Ruler on the hand

When you got the ruler on your hand, was the teacher or head sitting or standing when administering it? Also, did you get it on both hands or all on one hand? Did the teacher hold your hand still or did you have to hold it out yourself?
In my experience, I got two on each hand from the headmaster in his office at the age of eight.


At the age of 9 boys and girls received it facing the nun in front of the entire class holding out their hand without assistance.  It was on one hand with a half dozen or less hits.  Boys got it a lot more often than girls with girls never getting it on the knuckles.  I got it once and only once and that was on the knuckles. A girl was never sent to the office to get the stick but one was turned over the knee and spanked.  At that age, I didn’t realize that gender made all that much of a difference.  I didn’t have one misogynist bone in my body.


The ruler on the palm of the hand was a common punitive resort of teachers when I was in Primary (or Infant and Junior as we called it in those far-off days of the late 1940s and early 1950s).  I was a very nervous (and consequently extremely well-behaved) little lad and did not personally experience that punishment, though I did survive a leg smacking and a slippering.

When rulering hands different teachers used different techniques.  Some would carry out the punishment at the pupil’s desk, some would call the recipient to the front of the class where, as you note, some would sit and others would stand to administer punishment.   Some would grasp the recipient’s wrist and hold the hand in position, others would require the unfortunate pupil to cooperate in their punishment by proffering their hand or hands and maintaining them in position for the required number of strokes.

In the latter category, I recall an unusual (ar least in my experience) technique used by a female teacher when a girl withdrew her hand at the last minute.  Clearly, the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak, and who can blame the poor girl?  After a couple of abortive attempts, the teacher made the girl sit in the high teacher’s chair and pull back her skirt, and told her to hold her hand palm up above her legs.  As the teacher clearly anticipated the prospect of the ruler striking her bare thigh if she withdrew her hand was sufficient to stiffen the girl’s resolve and the punishment was duly concluded.


Younger children in rural areas were cared for by women.  The men faced hardships outside the home.  Schoolmarms held their charges to a high standard.

Men, farther from the frontier, would use the ferule and not the rod when chastising their naughty female scholars.  Reenactments put on by female school tours usually have girls getting it on the hand and boys on the bottom.  Maybe their teachers suspect that some boys already have their proclivities.


Whenever I got the ruler in class usually as I was capable and willing to answer back, the teacher was always standing and had to hold my hand out without support.


Although I saw a fair amount of SCP while at school, including punishment on the hands as noted in post #3 earlier in the thread, I had very little experience in receipt of corporal punishment to use for comparative purposes and no experience at all of the punishment on the hands.   It does seem to me that severe punishment on the hands must have been very unpleasant because the recipient could see it coming but could not indulge in the usual instinctive reactions to such a contingency.  Or at least they could so indulge, but doing so might well incur yet more severe punishment.


In school, I was hit with a ruler in the classroom in my oft-told story. It was often or not the venial sin of talking in class.

I was not considered the smartest youngster in the class but the smartest in the school.  It wasn’t true.  There was a girl who scored higher.  The good Lord may have been trying to humble me but to no avail.  She asked me the hardest question of the times table.  When I corrected myself when asked 11 timea 12, no sooner did I say 122 I corrected myself and said 132 she said to hold out your hand.  She had a ruler in her pocket.

To this day I don’t know why she gave it on the knuckles reserved for mortal sins. Was it because she expected more of me or did she think I was talking back?  But there have been other questions that have occurred in my life since that I have agonized over longer.  Living in the moment has never been my strong suit.

It was one or two but never as many as in this artistic recreation of a young lady’s unpleasant school memory.  My memories have all been pleasant as you may have gathered.