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SPANKING TEACHERS IN THE 50s PERVES OR JUSTIFIED IF THEY GOT RESULTS

May 15 2012 at 5:58 PM
SIR JOHN 

 

As an old un I suspect I have more recollections and information regarding classroom and school corporal punishment than many of the contributors to this forum. However I do not normally post as much of the information I have on school spankings, slippering and canings only confirms much of what has already been said many times before in these pages.

However an issue about which I have often wondered and which has not featured that frequently in this esteemed and knowledgeable forum is the mind set of teachers of the 50s and 60s who sometimes seemed to enjoy a little too much the mild impropriety of smacking pupils bottoms as part of their perceived teaching persona . Did they believe their actions were a genuine and justified part of their teaching technique which better allowed them to ensure the academic success of the majority of the pupils in their care or were they just pervies abusing their authority. Certainly teachers had or seemed to have more confidence of their position back then ; Pupil power was fairly non existent and any complaint about alleged unjustified discipline was likely to result in the pupil being suspended..not the teacher as would likely happen in later years.....

Some observations which may be relevant from my attendance at Olga Street Junior school in East London in the mid 50s. Many similar recollections appear in other threads so please excuse repetition.

The Headmaster Arthur Bennett was actually very kind , friendly and amusing guy. When I first arrived at the school as a 7 year old I did not know he was was the Head and thought he was the maintenance man as he seemed to spend a lot of time checking that all the radiators throughout the school were working properly. He did not actually have his own class but would deputise when a teacher was absent and would also sometimes take one of the senior classes for half a day or so to check pupil ability which in retrospect was probably a form of assessment of the ability of his teachers. He did however have one quirk. He seemed to enjoy finding an excuse to put certain of the elder girls (very rarely boys) across his knee and tap them (not very hard) sometimes on their skirts but usually on their underwear with a wooden ruler whilst chanting a ditty in time on the following lines

Smack wacky whack whack
Smacky wacky woo
When you are a naughty girl
This is what I do
Smack wacky whack whack
Fiddly diddle dot
If you are a naughty girl
You get a sore bot

This was carried out in a light-hearted and exhibitionist manner. Behaviour therapist might find this activity interesting. Was he getting his kinky pleasures from doing this or just demonstrating he could be a disciplinarian if necessary although I do not recollect him ever administering proper physical punishment to any boy or girl.

It always seemed the same 6 girls in my class that he picked on and to be fair the girls concerned seemed to accept his activities as a bit of a game as opposed to real punishment. These were also the same girls that he would borrow sometimes to mind the phone and take messages and help with envelope addressing; He had a very tiny office and no secretary. I suspect he had a new group of girls in each final year. I could say more about his activities but will press on.

There were several teachers at Olga Street of varying ability but the two main ones were definitely Thommo Thompson and Miss Raine (The Old Girl) who took turns in taking the final year classes. This meant that depending upon which year you joined you got one or the other for your last two years. Both myself and my first wife (who was two years after me) got Thommo who seemed to also have the job as chief disciplinarian at the school. Errant pupils were sent to him by other teachers . He was definitely was proud of the fact that he was a Spanko . I remember him once in morning prayers addressing the whole school who were sitting cross legged on the floor. Stand up all of my class he would say .Then sit down if you have never been whacked by me. About 3 boys and 6 girls out of 34 sat down. Boys sit down. This left about 10 girls standing. You see he would say, l have no favourites I treat boys and girls the same in my class . They all get whacked if they need it. Again behaviour therapists might have something to say about this image projection.

Although as a kid when I joined the school I was terrified of spending my last 2 years with Thommo but in the event he was a very good and amusing teacher and made learning fun. There was always a lot of laughter in class although he did keep it very much under control. In retrospect he was probably a Spanko but several of the so called whackings he dished were again quite lighthearted and very mild although he did occasionally lay it on . He was definitely a fairly strict disciplinarian in some areas e.g. talking consistently or passing notes in class or if you f forgot your homework. If you did this you had to go up to him and say out loud that you had not bothered and he would put you across his knee and pull up the leg of your short trousers or skirt and slap you hard 3 times on each upper leg which really hurt, If you had tried to make an excuse this would double to 6 on each leg which would bring tears to the eyes of most boys and girls. Sometimes he would you spank hard on the bottom but if he did this you had to change into thin gym shorts. Girls just got it on their underwear but usually not that hard. . For some reason he was always much gentler smacking girls bottoms than he was their upper bare legs although this was not the case if they were sent to him from another class,. Like Mr Bennett you also got a bit of a running commentary while he was dealing with you in keeping with his somewhat exhibitionist traits. He would often threaten a bare botty spanking to both boys and girls but this only really happened at the boys only school summer camp. Having said that my first wife told me that once after receiving 10 not very hard spanks he did pull her pants down a few inches with one hand and gave her a couple of light smacks on the top of her bottom with the other saying she was heading for a bare bot tanning next time . This never happened.

You actually did not see much of the actual spankings as he would usually be sitting at his desk which would hide most of the recipient. All you usually saw was a face poking out around the side of the desk which could be either smiling, red with embarrassment or grimacing with pain.

Boys and very occasionally girls would sometimes be sent to him with a note from other teachers to get a whacking . In these instances our lesson would be temporarily disrupted while he dealt with the errant pupil. In these cases he usually whacked quite hard. He also had a cane but he rarely used it in class sometimes giving boys 2 on each hand for things like bullying and stealing. I don't think he ever caned a girl or threatened to do so. At the 2 week summer camp (boys only) he used the cane a lot more but then only on bottoms which were sometimes bared. This bloody hurt. Again behaviour therapists may wish to explain why he only used his cane in this way at summer camp.

Miss Raine (The Old Girl) is worth a mention. She was not that bad a teacher and very strict with the boys. Her technique was to ask them to roll up their shirt sleeve of their right arm the upper part of which she then proceeded to slap hard about 25 times. This was quite painful. If she could not be bothered to slap an errant pupil he or she would be sent with a note to Thommo. I understand Miss Raine never disciplined girls herself which was odd. Again therapists might like to explain why a middle aged experienced female teacher who was quite happy to soundly slap boys arms would decline to discipline girls preferring instead to send them to a thirtyish male to be put across his knee and have their bottoms or upper legs spanked.

The bottom line (pun not intended) was of course the fact that despite their possible idiosyncrasies Bennett, Thommo and the Old Girl somehow managed to achieve excellent academic results with a very high percentage of their pupils ( 13 out of my class of 34 some other local schools only managed 1 or 2) passing the 11 plus Grammar School entrance exam. This enabled me and others to go on to Grammar School ( Coopers Company in my case where the cane and slipper saw much use) and then University and achieve academic, financial and social success in later life. We were the kids from working class families in a poor neighbourhood for whom the system very much worked at that time.

It is difficult to generalise about whether teachers abused their position regarding corporal punishment back then. There was no secret abuse in private as everything was very out in the open as if the teachers considered they had nothing to hide. Indeed this was also true of the two well known cases regarding the corporal punishment of girls which actually came to Court during the 60s . I am referring to Colin West and the Heston Grammar School cases . Neither West nor Guise thought they had done any wrong in spanking bare teenage girls bottoms and in fact West considered it not abnormal to go to pupils homes and spank his teenage female pupils across his knee bare bottomed in front of their parents. Although they were both actually found guilty its interesting to note that the Justices at the time saw only fit to impose a fairly small fine on Guise and West walked free after receiving a short suspended prison sentence. This may be indicative that the Law at that time felt that a good spanking of a bare female bottom did not do too much harm. Nowadays of course similar activity would quite rightly result in a long custodial sentences.

 
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Carl and Mates

Re: SPANKING TEACHERS IN THE 50s PERVES OR JUSTIFIED IF THEY GOT RESULTS

May 18 2012, 12:40 PM 

Multiple indentities non permis on our foro SIR JOHN.

Please be patiente.

Thank you

 


 
 

Another_Lurker

Re: SPANKING TEACHERS IN THE 50s PERVES OR JUSTIFIED IF THEY GOT RESULTS

May 18 2012, 4:43 PM 

Hi Carl and Mates,

Oh dear, I do hope that SIR JOHN hasn't been drumming up trade by replying to his own post! Naughty, naughty, and if I'm right he's been here more than long enough to know that! happy.gif

I was going to respond to his post, but then I noticed he describes himself as 'an old un'. Since if he's getting his dates right he's years younger than me I felt dreadfully insulted sad.gifsad.gifsad.gif and backed off.

No, seriously, I became intrigued by a distinction which, again if I'm right about his past, SIR JOHN seems to share with one of the contributors whose absence is lamented by Larry et al in this post. A distinction which, in my experience at least, is unique in this estimable Forum! Trying to fathom out an explanation (which I can't yet) caused me to forget about responding to his post. SIR JOHN and I both had our legs smacked at school (where's everybody gone, I'm not going to post that link again, honest happy.gif), and yes, SIR JOHN, it does 'really hurt', so I shouldn't miss the chance to discuss the issue with a fellow sufferer! happy.gif I'll try to find time to post tonight. Got to go now though!

 
 
SIR JOHN

Re: SPANKING TEACHERS IN THE 50s PERVES OR JUSTIFIED IF THEY GOT RESULTS

May 19 2012, 8:01 PM 

Another Lurker. Thanks for your comment.On the basis that you were born before January 1944 I am happy to acknowledge your seniority. Actually I did not suffer unduly at Olga as either by stealth or pure luck I was one of the few fortunates who was rarely on the receiving end.
The real purpose of my post was to invite discussion as to whether the slightly odd ball manner in which some teachers behaved in those days could be attributed to eccentricity or possibly a more sinister motive.

 
 

Another_Lurker

Re: SPANKING TEACHERS IN THE 50s PERVES OR JUSTIFIED IF THEY GOT RESULTS

May 20 2012, 3:31 AM 

Hi SIR JOHN,

Sorry for the long delay in responding to your post. Various factors, but mainly the 'distinction' I mentioned. I won't go into details as it isn't anything you could have had any influence over. It's fairly 'technical', to do with the way Network54 works, and I strongly suspect that only one other person on the Forum might be interested - and they'll probably tell me I'm too obsessed with trivia! sad.gif But I will say that it also involves one of our most notable former contributors, Lotta Nonsense! There, that's given you instant street cred with anyone who's been around for a bit! happy.gif

But come to think of it you'll probably recall Lotta, as I notice you've been around quite a long time yourself, having posted here back at the beginning of 2007. I'm sure that you could have contributed very usefully to some of the debates in the intervening period, but no matter, at least you are posting now.

Age, well yes, I am older than you, but not by as much as I'd thought. In fact you'd only have been a couple of forms back if we'd been at the same school. I must have miscalculated on some of the dates you've given.

I found your initial post in this thread very interesting. I think you had more than your fair share of CP administering characters at the Olga Street Junior School, but only by a small margin. There were a lot of them about in those days and we had a pretty fair quota in my own Junior school, and the odd one in the associated Infant school.

Like you I was rarely on the receiving end. Only twice in fact, the first of them in what in most schools would have been the top class of Infants, but for some reason (most probably, on reflection, the building layout) my schools operated a three form Junior school, so there it was the next to the top Infants class. That was the leg smacking, and it made me resolve to avoid CP thereafter, an objective in which I was pretty successful!

But though I dodged it myself, an awful lot of classroom CP went on, mostly in the Junior school. However I don't recall anyone ever being sent to the Headmaster (though he caned pupils from the associated Senior school, of which he was also Head). In the Junior school both boys and girls were smacked, rulered and slippered by a variety of techniques, both in lessons and at the end of lessons. Usually the former, as for the most part one teacher taught one class all the time, so there was no point in waiting to administer a punishment.

Why was it done, and why was it often done as a sort of theatrical performance? I think that to an extent both those questions have the same answer, class sizes! There were over 50 children in all my classes at the Junior school. One teacher had to manage those numbers on his or, much more usually, her own, and teach to the comparatively high standards expected then, when few if any children left Junior school unable to read and write properly. No Classroom Assistants, no parent helpers, just one teacher and a blackboard and some chalk.

Agreed in those days we sat at (or rather in, they were the all in one double fold-down bench type) desks arranged in rigid rows and columns, naughty/dim children at the front, clever/placid children at the back, and stayed there - no wandering about like today! But it was still necessary for teachers to do a certain amount of keeping the lid on things.

They did this by very firmly stamping their authority on proceedings. Retribution for stepping out of line had to be instant and fairly brief, so CP was ideal. The children most likely to get it were seated near the front anyway, and it only took a moment to order (or drag) them out to the front of class, whack away, and send them back to their seat, or, for additional emphasis, to stand in front of the class facing the wall.

Why the theatrical performances though? Not all teachers went in for this, some had such a fearsome reputation they didn't need to. But for some it was a deliberate tactic. It combined some elements of 'pour encourager les autres'. In the mid 18th century British Navy they publicly shot the odd Admiral to 'encourage' the other Admirals to toe the line and get stuck into battles when required. In mid 20th century classrooms they whacked rather more than the odd child to 'encourage' the other children to do pretty much the same thing - behave themselves. To this end the victim had to be seen to be subjected to discomfort and/or humiliation, usually both. And the message was 'behave yourself, or this will happen to you'!

But there was often another element, playing to the gallery. Children quite like a bit of theatre, and they are not usually averse to watching a classmate get whacked when they know they are not going to be. So the Teacher's subliminal message there was 'see, I'm punishing this naughty child, and giving you good children some entertainment. Be good, and be entertained'.

Exactly the same two elements, deterrence and entertainment, are still being used by Teachers elsewhere in much more recent times. Watch many of the surreptitiously shot classroom punishment videos from The Republic of Korea, Thailand etc. Those Teachers also seem to have to deal with big classes without assistance, and they are in cultures where good educational results are the expected norm. They'd have been quite at home in UK classrooms in the mid 20th century, and they adopt the same methods as teachers did then.

Big classes and no assistance means you can't let things slip, you must be in complete charge, and you haven't got time for reasoning, discussion, time outs and similar soft techniques. Were the Teachers who used corporal punishment in the ways discussed perverts? No, despite much discussion here, I still don't think they were. They did what they thought needed to be done, and they got results in the form of pupil attainment. I'm darned glad I got my initial education in that environment and not in many of today's Primary schools!

 
 
SIR JOHN

Re: SPANKING TEACHERS IN THE 50s PERVES OR JUSTIFIED IF THEY GOT RESULTS

May 22 2012, 9:51 AM 

Hi Another Lurker. Thanks for your comments. Sounds as if your school was a lot stricter than Olga. As I said some of the whackings given there were almost playful and for this reason might not be strictly construed as capable of scaring pupils into good behaviour. There are , I think, many questions regarding the activities of some teachers who administered corporal punishment (especially to young females) during the fifties and sixties which will probably never be properly answered.

I have been somewhat daunted in the past from posting due to the somewhat aggressive of some of the contributors here. However, having just watched a rock music DVD I find myself inspired to make another post shortly. Whether this will spark any interest in fellow contributors is something I will observe with interest.

 
 

Another_Lurker

Re: SPANKING TEACHERS IN THE 50s PERVES OR JUSTIFIED IF THEY GOT RESULTS

May 23 2012, 12:58 AM 

Hi SIR JOHN,

You said above:

Hi Another Lurker. Thanks for your comments. Sounds as if your school was a lot stricter than Olga.

Hmm, it would surprise me if in actuality it was. I'd have said it was fairly typical of an Infant/Junior school of its period, late 1940s to early 1950s. I doubt if many children went through their time there without encountering CP themselves, and certainly they'd all see classmates so punished. But equally I doubt if many of them regarded it as other than a fairly happy period of their lives. The associated Senior school was perhaps a different matter. There were definitely some unhappy memories of canings there, but I never attended that section of the school.

You also said:

There are , I think, many questions regarding the activities of some teachers who administered corporal punishment (especially to young females) during the fifties and sixties which will probably never be properly answered.

A long time ago I posted an account here of a female classmate being slippered by a male teacher in my last year at Junior School. Inspired by my friend de Wolf's amazing discovery of it via another completely unconnected thread recently I have tracked it down myself, and here it is. Amazingly verbose, best just skip to the relevant bit via a search for 'Mr Ford stationed himself'.

Now that punishment made a big impression on me. But was there really anything untoward about it? Do you know, after the intervening few years of reading this estimable Forum, I'm not sure now that there was. We really must not judge what happened almost 60 years ago by the standards of today. It was a different time and place. There is no valid direct comparison.

And finally you said:

I have been somewhat daunted in the past from posting due to the somewhat aggressive of some of the contributors here.

Words, mere words, full of sound and fury and, ultimately, signifying absolutely nothing. Just reply in kind, with interest! happy.gif

 
 
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