it when I got home. I didn't get in trouble at home, fortunately. But the funniest thing I remember about it was telling my mom that my friend had to stand in the corner in the back of the room while I got to stand in the corner by the open door where it was cooler; that was in the days before the school had air conditioning. Somehow I seemed to think that vindicated me to get the "better" corner!

In second grade, a boy named Tommy Davis walked in and pointed and laughed behind his hand at another boy straddling his chair kinda funny while threading the filmstrip (remember those?!) projector. I turned and looked and laughed out loud - and the teacher sent me to stand outside in the hall. Of course, Tommy didn't get caught!

The incident that took a couple of years off of my life and absolutely scared me to death was in fourth grade. My friend (different friend from first grade) and I got caught passing notes. It makes me laugh now remembering how we thought we were being so sly to yawn and stretch at the same time, reaching across the aisle to swap the notes! I'm not sure why I was the only one punished, but I was sent outside to sit on the "slab" - a big rectangle of concrete where we played four-square and other games. She put me there becuase it was visible from the principal's office. I was sweating bullets sitting there - no telling how many prayers I prayed of repentance and begging God not to let the principal send for me or call my parents!

Then in sixth grade (which was still elementary school), the teacher sat at our table one day at lunch and then got up to go to the office for a minute leaving her stuff on the table. The cafeteria had been placed on total silence after being too noisy. One thing the teacher had been doing was counting the votes for our class president, and I was sitting next to her. The person across from me motioned for me to peek to see who won while the teacher was gone, and I shook my head "no." The cafeteria monitor saw me (and only me, of course!) and made me go stand by the wall. I was completely embarrassed and people were looking at me in surprise that I, the "good girl" was in trouble, and I was a bit aggravated that I had gotten in trouble for doing the right thing--and I hadn't even actually talked. The monitor eventually came over and talked to me and let me explain and accepted my explanation, but I was still pretty bummed.

I don't remember ever getting in trouble in junior high or high school; I guess I got all my "wild oats" sowed in elementary school!

I did have a sociology professor in college that scared me to death. He was actually a bit sadistic and mean. There were about 70 people in the class, and if anyone walked in late, he would stop lecturing and stare them down as they went to their seat and then ask their name and ridicule them. It was a 12:00 MWF class, I had another one right at 1:00, so I had to eat lunch early. The dorm cafeteria didn't even open until 11:15, and the class was on the other side of campus, about a 15 minute walk. I thought I was going to be sick that semester, standing in line, scarfing down my food, and practically running to class, but I managed to get there on time the whole semester!

Tell us all about your school discipline experiences and link up here!


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Lea @ CiCis Corner said...

Linda, This was such a fun entry and I so enjoyed the reflection. I'm not sure my recollections had as much "flair" as yours, but still brought me a lot of good memories.

A happy week-end to you and I always enjoy stopping by.

bekahcubed said...

Wow--all those elementary school issues seem pretty trivial and arbitrary. In trouble for laughing out loud or shaking your head no? Yikes!

I had a professor in college who would answer students cell phones for them if a ringer went off in class. It made for some interesting conversations as confused callers heard a little lecture on education and cell phone etiquette. People learned to turn their cell phones off before coming to class!

Rachel @ Finding Joy said...

It's interesting to me how discipline issues have changed over the years. I think back to when I was in school and the stuff that I could get in trouble for then seems like an eye wouldn't even be batted at now.

Great post -- very interesting to read and recollect!


bp said...

Fun memories!

Oh yes, the film projectors.

Kathy said...

It sounds like your elementary school was pretty strict, too!
I enjoyed reading your memories--and by the way, I don't approve of "group punishment" either!

Barbara H. said...

I absolutely agree about the whole class being punished for the "crimes" of a few. My sons' school would often take away privileges when a handful abused them, and it was hard not to join in the kids' cries of "Unfair!" I agree, the troublemakers were not at all bothered by the peer pressure.

I can't remember any specific instances of being wrongly accused, but there must have been some -- I remember that awful feeling.

I can remember the stress of trying to be everywhere I needed to be on time in college. I don't think I could handle it now! Especially a lunch situation like that!

Nel said...

Enjoyed your answers. Things sure are different now days. I really feel for the teachers. I don't remember any kids ever talking back to the teacher, the worst disrespect was making faces behind their back. Things have changed a lot! This was a fun post as always! Thanks!
until next time... nel

riTa Koch said...

Seems you were likely to be singled out. Are you tall, have red hair, stand out in any way? ;)
Maybe God was preparing you for suffering (unjustly) for Him.
Always enjoy your stories.

BTW, today, finally, the FF took me to the Friday post. Yesterday, no matter how many times or ways I tried, it never came up. Slow internet connection???

quilly said...

I would like to tell you I was a disgustingly well-behaved child in school, but the truth is, I rarely got caught misbehaving. I just can't think of any discipline stories worthy of sharing.

I do have a memory of getting in trouble in the cafeteria because the aid didn't like my posture and said I refused to sit up straight, so they refused to allow me to eat. I didn't know what they wanted me to do differently and thought I was sitting up straight.