9 February 2011
Corporal punishment is never justified, but at least when it is done, it is done. If you are guilty you are less inclined to complain, and if you are innocent, you are able to dine out on tales of injustice for the rest of your life, as I hope to demonstrate.
Now, there is no order in school class rooms, or in the “big society” beyond, and we are all pondering upon what should be done about indiscipline. Even liberals like Monks are thinking the impossible.
I would like to recall my own experience of corporal punishment. Beginning in Junior school, when I was certainly younger than 11 years of age.
I was a shy boy and still am, but a 20 something lady teacher, treated me with affection, and I was smitten with her in a way that I now know was possibly unhealthy. I enjoyed unusual and particular attention from her, particularly in her music lessons. For six weeks she listened to 20 kids trying to play 20 recorders simultaneously, never expecting anything remotely like a tune. I became her answer to the cacophony. She allowed me to sing solo to the class once a week and my solos became the music lesson. It is of course one thing to have a voice that will make a teacher and 20 children listen for 30 minutes, but when that voice is removed by puberty, you then discover what it is like to be last week’s chopped liver.
One day our class was left unattended, and my favourite teacher was the last to arrive at our lesson. We were arranged in a boy girl, boy girl configuration and the girl who sat beside me, Jane, chose to torment me. I wanted to read a book and she started hitting me. I have no idea why she felt the need to assault me in this way, and maybe Mrs. Monk will have something to say about this.
I ignored Jane, which possibly provoked her into persisting with her strategy of hitting me. I will be kind to Jane and say she hit me only a dozen times, and at that point I had enough and returned the dozen with just one blow. Jane immediately burst into tears and would not stop and would not, and would not stop, before my favourite teacher arrived too late, and too soon before Jane might have run out of steam. My favourite teacher arrived and just in time to hear Jane scream and scream and scream and point at me and accuse .... “HE HIT ME”
I was duly slapped by my favourite teacher, who did not ask me for my side of the story.
It was never the same again and my favourite teacher mysteriously left the school, and some noticed a rapid and unusual change in her body shape, before she left.
Yes, my favourite teacher got knocked-up and it is quite possible that she was being rogered in the staff room, when Jane was beating me up.
Yes I was 9 years old but now I am much older and wiser.