Friday, May 18, 2007

Punish Them All

I’m not sure if what we are experiencing here in my corner of the world is common, or just a local phenomenon, but it seems that public schools here have settled on a strategy to handle trouble-makers by penalizing everyone in sight.

A few recent examples:

- My 8 year old’s class lost recess because one punk kid was talking too much in class.

- Same daughter had a recent fun-day during PE trashed by the teacher because two boys were acting up. They spent the entire period walking laps around the gym in silence.

- 8th grade 2-day trip to Six Flags was canceled because someone vandalized the charter bus the night before the trip.

It goes on and on. Seems our teachers here have all got together and decided on this new strategy thinking somehow that peer-pressure, social responsibility, team dynamics and other high-minded ideals will somehow compel young kids to hold each other accountable for the common good and suddenly respond to these tactics by materializing good behavior and respect for teachers and each other.

This is insane. While the majority of kids are growing up in homes where good behavior is required and respect for teachers and other authority figures are taught, there are some that are growing up in horrible home enviroments and are crying out for help and attention. The teachers stupid tactics will do nothing to address the root problem.

I have an idea. Recently in our county (like last week) a teacher was arrested for having an inappropriate relationship with a student. How might we respond? Seems like the silly police department and justice system wants to come down hard on just this one teacher.

Why not really make a statement? Let’s penalize ALL teachers in our county by rolling-back any raises they got in the last couple years, freezing pay raises through 2010 and making them come to school throughout this upcoming summer?

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Liza on Maui said...

That last line made me smile :)

yes, this kind of discipline is insane and harmful. Like what my favorite speaker Rick Lavoie illustrated, this is like telling the other kids "when you go out of the class, would you beat up "johnny" because because of him, you've lost your recess. Now everyone hates "johnny".

It's good to do the reverse, when one person in class does an excellent job, they whole class gets rewarded. The dynamics of teh class will soar and teamwork will flourish.

Are there any teachers readign this post? I hope so (sigh!)