Hit Me With Your Best Shot!

school_paddleSeventh grade at Paris Gibson Junior High School in Great Falls, Montana, 1966.  Compared to schools today, it was an alien world.

At Paris Gibson, all seventh grade boys were required to take wood shop class.  We actually didn’t do much in wood shop.  I think we sanded a stick of wood or something.  The wood shop was not there for teaching an employable skill.  No, the sole purpose for our wood shop – and our shop teacher – was to make paddles.

In the boys’ bathroom we exchanged rumors about which of the male teachers had the biggest, baddest custom paddle.  Mr. Anderson’s paddle has a three-foot long handle, like a baseball bat!  And Mr. Jones, the science teacher, had holes drilled in his paddle so there would be less air resistance and a faster swat.

I found myself on the receiving end of Mr. Jones’ paddle one afternoon.  Convicted of accepting a note during class from the girl in the seat behind me, I bravely marched to the principal’s office to receive my penance.  It didn’t surprise me that the girl who passed me the note didn’t get a swat.  In those days before women’s liberation there was a clear double standard.  But I was surprised and relieved to find that Old Jonesy’s paddle did not, in fact, have aerodynamic holes.

Just the same, it made a heck of a pop on my backside and cured me of any rule-bending intentions for the rest of the school year.

How times have changed.

Junior high teachers no long paddle the rear ends of miscreant boys.  They do, however, frequently engage in sex with them – here are a few hundred examples. 

Today’s teachers are not allowed to raise their voices.  Instead, they are required to ask how it made the aggressor feel when he hurt that other student’s feelings.  Then the school psychologist orders up another prescription for Ritalin.

Memorization of historical milestones, math drills, and epic literature are now old-school.  Today’s Common Core students engage in group-think, anti-bullying crusades, environmental activism, and support for gays and lesbians.  They learn that conflict and questioning authority are abnormal and will not be tolerated.  Competition is okay, but only on the football field (just one kid gets to be quarterback, but every student is on the honor roll.)  Ingesting and retaining facts no longer matters; what counts is how well you get along with others.  How compliant you are.  Everyone should be the same:  Dull.  Nice.  Helpless.

They grow up perfectly happy to “spread the wealth around.”  They refrain from being judgmental, because the only virtue is tolerance.  Pregnant junior high girls are held in high esteem for their bravery.  Christmas is now “Winter Holiday”.

Back at Paris Gibson Junior High, you could pretty much tell who was headed for success and leadership.  They were usually the ones in the principal’s office getting a swat.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

You come on with a come on, you don’t fight fair
But that’s O.K., see if I care!
Knock me down, it’s all in vain
I’ll get right back on my feet again!

Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar

Smokin’ Hot Pat Benatar Rockin’ It!

7 thoughts on “Hit Me With Your Best Shot!

    • An anonymous troll named “Douche Bag” (appropriate) takes me to task for criticizing our schools and especially Common Core. I’m not able to post his comments without editing. And I find it interesting why he reads my ramblings if he finds them so offensive. I don’t feel compelled to watch “Dancing With the Stars”. He doesn’t have to read my blog. Simple.

      Anyway, while I have studied Common Core first hand, with the teachers and administrators, in the schools, he has not (unless he is a teacher, which is a serious problem if true). He does, however, point to a pretty good article in National Review which points out some of the good intentions of Common Core, at the above link, many of which I support.

      The precious commodity in education is time. And when so much time is devoted to extracurriculars, social engineering, and political activism, there just isn’t enough time left for teaching. Many educators I have worked with fear that this is just “one more program” in a long list of failed programs. They want to be left alone to teach their students. I don’t blame the time and emphasis spent on fringe social issues on Common Core, Douche Bag. Separate issues.

      So, Douche Bag, thanks for watching, I guess. Sorry your underwear is in a knot.

  1. Mine was sixth grade, Fort Benton Elementary, when Mr. Tintinger gave me 4 swats for misbehaving in the bathroom. Fortunate for Mr. Tintinger that he moved to parts unknown between my sixth grade and my senior year of high school (or college for that matter) (and that I changed schools a few times in those years as well) as I intended to return the favor if we ever had the opportunity to meet in a nonschool setting. As for Common Core, since I am no longer in the class room, I don’t worry about it…but I cannot believe that not allowing teachers to bully students is such a bad thing. (Oh, I’m guessing that while I didn’t paddle any kids in school, I probably encouraged a few to use better behavior, and I imagine a few of them would like to return the favor to me.)

    • Interesting you mention bullying by teachers, Mike. There is an anti-bullying fervor in our schools these days, but we all have known teachers who were, and are, bullies themselves. And, in an odd way, sexual abuse of kids has got to be considered bullying, right?

  2. Regarding propaganda infested indoctrination centers, I doubt that students knew my political or religious persuasion, unless they attended the same church as I did. They would have known my favorite sports teams and other extraneous information about me, but I kept most of my personal views from the students. Sometimes being a strong union supporter and/or teacher made that difficult, but I thought personal views and public education shouldn’t intermingle in the school setting. I’m guessing not all teachers felt that way. Of course, for the first 20 years or so, I didn’t really have a political pesuasion, and it’s still difficult to pigeon-hole me into one distinct party. I’m not saying I don’t lean a little.

    • Readers: – Mike is a former teacher from rural Montana where many of my concerns about education do not apply. While I will always be a Montanan, I write mostly for a national audience, and believe me, schools in Chicago, Atlanta, New York and most other areas of the country do not resemble rural Montana schools. Mike, I believe, is typical of most rural Montana teachers – level-headed, mature, and always having students best interests at heart. The parents of these communities are involved in their schools and their values are reflected in their schools.

      I also think that Mike is one of many teachers who kind of rocks on the right side, although he is in a profession made up of mostly left-leaners. But he is careful to walk down the middle with his students.

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