“Owwwwwww,” I remember one lad of about 12 screaming as he crumpled to the floor after a good old whanging from thunder and lightening, the two pronged leather strap of the maths teacher.
“Aaaggggggh, I’m bleeding.” he yelled next, while showing his hand off in a style that would have pleased Liberace.
The maths teacher smirked while he walked over to the hooks at the side of the class where he hung his prized boy cosh alongside it’s smaller and narrower partner in crime. Thunder and lightening had come across a boy who’d learned that putting a hair across his palm before being belted resulted in a nice long cut across the hand, and drawing blood was the one thing that teachers weren’t allowed to do when dishing out their punishments. The maths teacher was unrepentant and the story reached the halls of fame and propelled the boy to a status not ungodlike on school grounds.
Our teachers were allowed to belt us. A leather belt could have up to four prongs depending on how sadistic the teacher was and how much pain they liked to inflict. I managed to get the strap only once in my school career and it was when the whole class was lined up and strapped by a wild haired angry woman who nobody would spill the beans to and concerning acid being poured into a sink in science class. I’ve never forgotten standing and waiting for the belt to make contact with my hand. I can’t remember it being painful, but I do remember the hate I had for the woman who dished out the unfair punishment on us all.
Thunder and lightening had nothing on my mothers day though. She vividly remembers a boy who was taken out of class for talking and caned. He received a birch whip across his derriere several times and that child never spoke out of turn in class again.
We were ruled by violence. It worked. Apart from one or two boys who pushed the boundaries, none of us would consider breaking the rules if we were in the class of a teacher known for bringing down a heavy force of pain.
I wouldn’t want to be a teacher in most senior schools nowadays. I don’t approve of hitting, but I can also see that teachers have absolutely nothing apart from the respect they can command to control an unruly classroom mob.
I think there are limits though. I know it’s hard for teachers and I know they find it tough to control some children who don’t want to be there and make it well known. Saying that, some of the modern day punishments drive me round the bend.
We’ve had lines, we’ve had detentions, we’ve had removal of privileges and we’ve had ongoing letters home for the most silly things. Honestly, if a teacher can’t get children to stop pinging rubbers in school, what on earth do they hope to get by sending a letter home to the parents? It’s not as if we’re there and can stop the kids going OTT.
So, in short, if a child is ADHD and struggling in class as they need to let off steam in the morning, it makes absolutely no sense to me at all to keep them cooped up inside with no exercise and lead them to fail for the afternoon session as well. A game of footie or running track, or running errands would be much preferable to me and most other parents of children who struggle to keep it together.
Eldest had a detention in May. He’s adamant that he did the detention and a teacher is adamant that he did not. He refused to go for the other four that were set up in place of it and just went for his lunch instead.
We’ve started a new year. I got a phone call yesterday from his year master saying that the detention still needed to be done. Raging inside, I told him just to go through with it and get it done. I’ve been told that doing it now is the best possible outcome that there could be for this, but I can’t see the point in him doing detention for something that happened months ago and spilling over into a new year. So much for a fresh start every year.
This child is also on a waiting list for resources for extra support in school as he’s not coping. He’s been assessed as needing the help, yet he has to wait for money to get it. So much for the new education director for Aberdeen that I sat 5 feet away from a few months ago and told me in no uncertain terms that there was more than enough support for all the children in Aberdeen that needed it. If that’s true, why is there a waiting list then?
So, it’s punish a child that shows the signs of not coping by issuing lines and detentions and then when they’re assessed as needing extra support, lets just not give it to them as we don’t have the money but we’ll carry on punishing them for doing things because they need the extra support. That makes great sense doesn’t it?
Part of me thinks a quick strap was the better option as it was over and done with as soon as something was done, and not this mental torture of dragging things on and on and on. And coming from someone who doesn’t even believe in smacking, that’s a sad way for me to be thinking.