Saturday, July 19, 2008

The effects of discipline

I was thinking and remembered my first week out of university. I had attended my new school, an independent all girls school in the outer suburbs (a far cry from my current school). The principal had made an edict that all students were to wear their boaters (straw hats). For the first four days we were to warn students that boaters were to be worn at all times. On the fifth day we were to give detentions to any student not in a boater.

Now on the fifth day I had two yard duties, one at recess and one at lunch. During those two lunches I gave out 57 detentions including one to the head girl. Needless to say I wasn't the most popular new teacher at the school. It was/is the most detentions ever given out in one day.

I thought I was really in for it with the students and I had a really bad time with one of my year 12 classes soon after.

The funny thing was, I wasn't the only teacher on duty yet the only one that gave out more than a few detentions. The majority of students receiving detentions were popular students and mostly in the upper years. They were indignant that they were getting detention. Later I was to learn that a number of different students had welcomed the "black and white" approach to the school rules and were sick of the popular clique getting away with rule breaking.

Luckily for me, for the most part, it blew over. The question remains though, if I was placed in a similar situation would I still give the 50 odd detentions?

Am I still the idealistic student teacher that blindly follows administration edicts to the letter? Probably.. but now I know to do it with a smile :-)

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