Were you told how many you’d get?

I’m prompted to ask this by a fleeting recollection of an incident when I was in my last year of junior school, 1960–61. I’ve mentioned the incident before, but that was in the dim and distant past, so I’ll go through the details again.

Our class teacher that year was the school’s senior male teacher. Most of the school’s teachers used classroom CP, but instead of keeping a slipper, this teacher adopted the policy of using his blackboard pointer instead. Any boy (and it was always a boy) spotted misbehaving would be summoned to the front of the class and given the command “touch your toes”. The pointer would the be applied once to the boy’s bottom.

The particular incident I remember was when one of the boys committed a particularly serious offence. The boy was called to the front and given his whack; but when he started to stand up he was told to wait, and a second whack was administered. As it happens, I particularly remember the teacher’s stance: the pointer was drawn right back, at shoulder height, before the stroke.

Now the boy started to stand up after the first whack because, at least in that school, classroom punishments involved just a single whack. But when I went to grammar school, classroom punishments would occasionally involve more: two, three, four or even five. I don’t, though, remember any teacher announcing beforehand how many the miscreant would get. Perhaps that was because the punishments were “informal”, so they wouldn’t be entered in a punishment book and there was no need to decide in advance: if the first one wasn’t hard enough, give him another one! Just stay in position until I say you can go back to your seat! (I never experienced a “trip to the head”, so I don’t know what happened there.)

So I wonder what recollections others have. Were you told, or did you see others being told, how many you (or they) would get? If not, how did you (or they) know when to stand up again?


We weren’t usually told in advance, but were told to ‘get up’ or something like that afterwards, or it was obvious that it had finished.  A lot of the time we would know it was going to be just one whack anyway.  I can’t remember any instances of their being any misunderstandings about that, but you do raise a good point that this was something that boys did have to learn, along with picking up on when certain teachers were being sarcastic, and which teachers wouldn’t tolerate ‘witty remarks’ etc.


At Secondary School, I only found out the number of strokes when the headmaster told me once I had been called into his office, and obviously whether it was across my hands or bottom.
At Primary School I was called or led by my ear to the front of the class to be punished or taken to stand in a corner and punished during break. The teacher told me I was going to get a smacked bottom or a spanking, but not the number of smacks to be given.


As you know, my experience in receipt of SCP is limited!

The smacked leg:  I certainly wasn’t either told or aware of how many I was going to get.  In fact until I saw the girl from the next year up who was at the head of the queue one place in front of me seized, secured in the punitive posture, her skirt raised and her reactions as the smacks commenced I didn’t even know what was going to happen.  I was a nervous, unworldly shy little lad and while other children might chatter about smacks, canes etc. I’d no experience of such matters.  Ironic therefore that I became the first of my year cohort to actually experience SCP.

When it came to knowing when to stand up after the leg smacking, that was easy.  You were bent over back to the class, at the side of the seated teacher and pinned firmly under her left arm.  When the smacks stopped and you felt the pressure of the restraining arm relax you could stand up.  Any attempt to do so before that was just defiance and would attract more and harder smacks.

The slippering:  I am fairly sure we were not told how many we would get.  However  I am not absolutely certain of this.  I was so preoccupied with the shame and disgrace of Another_Lurker, undisputed top of the class, ace swot and goody goody supreme being whacked just like some member of the common herd that I can’t even recall how many I actually got.   Nor can I remember how I knew when to stand up from the undignified posture bent over a front row desk facing the class and surveying the faces which mostly appeared to be signalling ‘ha ha, serves him right’, or so it seemed.

In general:  With the exception of the Prefects’ Court, where those so sentenced were told whether they’d be getting 1, 2 or 3 beats, I don’t recall anyone at either primary or secondary school being told how many they were getting.  Of punishments I witnessed I can recall some teachers saying something like ‘Ok, that’s it’ or ‘That will do for now’ to signify the end of a punishment. Usually I think it was fairly obvious to the recipient when the matter was concluded.


In the case of my caning, I knew I was only getting one stroke as it had been a choice between a detention or one with the cane.

Slipperings tended to be three whacks but it did sometimes vary with just a token whack for minor infringements or very rarely a full six.


At senior school the number of strokes of the slipper would be a mystery until after the event..  Between 2 and 8 whacks…6 was fairly regular. As regards the cane, sometimes we were told in advance but sometimes not.  Entry in the punishment book was normally made afterwards.

There was a loose kind of tariff depending on your year so you had some idea.  1 or 2 for 1st year, usually 2 for 2nd year , 3rd year would get 2 or 3 ,4th and 5th years 3 or 4.

At junior School I don’t recollect anybody being told in advance . Arm slaps could go on quite a while  . I think the record was 36.  Leg slaps  were normally 3, 4or 6 on each leg but sometimes (usually on a girl) was only 2 on each. Cane would be one on each hand ,2 on each hand or4or 6 on the bottom .


i don’t recall being told the number of smacks or strokes before being punished.generally you knew what to expect from your own experience or friends and class mates previous punishments, which varied from teacher or situation.my grade 3 teacher who spanked regularly generally called you to her desk and put you over her knee for 6 smacks on your butt,but if you kept messing around or had been in that position earlier you woud expect more and occasionally the back of her wooden hair brush used with good effect .if you were called out the front to bend over for the yard stick, it was generally 3 strokes.this teacher also used the desk ruler on out stretched palms , 3 on each hand generally,and a wooden beach bat on naughty bottoms,generally 3 or4 smacks.because spankings were regular in this class ,everyone knew what to expect.
if you were sent to the office in pimary school it was 1 stoke of the cane on 1 hand.grade 7 our teacher filled in for the deputy head for a term,our relief teacher wasn’t good with discipline,so there was a steady stream of students to the deputy office , which started with the single stoke of the cane , but within a couple of days with a number of repeat offenders it became standard for 1 stroke on each hand to be applied. High school seemed to be 2 strokes of the cane on each hand for first visit to the office , then any repeat visits you expected 3 strokes on each hand.i don’t recall the number or type of punishment ever being a formal  or written  thing, just acceptted an expected if you we caught misbehaving.


If the above is indeed your first contribution here as the Tapatalk totals suggest, may I please say a personal welcome to the Forum.

A most interesting account, and an excellent variety of SCP implements, hands, hairbrush, yard stick,desk ruler, wooden beach bat and cane.

I am a little puzzled by the juxtaposition of terms I associate with the UK and UK influenced schools, such as cane and deputy head and those I associate with the US, such as yard stick and office.  Would it be possible please to say roughly where you were educated and when?

I am though conscious of the fact American linguistic usage has gradually been adopted  here in the UK and it may be that you are young enough to have been influenced by that, in which case my apologies.

However if you were in the US and attended primary and secondary schools where the cane was used it would be most interesting to have further details as I think that may have been quite unusual.