Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Public Flogging

I’m the first to admit that I fly off the handle quickly, but do not always stick with the punishment that I set. I’m terrible at “punishing.” Mostly because I don’t like it. I don’t like to spank and I usually freak out enough that further punishment is not necessary. What I hate more than anything though, is the use of public humiliation as a form of punishment. Without even giving much thought, I can think of three instances in my life where I was publicly humiliated for doing something wrong:

  1. In 8th grade, I yawned in the face of my teacher without covering my mouth. It was rude, I was a polite kid, I don’t know why I did it. She screamed bloody murder at me. To this day, I’m a very polite yawner.
  2. I worked at a supermarket for a short time and made the grave mistake of giving an elderly woman two grocery bags, so she could be balanced. The owner of the supermarket screamed at me in the front end of the supermarket. I walked out that day and never went back.
  3. Another boss one time screamed down the hallway at me, “What are you, STUPID?”
These are very vivid memories, still painful after all these years. There’s a right way and wrong way to take someone to task. Those three examples are just WRONG.

Today I picked Sugar up from school and she tells me a long, rambling story about how she got in trouble at school and her teacher ripped up her homework, and the homework of eight others, in front of the entire class. At first, with Sugar’s constantly changing story, I was pissed at her for lying to me. Her story did not make any sense, especially because I had checked the homework the night before and it looked fine to me.

There was an event at school tonight and another parent approached me about the incident. Her child’s homework was also ripped up, but she was friendly with another mother whose child is in the class but not one of the nine that got into trouble. She called this other parent and found out that the teachers behavior bothered the entire class.  

Now that I had a bit more information, I got the straight story out of Sugar. Turns out, she misunderstood the second part of the assignment. She *thought* she did it right, but was wrong. The attempt was there, at the very least.

So now I’m pissed. This teacher humiliated my child (and others) in front of the entire class. Kids went home and cried about the incident. On so many levels, that just isn’t right. Of course, homework should be done completely and accurately, but is this really a way to teach a fourth grade class that they really need to get it right the first time?

Do I send in a note? Do I talk to the teacher? Do I chalk it up to the teacher just having a bad day? I’m at a loss.

Excuse me while I peruse the Mother’s Handbook that was given to me when my children were born. I’m sure there’s an answer in there somewhere.

Ice Princess

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