Teachers – how did they develop their CP skills!

At the boy’s school, I went to in the early 70s the slipper was used regularly. A few teachers also used a leather strap or a cane.

I have often wondered how teachers developed their punishment routines. Did they discuss their methods with each other, or give each other tips of what to do? Did they talk to each other about punishments they had meted out? Or did they base their punishments on their own experiences when at school?

And what about new teachers? Did they receive any specific advice etc?

An intriguing thought is whether some teachers even practiced on each other! (Unlikely, I know!)

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We had a games master who also taught French and German, and he was a very keen user of the slipper, particularly in games, usually basketball or athletics. After a couple of years, he married the girl’s PE teacher who was also reputed to use the slipper although I never saw her do this.

I don’t recall it being mentioned at the time, but some years later I was talking about the old days with some old school pals and I did suggest that they actually practiced slippering each other. It is very possible.

They got divorced a few years after they were married, but he is still around and I still see his pal , my old housemaster, from time to time. Not sure if I have the bottle to ask him about his old mate and wife though!

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One of the reasons I ask this is that I recall some new teachers in their early to mid-20s starting at my school. I remember one started, after a week or two, to use a strap to punish us. I know he picked this up from the Games master who used the strap frequently – and this new teacher would assist at Games so saw it’s use first hand. I remember once the Games master wanted to whack another lad in PE but didn’t have his strap with him, so sent the boy to find this other teacher to borrow his “persuader”. So, this boy had to track down the other teacher, ask in front of the class he was teaching to borrow the strap, then bring it back to the gym where he got a whacking then had to return it – obviously the teacher he returned it to and the class of boys must have been fully aware what had happened!

A couple of other teachers who were new used a slipper instead – at some point they must have been told they could do so! It must have been an interesting conversation! They must also have been made aware that most classrooms had a slipper available in the teacher’s desk – very handy indeed.

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In “Spare the Rod” (RIP Max Bygraves) there is a scene where the headmaster gives the new teacher a quick demonstration of how to give hand canings. In one of the debates about abolishing (or bringing back) the cane, an MP said that when he first became a teacher, the headmaster put a leather glove on and instructed him to give him the cane, to demonstrate he was prepared to it hard enough. And I have read that in the Olden Days when you graduated from Oxford or Cambridge — which meant you were qualified to be a teacher — but of the ceremony involved giving a boy the birch. (The boys volunteered and paid a farthing for their trouble.)

I once read a book about English “Public” Schools which mentioned that new prefects would “practice” caning each other. But I bet that’s where most teachers learned to use the cane: most of them would have been school prefects, and I bet the school prefects learned whacking techniques from each other.

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Until very recently, corporal punishment was a regular part of school life in South Korea for students of all ages. I’m not quite sure what Beth B meant by “group punishment” in this instance, but it is not uncommon for all students who fail to complete an assignment or do not achieve the required marks in one of the regular tests to be punished in front of their classmates.

Beth B goes on to say:

The implement that was used was something between a paddle and a cane applied full force to the bare buttocks, which was very humiliating and painful.

There is a wide range of punishment implements used in Korean schools. In state high schools the regulations state this should be a wooden rod up to a maximum of 60cm long and 15mm wide. In high schools up to ten strokes are permitted. I don’t know what Beth B describes as “full force” but in my experience, the strokes are rarely given with as much force as might have been used in an English school caning. In general a greater number of lighter strokes are given.

In private and “cram” schools, some harsher régimes exist, but again there is a tendency to use more strokes rather than more force.

I have not come across any instance of punishment being given on the bare buttocks in schools. That doesn’t mean to say it has never happened, but it is unlikely. I have read blog entries that refer to such punishments at home and I suspect that is more likely, but even those accounts often appear to be embellished.

Corporal punishment is commonly applied to a number of areas of the body that are easily accessed without removing clothes. The oldest tradition is the hit the bare calves or thighs but also the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.

State school regulations require that boys should be punished on the buttocks and girls on, what is rather charmingly described as “the fleshy inside of the thigh”. Some time ago, I came across a complaint by some girls that this meant their punishments were more painful and they demanded equality! In reality, schools don’t necessarily follow the regulations and boys are also commonly punished on either the back or front of the thighs.

Beth B says the punishments were “very humiliating and painful”. I suppose for someone from a Western culture, they may find it humiliating. As corporal punishment is so common, Korean students might describe it as irksome rather than humiliating. That these punishments are painful is not in doubt, but if Beth B only experienced them on the buttocks, which would be highly unusual (and I would say unlikely for a girl), then she might have been surprised by just how painful they are when used on other parts of the anatomy.