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School Discipline

Lectured before the punishment.

I was thinking recently about different approaches my headmasters took when you were stood in front of them ,knowing you were about to be slippered or caned. My headmaster at primary school would lecture you for about ten / fifteen minutes , telling you how you needed to grow up and start acting your age , really !!! ( I was about ten ) , how you were letting everyone down, shaming you into thinking you were the worst pupil ever, and leave you quaking and shaking before producing his slipper from the bottom drawer of his desk.
Secondary school was completley different. ‘ I don’t expect that type of behaviour from a thirteen year old, and he would produce a cane from the corner of his cupboard, bend over, touch your toes and whack !! ‘Now get back to your class’ all over in the space of a minute. Certainly different approaches to the build up to your punishment.
So did your headmasters lecture you for ages before inflicting their punishment or was it all over in a minute.



Hello Red_bum,

The explanation for the different approach adopted by your primary and secondary school heads when formally notifying wrong doing and dispensing justice (or rather their version thereof) is quite simple.  It lies in a principle attributed to various historical figures, including Aristotle and St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Roman Catholic Jesuit Order, and stated in terms like:

Give me the child until he is seven years old and I will give you the man.

Most reasonable people would I think extend the limit somewhat beyond age 7, perhaps even as far as age 10.  Hence the approach of your junior school head.  He saw you at age 10 as still biddable, capable of being steered onto the path of uprighteousness and conformity, at least as defined by him, the school, and society generally, in that order of precedence.  Hence before whacking you he saw it as worthwhile to explain why you were being whacked and how to avoid that fate in future.

The secondary head however had no such illusions.  He knew that at age 13 you were beyond redemption.  A teenager, fated by hormonal development to be incapable of logical thought or action for probably at least the next three or four years.  Why waste his valuable time?  Get you whacked to satisfy his and the school’s need for vengeance.   Whacked as hard as possible as it is known that even teenagers can show some minor reactions to really painful stimuli, and get you out of his office so that he can get on with something useful.

And there you have it.  Most definitely NOT the Another_Lurker educational philosophy, but one widely held in the olden days when I, and probably you, attended school.

Now from another current thread we may reasonably infer that it is at least a week since the Another_Lurker smacked leg was last mentioned here.  We know this because according to the other thread nobody at all has contributed for that period.  As it has gone unmentioned for so long and as it partially supports my argument in this post I have no compunctions whatsoever about mentioning it again.  Absolutely none at all! ?

Now it has to be said that Miss B, who administered that fateful punishment, wasn’t into providing detailed explanations and justifications for SCP and proselytizing about hoped for changes in behaviour.  Like your secondary school head she believed in line ’em up, bend ’em over, whack ’em hard and painfully and head ’em out fast!   So no pre-punishment lecture.  In fact on finding myself second in the long line of ‘captives’ assembled during her spell on playground duty I wasn’t sure why I was there or, until the girl in front of me was dealt with, what was going to happen.

However I was around the Aristotelian or Jesuitical ideal age for behaviour modification and Miss B’s chosen MO, painful and embarrassing spanking in front of her amused class of older children (well those in the line up like the girl in front of me weren’t amused of course, but most of the rest were) certainly got to my biddability!  My behaviour was modified to such an extent that barring a minor slippering I dodged SCP for the rest of my school career.  No mean feat in those days!


Hello AL, thanks for the explanation. I had never really thought of the difference in their approach in that way.  Your psychology thoughts are very impressive and probably correct.   I did think that my primary school headmaster had much more time on his hands.  At secondary school the headmaster always seemed in a hurry but that maybe was just his nature.  I do remember his canings were fast and furious though.


Hi – My Housemaster always lectured before administering punishment, I personally wanted to get my punishment over and done with quickly as I knew I was going to get a whacking. He on the other hand wanted to prolong my discomfort.
He would lecture for what seemed to be a long time, but was probably only a couple of minutes. I then had to get the stool from the corner and place it in front of his desk, bend right over it and grab the bottom rung, he then administered my caning
My Father on the other hand used to lecture me as he was slippering me over his knee, not that I could take much notice I was to busy howling

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