Ye Olde School of Hard Knocks

Meg (my 4th grader) brought home a sheet for social studies all about being a kid in colonial times.

One of the sections was about discipline in the schools.

Here are some of the ways teachers disciplined the kids, way back when. If a child talked too much they would strap a whispering stick in his mouth so you he couldn't talk, or they would clip their noses shut with pinchers. They hung signs around students' necks that said "crybaby" or "lazy." They also made children wear dunce hats.

We were cracking up reading this!

I remember in junior high our Principal had a paddle in his office that he would use on students. We actually had a corporal punishment permission slip sent home to our parents. If they signed it, then our teachers had permission to use physical force to keep us in line.

Fast forward to 2009, things are so politically correct!! I think it would be fun to do a "Colonial Times Day" at school. We could bring in some stockades and yardsticks and instill some old fashioned respect in our kids. Okay, calm down, I'm KIDDING don't you go calling DYFS on me.

But seriously, thank goodness we've moved beyond those days. So far beyond, in fact, that teachers are almost afraid to punish children. My father taught in a public high school and parents would freak out on him if he wanted to penalize their children for not doing their homework. The pendulum has swung in the complete opposite direction from 200 years ago. It seems that the teachers are on trial more than out of control students.

My children are very well behaved in school, but if they ever start acting out I want their teachers to have the authority to discipline them (not physically, of course ) and I want to hear about it. If parents aren't teaching their children how to behave and to complete their assignments they shouldn't complain when the teachers come down on them. They're just doing their job.

What do you think?


jenn said...

I don't feel that teachers should be able to physically punish a child, but there should definitely be consequences to inappropriate action. I was lucky, when I taught high school, to have both supportive parents and a strong school policy. Kids that gave me any serious trouble were sent off immediately to a Time-Out room, so I was able to teach uninterrupted. That said, I feel that the standards for behavior should be laid at home. My kids know that they would be in much worse trouble at home (again, still not physical - just removal of much-prized privileges, etc.) than they would be with the teachers. Luckily, it's never been an issue yet!

Frau said...

I remember living in Indiana back in the day and each classroom hung a paddle scared the crap out of me I never said a peep. I think teachers should use appropiate consequences to the child actions. In Germany there is no disapline for children. The young kids at my daughter school are a bunch of wild monkeys.

Steph said...

I can remember, and we are talking a 30+ years ago, my 2nd grade teacher smacking our hands with a ruler if we misbehaved and this was a public school. In junior high I can remember kids being sent to the principals office for discipline with a paddle that had little holes drilled all through out the wood!
I hate to say it but when the students could be disciplined there seemed to be much better behavior!

Mrs. K said...

I went to a catholic school run by 'old school' nuns...does that say it all for you in terms of how i feel teachers should do in school to those kids who are problematic?

brown eyed girl said...

My parents spanked me, I ran my mouth, did things I shouldn't have done, pissed them off, and they spanked me. It's not DCF/DYFS material, it's discipline, I think. I plan on spanking my kids if they have misbehaved, I think the notion of discipline needs to make a comeback. Too many kids think they're entitled to things and too many kids act out and the teachers are reprimanded for disciplining the students and taking away priveleges. That's what teachers should do, I don't agree with corporal punishment, but it's getting out of control nowadays IMHO!

Mrs. D said...

I work in an elementary school and there are some cases where I think, "gee, this kid needs paddled". Not often, but there are some that deserve it. The worst thing is that the kids KNOW we can't really do anything but take away recess time and so they don't care. Of course, there are some kids that missing part of their recess CRUSHES them, but the problem kids don't give a rat's ass. And I had to laugh about the dunce cap. My husband, who went to a Catholic school in the late 70's and 80's had to wear one in 1st or 2nd grade for throwing a rock at another boy at recess. I die laughing everytime I think about it.

Anonymous said...

This is such a hot button issue on so many levels. I am a teacher and there are many instances where I feel like there needs to be sterner punishment for students but we are relegated to what are and are not allowed to do. Parents have a lot more power than they once did and I'm not so sure it benefits the kids completely. I can remember my parents almost never believing me when I came home and said a teacher didn't like me and that's why I was getting a certain grade. And sometimes the teacher really didn't like me but more often than not it was because I had failed a test or not done my homework. Now, there's often no question- the teacher is at fault. I feel there is a lot less accountability on the kids' part nowadays.

Preppy 101 said...

I just retired from teaching high school for 33 years! I could talk about this for days on end. You would be surprised at the things I taught children - social skills, manners, respect - many things that had nothing to do with my content area. Of course, we wanted parents to support us. But many don't. So you just figure out what's best for the child in the long run, try to still teach them responsibility even though mom and dad don't, and go on about doing the best job you can do! {and I didn't waste my energy belaboring all the difficulties of teaching in today's society; I think this is why I lasted 30+ years and left still loving my job}

Jaina said...

Teachers should be able to penalize students for things like not doing their homework. I think that it's a good thing that physical punishment is no longer allowed.

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