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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wheel of Misfortune

Wheel of Misfortune

A cranky opinion for


The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with little or no expertise on the topic opined.  Other opinions are welcome, they will be ignored, but they are welcome and please, no name calling.  That means you, you big stupid head!

A Washington State teacher was recently disciplined for bullying her students.  She also has to attend “sensitivity training.”

Sensitivity Training always sounds to me like “learning to think the way we damn well tell you to think.”  Anyway, that’s just me.

Here is what this horrible teacher did.  When a student misbehaved, chewed gum, talked out of order, texted or other such minor classroom stuff, they had the choice of lunch detention, or to spin the “Wheel of Misfortune.”

The news article where I read about this monster did not elaborate all the punishment items on the Wheel, but the one that caused the stir was a student was made to stand by a wall while everyone bombarded her with Koosh balls.  Oh the Humanity!

Apparently in this case the student claimed she did not know she had a choice, and she was humiliated and embarrassed by the punishment. 

Parents were in an uproar.

Have you ever been hit by a koosh ball?  It is kind of like having a soap bubble pop on your nose.

Well the Wheel of Misfortune is no more, and this teacher is being conditioned to be more sensitive.  I suspect part of the conditioning is to remove all sense of humor.  If the teacher has any thoughts of creative thinking, they will be erased,
“You will do as you are told, you will be boring, you will not have fun in your class!”

If I was still in school, I think the Wheel of Misfortune would have been a terrific change from the old fashioned hard ass disciplinarians we grew to dislike so much. 

This teacher sounds like a fun person.  School should be fun once and awhile.  School shouldn’t always be boring.  Too bad, some people don’t like different, to them  school needs to be boring and painful. 

School used to put me to sleep.  I would have responded positively to a teacher who had the imagination and creativity to discipline with the Wheel of Misfortune.  But we can’t have that.  We need teachers to march in lock step.  We need students that are herded like sheep.

Anyone who disagrees, anyone who wants to try different things, anyone who wants to keep students on their toes and to maybe actually enjoy class…well we need to send them for sensitivity training.

The Zombie Apocalypse is coming.  Sensitivity training for those who have a little creativity and a sense of fun is the first step.

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.


  1. we've become so uptight and stupid... :)

  2. Somebody's become uptight and stupid.
    Don't include me in that group.

  3. I can remember getting clobbered with the ruler across my knuckles. Ouch. You sure didn't run home and say anything to your parents or you'd get worse. It's a shame how things have changed. Those in authority are now the bad guys and the snotty nosed little hellions are in charge.

    Have a fabulous day Joe. ☺

  4. Here's a link to a newspaper that printed an article about the incident. I suggest you folks read it and form your own opinions. It includes comments from the student who was in front of the classroom.

  5. Times and sensibilities have changed.

  6. Ah, yes, gone are the days when your parents knew before you got home, and agreed with the teacher.

  7. I read the article and I'm still scratching my head. I can't see it as bullying. I see it as a creative and playful. Don't get me wrong, I was a fierce mother bear if I felt my kids were truly wronged in any way. But it seems to me that this is a painless, fun way for the student to deal with something she shouldn't have been doing in the first place. It would be very different if it was tennis balls. It would be very different if it was eggs. It was foam balls.

    Plus.. if the student had the choice between a lunch detention and spinning this wheel.. she had to know what she might be in for. If she thought the wheel options were wrong and potentially humiliating for her, she should have taken her standard lunch detention.

    The only thing (of those that were included in the article) that I wouldn't agree with is having the option to fail the next test. That's nothing to do with mibehaviour.

    I fear that this will defeat this creative educator's teaching spirit.

  8. This hurt, Joe--you know how uptight I am!!

  9. The choices include: lunch detention, failing their next test, passing the punishment along to another student, buying the teacher a bottle of water or letting classmates pelt the students with balls. It is a creative way to administer discipline, maybe the school district should allow the teacher to spin the wheel also.

    1. Like Hilary, I disagree with the next test fail as a wheel choice.

    2. that and passing the punishment to another student.

  10. Don't do the crime, y'all
    If you fear the Kush ball

    She should have paid attention so she knew the rules. I find it hard to believe that she didn't observe others spinning the wheel, and understand what it was about. What she's really mad at is that her spin landed on the Kush ball. If it had landed on "Pass the punishment on to another student," I doubt she would have gone crying to mommy.

    I'm also sure the administration knew about this little game. If not, they are a poor administration. That wheel was huge. Who could miss it, simply walking by in the hall?

    Back in my day, a sixth grade teacher grabbed my friend Bev by the hair, and yanked her seven ways to Sunday against her one-piece metal flip-top desk, like bouncing a red rubber ball attached by an elastic string off a wooden paddle. You know what? Bev stopped talking out of turn. As did the rest of us.

    School discipline these days is weak sauce.

    1. I was hoping for a teachers POV, though hair grabbing and desk flinging is a little over the top. We used to have to dodge chalk flung by ex-baseball players.

      My theory is the kid told her parents because she thought it was funny, and the parents disagreed and made a big hoo ha out of it.

    2. Oh, we had chalk and erasers flung at us, too! But that was in the upper grades. And you know what? It didn't hurt us. And we learned to stop the shenanigans. The hair grab was a little extreme, but Bev had strong follicles. She was a serial talker. She learned to be sneakier.

      Bev did not run home to her treasure-stuffed house under the spreading limbs of a gnarled tree, that reminded me of the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, where she had a pet flying squirrel in a bird cage, and tell her hippy dippy parents. They would have told her, "Then you need to shut up. Serves you right." Their hippy-dippiness went only so far. The Man could stick it to their kids if they didn't toe the line, thus allowing them to go on about their hippy-dippiness without interruption.

      Nah...I think that kid was bitter because she got caught, and decided to make that teacher pay. Girls are like that. Grudges and all. Boys take it and move on. Clean slate.

  11. When I think of the teachers who really affected my education, it troubles me to think that most of them wouldn't be allowed in classrooms today.

  12. Joe. Delete this if you wish, it does not fit in with the other commenters.

    This, the responses, rather disturb me. It seems people, who may or may not have kids, are saying "oh for the good old days, when teachers could hit students with impunity." This bothers me. Yeah, in the 'good old days' kids as young as 6 were sent to work 12 hours a day in cotton mills, in fields. They worked for a nickle a day in clothing sweatshops. And hitting them was considered good discipline.
    Do we really want those days back? Because one is just symptomatic of the other.....hitting people is a good way of making them do what they want, they should be treated like adults, made to work.
    In the instance you gave above, the discipline by making her stand in front of the class and let them throw things at her, and the teacher throwing too, is there a element of humiliation there? Do we really think she was up there laughing as it was going on? Further, what did this teach her? To shut up, not make waves, be invisible in class. A good lesson for kids, girls particularly, eh?
    Mainly I think it showed her that she was different, apart from the other kids. On her own. I don't care if it was cotton balls they were throwing...they showed her she wasn't one of them. A powerful message for a teenager, who want to belong more than anything else.

    1. I don't really read from the comments people wanting to return to the discipline of old. This teacher may not have been appropriate, I wouldn't do it if I were a teacher nor would my son who is a teacher, I think some just think it was relatively harmless and was out in the open. The teacher was trying to try something different and the school didn't really come down on her too hard other then to send her to sensitivity training. From my discussions with teachers today, some feel they teach on egg shells, constantly careful about everything they say and do. It is hard to teach and maintain discipline when you have to always look over your shoulder. The old days of child labor and teachers with paddles are not coming back, perhaps some kids today are taking advantage of that knowledge. It is a fine line, one we see out of school with law enforcement. Too much power in the hands of people in charge can and does get abused, Take away their teeth and no one is in charge. I appreciate your point of view and your passion.

  13. I like teachers who are fun. I think that teaching does not have to be harsh and hard all the time. After all we all have been kids once upon a time.

  14. Yeah, if students truly had another choice and that was communicated then there shouldn't be a problem here, only an award for the teach. If it wasn't communicated then I agree with what happened. Problem is that the story is vague on the truth of the choice.

    We're supposed to like choice, right?

    Then again, where the death penalty still exists there used to be choice until the pro-choicers pushed to try and make all forms not involving controlled substances go away.

  15. You're right, school should be fun once in a while. i had fun teachers and always looked forward to gong to school. I like the wheel of misfortune idea too.

  16. And gum stuck to your forehead wasn't humiliating? Ok, that was actually funny also.

  17. I've read this twice and went to the original news story. I still don't know what to think. I guess if it were me I'd just save the gum for the classroom of a teacher who didn't have the wheel. I mean, really - it's not like teacher yanked this "surprise" out of a closet just for that poor unsuspecting crybaby!


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