Stab Wounds and Morning Memos

Stab Wounds and Morning Memos

by Lauren Doyle


Good morning Catherine,

As Administrative Coordinator, I am so happy that I am able to reach out to you and the rest of the teachers every morning with these morning updates and observations or as I like to call them my “Angles of the Morning.”

Anyway, I just wanted to briefly touch base with you about the school wide training that you missed last week. It was incredibly informative and I think that you’ll find yourself using this technique in times of difficulty.

At the training, our speaker discussed how we need to eradicate the word “No” from a child’s vocabulary and use positive reinforcement to encourage young children to make correct choices. Now, I’m not saying that you do not encourage your students; I just think it would be beneficial to you if you incorporated this approach into your classroom management. I’d like to give you an example of ways you can practice positive reinforcement and put an end to the word “No.”  

  • Example: You and your class are out playing on the map of the United States, next to the storage unit where the family of feral cats has made their home. At the end of the activity, you encourage the students to get water, line up, and prepare to go back into the classroom. All of the students follow your instructions apart from Bobby Beckett. Bobby wants to continue playing and refuses to line up. You approach him and first ask why he does not want to go back inside. Bobby replies that he does not have a desire to learn about any new letters for the day and would much rather spend his time playing. You now gently motivate Bobby and encourage him to line up and go inside. Instead of saying “No” or “Stop running around and line up,” you could say, “Bobby, I love how quickly you’re running. Can you show me how quickly you can run through the hallways?” or “Wow, you’re so strong if you were able to push all of those younger kids to the ground. Let’s go and practice pushing in our chair.” If that does not work, make a case for your lesson, say things like, “Oh boy, I can’t wait to go learn about the letter I. Did you know I comes before E except after C?”

I hope you don’t find this too daunting and if you should have any questions going forward, please do not hesitate to drop by my office.


Dorothy Donovan - Administrative Coordinator - OuiOui Academy Oui are so proud 

Good morning Catherine,

I was not sure if you received my last letter, but I just want to say how happy I am to see you encouraging positive behavior in the classroom. Last week, however, there was an occurrence on the playground that I think could have been handled more positively. I found you outside reprimanding a group of your students and using the forbidden word.

You said that you saw a group of boys run to the restroom carrying the square, multicolored beanbags that were gifted to us by American Idol season 2 winner and OuiOui alumni Ruben Studdard. When they came back, you asked why they were in the restroom and why they had taken some of Mr. Studdards beanbags with them. You singled out one student and asked him why all of them were in the bathroom with the beanbags and he replied, and correct me if I’m wrong with, “We peed on ‘em.”

Now it is my belief that such honesty should be rewarded and that students who choose to remain hydrated should be celebrated for their healthy choices. While it is unfortunate that Ruben’s beanbags were damaged, you as the teacher should have handled it differently. For instance, instead of saying, “No, we do not urinate on the beanbags. Behavior like this is unacceptable.” you could say something like, “I’m so happy that you all recognized when you needed to use the restroom. Next time, let’s try putting the beanbags in the urinal before we urinate on them.” We want to redirect their negative behavior in a positive way without using words like, “no and do not” and encourage and reward all their good behavior. Have a good rest of your week and remember, stay positive!


 Dorothy Donovan - Administrative Coordinator OuiOui Academy - Oui are so proud 

Good morning Catherine,

It is such a joy to be able to have this note delivered to you today! I wanted to reach out and tell you what a difference positive reinforcement has done for your students. But, I heard alarming details regarding you and your class earlier this week and Ms. O’Brien informed me of the altercation in your classroom. Apparently, there was a student who was growing bored with your lesson and resorted to disruptive behavior by singing Twisted Sister’s “We’re not Gonna Take It.”   

Now, I did hear you tried to redirect his singing, by changing the lyrics to “I can’t wait to learn,” but your endeavor was futile. After several attempts, the student pulled out a box cutter and began threatening you and other students. Ms. O’Brien said she heard him saying things like, “The bourgeoisie has the upper hand” and “Working students of all grade levels, unite!”

Clearly, this student showed great promise handling sharp objects and demonstrated great leadership skills when he incited a class wide riot. His behavior should have been praised and perhaps this student would be well suited for the school’s Communist party or leading the school’s knife handling club.

Anyway, I hope the doctors were able to stitch up the wound on your side and that there wasn’t too much damage done to your kidney. We can’t wait to have you back at school!

 Happy Healing,

 Dorothy Donovan - Administrative Coordinator OuiOui Academy - Oui are so proud