Seeing A Cane For The First TimeDecember 15 2003 at 11:38 PM
Can any guys remember the first time they saw the cane at school? Not when you were to be on the receiving end, just seeing it for the first time.
How old were you ?
Where did you see it? Was a teacher holding it or was it easily seen somewhere?
Did you know what it was for? Even before you received it yourself or knew of another boy getting it?
I'm interested in hearing about that "initial" reaction to it.
Seeing a cane for the first time
|December 16 2003, 5:53 PM |
Yes, when I was six years old. I had often heard my class mates talk about receiving 'the cane', and easily guessed the implications, however, I dismissed it as a myth until the day I witnessed our elderly female teacher threaten to use one across a boy's backside. His crime, as I recall, was talking too much in class. She brought out a selection of canes, of varying length and thickness, from her walk-in cupboard at the back of the class room to which only she had access. She then dragged the offending boy to her table, laid him across it and pulled his pants and shorts down, then raised what seemed the thickest cane high above his backside. I can still see in my mind the look of fear across that boy's face.
On another occasion, she had tied a pupil to his chair with a skipping rope, just for spilling his milk. For fun, she pushed him to the floor whilst he was still tied. She would rap the knuckles of those unable to comprehend their 'sums', and the pity of this is, that they would queue at her desk in order to seek enlightenment knowing full well that a rapping would be received if they continued to not understand. Ankle slapping was another of her favourite pastimes, particularly among the girls.
Going back to the story, as I say, it was only a threat, and the boy was sent back to his seat in tears. I saw enough to warrant running home from school that lunch time, a first in that school's history, I believe. It is only in the past year I have discovered that all the gates were closed as my escape was announced, and an older lad was sent off to recover me. Being imaginative, I headed straight for home where my mother instructed me to return to school. As I protested on the doorstep, the older lad arrived to take me back to the head master. I returned to the school trembling, but I needn't have worried as the head was sympathetic and understanding. Since it was clear that I was not going to give my reasons for running away, he decided that the problem was best discussed with my parents who were called to the school for the following evening. He then escorted me back to my class room where I couldn't help but feel that our teacher looked slightly nervous - as if she knew why I had run away. Nevertheless, the remaining hours passed without incident, and the teacher was all 'sweetness and light'.
I decided that I would tell my parents everything before their date with the head. The responses were typical - "are you sure this is what happened?" and "are you making this up?". Nevertheless, the appointment was kept, and we all went along to the school the following evening. My father, mother, the head and my teacher were ushered into the office after lessons and I waited outside for what seemed like hours. Eventually, they emerged, the head and my father looking very stern, my mother worried and the teacher sheepish.
To this day, I don't know what was said between them, but that teacher never again laid a finger on anyone in my class, at least not for the remainder of my time in that year.
For the record, the school concerned was a primary school in Crayford which is on the Kent/SE London border, year 1964.
Re: Seeing a cane for the first time
|December 16 2003, 7:28 PM |
I cannot even fatham witnessing such an incident like that at school, especially at the tender age of 6. But I can definitely relate to your leaving school during the lunch hour to go home. I most likely would have done the same thing.
My first experience in seeing a cane was at Primary school also. My first teacher, who was a lady also, had 3 or 4 garden type canes that were about 6 feet in length stored above her blackboard. I remember being fascinated by the sight of them there, even though I had seen similar canes in our own garden at home. What really surprised me as I later found at was that they were not the canes that were used by the Headmaster for Corporal Punishment.
Re: Re: Seeing a cane for the first time
|December 16 2003, 8:46 PM |
Steve; Excellent post. I am glad it turned out the way it did for you. It could have gone the other way considering the year and attitude of teachers and parents at that time. Your actions although motivated by fear resulted in a safer environment for you and your classmates. I always champion the underdog and I am glad you and your parents won that one.It took a certain amount of courage to run home the way you did.
Once again, great post.
Seeing a cane for the first time
|December 16 2003, 10:31 PM |
Although the events I describe took place forty years ago, I can remember them all clearly, as if it were only yesterday. I was aware that canings were administered at the school (by the head only) on a regular basis, but the punishments for the most trivial of things handed out by that sadistic teacher were tantamount to cruelty. Strangely enough, most of the lessons/days I can remember from my time in her class were happy ones.
I had previously recounted these experiences (albeit in 'Bowdlerised' form) on the appropriate school message board on 'Friends Reunited', but, perhaps understandably, the comments were hastily removed. An older pupil contacted me to say that she clearly remembered the day that I 'escaped', so it was nice to be filled in on the alternative perspective. She said that when word was announced that I had ran out of the school gate during lunch time, a general hush came over all those on the playing field. Nice to know I was missed!
Interestingly, I managed to contact the boy of the story, listed on FR under another school. He didn't remember me, nor his time in her class.
|December 17 2003, 12:45 AM |
The headmaster at my primary school used to carry the cane (unknown at my infants school)with him around the school when visiting classrooms and would sometimes interrupt the lesson to deliver lectures about behaviour for no particular reason that I could see. No other teachers were allowed to cane, only smack. He once came up with the idea "You'd better be on your best behaviour today because I've just got a new cane and I'm just itching to use it". This was quite impressive. I vaguely seem to recall that he would sometimes swish the cane through the air and this too was impressive. He only caned pupils in his study, however, on the hand. Sometimes he would then come round to the class a few minutes after a pupil had returned to the class, ask him to identify himself and then describe how he had caned him.
I can also recall one occasion when he came round to tell us how he had spotted a girl pulling a smaller boys hair in the playground, taken the girl to his study and pulled her hair until she cried.
On a different note I can remember a contemporary of my grandmother describing how the teacher used to rule his pupils with "a rod of iron". I was under the misconception that this was a real rod that was used to beat pupils - anyone else have the same misunderstanding?
Re: The Cane
|December 17 2003, 1:23 PM |
The parents of a friend from primary school kept a cane on a shelf in the kitchen. She said that it had not been used on her but was there as a warning not to be naughty. This was the first cane I ever saw. I was intrigued but frightened by it and often used to wonder what it would be like to get it.
Re: Re: The Cane
|December 17 2003, 4:50 PM |
I never saw a cane at school but a friend of mine in Junior School had one at home, poked behind the chains that held up the mirror above the fireplace. He assured me that it was used on him and his sister but gave no details.
Re: The Cane
|December 17 2003, 5:16 PM |
That Headmaster sounded somewhat Sadistic in nature to me and seemed to enjoy the act of punishing boys and girls. Any Headmaster or teacher that would make a point of going back into a classroom and having a pupil identify themselves and tell other pupils how they were punished, must have got off on that aspect.
It was more than embarassing enough to have to have reported to the Headmaster for punishment,with others knowing I am sure. But to have to share what happened to you when prompted to do so is too much.
The punishments I received did not go as a secret to other pupils and if I chose to discuss what had happened, that was up to me. Otherwise, it did not get mentioned.
Re: Seeing A Cane For The First Time
|December 17 2003, 7:57 PM |
I first saw a school cane in the Headmaster's study of my prep school about 30 seconds before he beat my bottom with it. Not much time to inspect it before I was inspecting my shoes and the carpet but I remember it being fairly dark in colour (well used I suppose) and flexible with a crooked handle.
First sight of cane
|December 17 2003, 9:10 PM |
Perhaps I should clarify - it was the headmaster who offered the description of the caning. He didn't force the pupil to describe it, merely to acknowledge that he had been caned. On the one occasion I was caned it was as part of a group of 5 and as we had all returned to the classroom only a few minutes before it was obvious what had happened to us. Yet when invited to identify ourselves we were still reluctant to put our hands up. The shame element is very important. I think Ian Gibson covers this aspect very well in "The English Vice".
Re: First sight of cane
|December 17 2003, 9:21 PM |
Ok that makes more sense to me now.
You are right though, the shame aspect of punishment was a big part of both schooling and home punishment.
Re: Re: Seeing A Cane For The First Time
|December 17 2003, 11:43 PM |
I imagine you would have much rather witnessed the cane for the first time under different circumstances.
I felt the same way when I first encountered the "real" school cane, also in the Head's study, and did not have much time to really think about it either.
How old were you at the time?
Re: Re: Re: Seeing A Cane For The First Time
|December 18 2003, 12:28 AM |
I was about 12 years old, it was the first of two canings I got at the school. Both were 3 strokes over my trousers. After the last one the Headmaster said that if he saw me again in his study I would get six.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Seeing A Cane For The First Time
|December 18 2003, 5:23 PM |
Two school canings over the course of several years isn't bad at all.
I myself received four school canings. The first being when I was about 8( primary school), along with three other lads for bullying. That was not a nice introduction to it all, believe me. We each received six of the best over trousers.
My other two school canings consisted of 2 strokes across each hand for running in and out of an empty classroom when I was not supposed to (primary school), and another 6 for fighting (middle school), and one caning of 3 strokes for rudeness towards a teacher. I didn't feel that I deserved that one, but no Headmaster was going to take a pupils word over a teacher's.
caned by my father in class
|December 18 2003, 5:37 PM |
The first time I saw and even felt a cane in school was in the second form and I was age 9 and my own father was the class teacher, There was a good reason why this could not be avoided. Of course it was known by all the class that he was my dad, but on the first day he called me out and introduced himself and I to the class.
He then told us all on what standard of behavior he wanted and produced a junior cane from the cupboard, I was then told to touch my toes and told the class he was going to give a demo on how the cane would be used.
Dad then swished two firm taps of the cane across my buttocks which had only a light sting, This made impression on the class that he was going to be firm.#
Re: caned by my father in class
|December 18 2003, 6:00 PM |
I am sure having your father as your teacher would give you enough cause to pay mind to your behaviour. Of course seeing a cane appear in your father's hand, probably didn't appeal to you anymore than it would to any other pupil.
I remember the first teacher I had in school had one of her daughters in the class and we all knew their relationship. I am sure these days that is not permitted.
Re: Re: caned by my father in class
|December 19 2003, 8:24 AM |
It isn't actually against any rules for a teacher to have their own child in their class but it is generally avoided. Even in a one form entry primary school efforts are made to avoid a teacher or classroom assistant having their own kids in their class. I have ended up teaching mine but only when covering for their usual teacher.
One aspect is that I know her friends pretty well as they are fequent visitors to our house. Interestingly, whilst they are pretty familiar in the home environment, never has any of them taken advantage of this at school. Occasionally I am addressed as "Sir" at home...but not nearly often enough LOL
Re: Seeing A Cane For The First Time
|December 19 2003, 2:27 PM |
The first time I saw a cane, I litrally wet my knickers, I and two other girls were caught smoking in the loo's one break time, now the fear, plus the fact I hadn't had time for my pee before being caught, was putting great strain on my bladder. The fear increased as we were admitted into the headmisstress's study, where she gave us a long lecture and in formed us we were to receive four strokes of the cane. She then went to the corner of the study and selected a cane from the collection she kept in a waste paper basket. This was the first time I'd ever seen a school cane, long thin with a crooked handle, and as she gave it a couple of practice swishes in the air, I'm afraid I completely lost it and peed myself all over the study floor. I still received my punishment though, 4 stinging strokes across the wet seat of my knickers. To add to my humiliation, I was made to go get a mop and bucket, from the caretakers office, and mop up the puddle I'd made.
Re: Re: Seeing A Cane For The First Time
|December 19 2003, 11:57 PM |
Have you ever read the book Catch 22? I won't go into the details but the catch is similar to the one in your post - someone who wet themselves would not want to be owning up to it yet what you are claiming is that you wet yourself. Hmmmm.