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Viola Swamp and Corporal Punishment Before I became a visiting teacher, I never explored literature for children. Of course, I’ve read books for children as a child, however, after I became a pre-teen, books speciﬁcally for children ages 9 to 11 was no longer of my interest. I am not a parent, so children's books were not part of my life. When I became a visiting teacher in 2002, my ﬁrst assignment was at a public school on 10th avenue in Manhattan. The class that I was assigned to teach was a wonderful kindergarten class. In the classroom there were big soft covered books for the entire class to read; for example, choral reading and I would read out loud while I would point at each word with a pointer and the children could look at the illustrations. Some visiting teachers would rather not teach young children, but I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the book “Miss Nelson is Missing” because it told a tale about a strict substitute teacher and I was a strict substitute teacher. However, years later, I found how that book discredited full-time and substitute teachers (at that time, I called myself a “sub”). In that particular school, the children were adorable, fun, and respected their teacher: Ms. Robinson. I loved to read aloud, because it brought out the sleeping actor in me. I loved giving the characters in the books speciﬁc voices. I love to make children laugh. Sometimes I would pick them up and spin them around. As the years and grades marched on, I taught students in grades 1, 2, and 3 in various schools. I was well-liked by the principals, respected by the students, and the reception from the other teachers at the schools where I taught was satisfactory. I was either liked, tolerated, or passed by, but I had not yet experienced the harsh and unfair treatment as a visiting teacher that would eventually occur. I had to take a two to three year leave from the New York City Department of Education and I enrolled in graduate school for education. I ﬁrst enrolled at Bank Street College and then I transferred to Touro College to get a dual M.S. in General and Special Education. The New York City Department of Education stated that visiting teachers must have 24 credits of education in order to keep their substitute teaching license. So, I left for a few years and worked for T-Mobile and a securities ﬁrm and then returned to the New York City Department of Education after accumulating the 24 credits and continued my program until graduation day. What I returned to work as a visiting teacher, my assignment was at the same school that I had taught summer school ﬁve years prior. It was a school in Spanish Harlem. However, the school is now specialized, which means it is a school that included children with disabilities in a general education environment. You would call this school the least restrictive environment. The principal, a female, seemed to be a nice woman. Her assistant seemed like she liked me and my teaching style and the secretary or aide was a pleasant person. I felt that I was in good company and there was a bit of camaraderie among us. The principal mentioned that she was a Scorpio. I said I was also a Scorpio and her assistant said that she was a Taurus. So, now the principal and I are sister Scorpios and all was right with the world and the school. Not! I had a ﬁfth grade class, which, if I can remember, were all boys. The ages were from 9 to 11 years old and some, if not all, had emotional disabilities. I was assigned two para-professionals; one I liked and trusted, the other I was very leery of, but I didn't have any realistic suspicions, I just had a feeling something was up with that woman. Some of the boys were in therapy and took meds, which were administered on site by a registered nurse. There was a crisis teacher who if I had problems, I would call him to take one or two of the kids out of the classroom. When you have students with disabilities, you're teaching methods are in accommodation to the disability of the student. Rewards became necessary for the students in order for them to do their work and act appropriately in the classroom. I usually don't like to give the extrinsic rewards because I believe whether you are a student with disabilities or general education students, I should not have to bribe a student to do his or her work. For example, if a student wants to do certain things, I’d say “Look John if you want to do etcetera, you're going to have to do your work.” And there are teachers that have goody bags with stars, pencils, stickers, cookies or chips. There will be talk about getting a pizza party at the end the week. I'm not totally in favor of this. I'm not in favor of the using extrinsic rewards to get academic results. I believe that extrinsic rewards are the birth of empowerment of the students and it's also the birth of the disempowerment of the teacher in the classroom. Students become very manipulative. Extrinsic rewards become Pavlovian and when the teacher says that a treat will be given, if the child does his or her work, he or she will expect this reward every time. What happens when there is no treat or reward or the teacher ﬁnally gets the hint that they are “being played” and refuses to make any promises for good behavior? HAVOC! However, when you have a child that's in a District 75 school, with a disability of being high risk or have emotional difﬁculties, you may ﬁnd that extrinsic rewards may be a good class management tool. I still ﬁnd it debatable. As I mentioned before, The principal was pleased with the way I managed my classroom. These boys were no joke, and there were many incidences of deﬁance, cursing, throwing things, throwing a chair, trying to tip over desks, physical altercations among the boys in the class and also physical altercations with students from other classrooms. I cannot recall if the paraprofessionals were effective in helping maintain the peace in the classroom, so I'll just say that their performance was mediocre. You know the old saying, ”you're only as good as your last movie or your last book?" Well, for a visiting teacher, you are only as good as you are until you're told you’re no good and usually the evaluation is initiated by the student and honored by the principal. On a Friday afternoon, around 2:15 PM, I was preparing to “wrap it up” and get ready for dismissal. Some of the boys were running around the classroom, not paying attention to me at all. I was telling them to stop fooling around and let's get a move on. The paraprofessionals were doing what they usually do, which was not making a dent in rounding up the students. My yelling was the only form of class management that I had available at that time and I was getting irritated. I had to get the students downstairs for the buses and to their parents. Some of the boys followed instructions and the rest were still being disruptive. One of the boys grabbed a book from another boy. This action was about to start a ﬁght. So, I ran after the boy who had the book and the boy decided that he would crawl underneath my desk with the book. I bent down and asked the boy to give me the book. He refused. I grabbed the book and he pulled it from me and then I pulled it and this began the tug of war. Another student watching from behind the student underneath the desk said, “She's hitting him in the head, she's hitting him in the head!" The paraprofessionals were shouting "Ms. Robinson, Ms. Robinson, Ms. Robinson, stop!” Finally, I managed to get the book out of the boy’s hand. He climbs from underneath the desk and shouting expletives at me. I said to him’" Oh, now you're crying, before this you're running around the classroom, not paying attention to me at all. You were fooling around and acting as if this was a game." He told me to suck his dick and then I said "you're saying this and you’re crying, you’re saying these things to me"? One of the paraprofessional leads this crocodile out of the classroom and takes him, I don't know, somewhere. Finally, the students got themselves in order, the show was over for Friday. They lined up in for dismissal and I recall that the other paraprofessional went downstairs with me and the children. The weekend came and left and I was off on Monday. I decided to check SubCentral’s site to see what jobs were available for Tuesday. I logged on, but I couldn’t get through. I logged on again and still couldn't get through. This was getting monotonous, so I decided to call SubCentral. I reached some monotoned bored-out-of-his-mind clerk and asked him about my login. He put me on hold. When he came back on the line, he said that I was suspended. I was shocked, to say the least, I was paralyzed. I asked him why was I suspended. Mr. Monotone said "you'll get a letter in the mail explaining the charges and when you're supposed to come to 65 Court Street.. “Suspended” in the NYCDOE means a visiting teacher cannot work in any borough of New York City, you have to turn in your badge and of course, you are suspended without pay. Usually, If I'm not in correct, if you're a full-time teacher you can be suspended and possibly get paid. Or a full-time teacher can be suspended and be assigned administrative work. I don't really know what decisions are for a full-time teacher being suspended. I do know that as a substitute teacher, or should I say visiting teacher, can't work anymore in any capacity. I was suspended and didn't do anything to merit this type punishment. I later found out I was guilty of corporal punishment. I couldn't believe it. I called my friends and told them what happened. I really felt like I was losing my mind. You know, a principal can hire you and like your style and the next minute, he or she is putting you on the grill to burn. First, you’re this wonderful teacher and then you are Viola Swamp. I'll be talking about Ms. Swamp in Part 4 next week and I'll be ﬁnishing up about what happened to me at the two hearings; one was held at the school with the Principal and the other hearing at 65 Court Street. The horrible thing is that a teacher is always guilty before she or he can explain their side of the story. I'll talk to you about hearings and the results and I'll also talk about the book “Ms.Nelson is Missing”, which may be a funny book, but it really discredits the position of substitute teachers. This book and other stereotypical information made me decide that I did not want to carry the title of “substitute teacher” anymore. I am a visiting teacher. There are a few more days left to breath before dry markers, attendance, lesson plans, parents and, of course the students. I will be writing in two weeks, continuing this horror story. Enjoy Labor Day and here we go again! nagement that I had available at that time and I was getting irritated. I had to get the students downstairs for the buses and to their parents. Some of the boys followed instructions and the rest were still being disruptive. One of the boys grabbed a book from another boy. This action was about to start a ﬁght. So, I ran after the boy who had the book and the boy decided that he would crawl underneath my desk with the book. I bent down and asked the boy to give me the book. He refused. I grabbed the book and he pulled it from me and then I pulled it and this began the tug of war. Another student watching from behind the student underneath the desk said, “She's hitting him in the head, she's hitting him in the head!" The paraprofessionals were shouting "Ms. Robinson, Ms. Robinson, Ms. Robinson, stop!” Finally, I managed to get the book out of the boy’s hand. He climbs from underneath the desk and shouting expletives at me. I said to him’" Oh, now you're crying, before this you're running around the classroom, not paying attention to me at all. You were fooling around and acting as if this was a game." He told me to suck his dick and then I said "you're saying this and you’re crying, you’re saying these things to me"? One of the paraprofessional leads this crocodile out of the classroom and takes him, I don't know, somewhere. Finally, the students got themselves in order, the show was over for Friday. They lined up in for dismissal and I recall that the other pa