«

»

The Mark of Failure

Open to the floor: did this teacher go too far?

A teacher in the southern Idaho town of Declo is being criticized after she had her fourth-grade students use permanent markers to draw on the faces of children who failed to meet reading goals.

Some parents and Cassia County School District leaders say the punishment given to nine students in Summer Larsen’s class was inappropriate and left the children feeling shamed.

Cindy Hurst told The Times-News that her 10-year-old son came home from school Nov. 5 with his entire face — including his eyelids — scribbled on with green, red and purple markers.

Something that has gotten missed in the discussion: the students chose this. The students were given an option to punish failure or reward successes. And then the were asked to choose the punishment. And then the students whose faces were written on chose to get the writing rather than miss recess.

I have a slightly different take on this than most people. The parents are having kittens about their kids’ fragile little egos being destroyed, even calling this “bullying”. But I put that little detail on how this happened for a reason: this is what happens when you let the inmates run the asylum. The students chose to do this and the students chose to undergo this. This is why you don’t let students run the classroom. You, the teacher, exercise your authority to figure out how students should be rewarded or punished for success or failure. Even if you give the students some liberty, you still have to be a safety valve on anything stupid or humiliating. I had a lot of teachers in elementary and high school who gave us leeway to select projects or term papers. But they always looked over our shoulders to make sure we weren’t wasting our time.

9 comments

No ping yet

  1. Thrill says:

    Yeah, but:

    The students were allowed to choose their own incentive to meet the reading goal, but instead of a reward, the class chose a punishment: Students who failed to meet the goal could either stay inside at recess until it was met, or have their faces written on by classmates who met the goals.

    Nine students didn’t meet the goals. Three of them chose to forgo recess, and the other six chose to have their faces marked on.

    Why didn’t they just not go to recess if this was going to be a problem for them? Little assholes. They went to recess and then complained about what they chose? Fuck ‘em.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      
  2. Poosh says:

    I almost flipped out Hal, lol until I read the bit when you said the pupils voted for this to happen. Teachers shouldn’t have the authority to allow this to become a punishment.. though I assume it’s framed around the same as “fun face painting” (?) maybe… Certainly an outrage though.

    This is why I’m not a libertarian btw. The school yard / environment is a prism for society – remember, many people “grow up” retaining the psychology of a child. I saw some absurd statement by some far-right anti-statist super-libertarian/ronpaul zealot saying “children don’t see race as an issue until they’re taught it in a state-school” I almost flipped out. Race was never mentioned – or the liberal agenda – was mentioned when I went to school. Children were automatically racist, and it had nothing to do with the school.

    I think this could have been bullying if there was not consent by the children, I think that point you mention makes all the difference.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      
  3. TxAg94 says:

    If nothing else maybe some will learn to be careful what you vote for…a lesson most adults, apparently, haven’t learned.

    Maybe we should have a national Draw-on-a-Moron’s Face Day.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

      
  4. Hal_10000 says:

    Maybe we should have a national Draw-on-a-Moron’s Face Day.

    When I am king, every day wil be National Draw-on-a-Moron’s Face Day.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      
  5. Thrill says:

    For the first offense, right? We may have to consider branding for some folks.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      
  6. Mississippi Yankee says:

    Maybe we should have a national Draw-on-a-Moron’s Face Day.

    Great idea

    When I am king, every day will be National Draw-on-a-Moron’s Face Day.

    Will I get to draw on your face Hal? And Gary Johnson’s face?

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

      
  7. Poosh says:

    And Gary Johnson’s face?

    heh

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      
  8. salinger says:

    Something that has gotten missed in the discussion: the students chose this. The students were given an option to punish failure or reward successes. And then the were asked to choose the punishment.

    Anyone who would leave discipline decisions in the hands of a fourth grader is incompetent. This teacher is an idiot. Christ, given the choice between being shot in the foot and missing recess you’d have kids opting for the bullet.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      
  9. Kimpost says:

    Children were automatically racist, and it had nothing to do with the school.

    I’m not disputing that children from school age, and even younger might show some forms of xenophobia, but are you suggesting that it’s genetic and therefore inevitable?

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      

Comments have been disabled.