Monday, 12 July 2010

Common room sadists who disgraced the teaching profession

There has been a lot of discussion recently about how difficult it is to tackle under-performing teachers, which has prompted my own recollections.
My primary school days in the West End area of central London are over half a century old but I still remember one teacher in particular – a Mrs Thorpe – with gratitude for her patience and persistence.
Without her I would have never passed my 11-plus exam and made it to a grammar school. It was here though that I encountered a handful of teachers who should have never been let near a classroom.
None could teach. Their inability bred an anger that manifested itself in varying degrees of physical assaults on the boys in their charge.
The school’s headmaster practised corporal punishment, which somehow seemed to extend the right to a band of male teachers – who I now see were nothing less than sadists – to cane, slipper, and cuff any pupil who was unlucky enough to earn their displeasure.
Rather than install discipline, those schoolboy rebels who resisted punishment or were immune to it became heroes to the rest of us.
For the most part I was never beaten; the majority of my teachers were up to the job; and generally I enjoyed my schooldays.
But looking back my memories are soured by the thought the educational establishment at the time condoned what is now rightly banned throughout the country.
I would argue there is a strong case against physically punishing your own children. I’m not saying it’s wrong to tap your toddler on the back of the hand if he or she is intent on running into the road. But you have lost the argument if you resort to inflicting real pain on your child – at any age.
The teachers about whom I complain were prepared to do so regularly on other people’s children and in my book continue to qualify – although most must be dead – as sick bastards.

5 comments:

  1. I have often been tempted to respond to your posts since my brother alerted me to your blog - and this time I succumb. It was MISS Thorpe - Winifred Beatrice, to be exact. And though you may not have noticed, the male teachers at that school (including the headmaster) were just as ready and adept with instruments of corporal punishment as any in the land. Indeed, it was at that school and not the one which followed (and I was following a year behind you) that I had my only experience of corporal punishment, the slipper for running down the stairs. Which seems to take up all the space allowed! Keep going, Grapefruit old friend - I did not wish this to be a completely anonymous post, by the way, but the profile options have defeated me!

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  2. Dear Anon,
    Thank you for your comment which comes I believe from the other end of the world. This goes with my best wishes. GC

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  3. Well GC, says Jaffa, at the grammar school i went to the headmaster caned me, the english teacher got me suspended for forging my mum's signature for a false sickness absent from lessons excuse, the gym teacher atacked me with arms and legs flailing when i hit a raw nerve with some backchat to him, the german teacher wacked me around the face for throwing back at him a piece of chalk which he had thrown at me, the woodwork teacher repeatedly would break up my woodwork attempts with the words "call this a toothbrush rack", "call this a boat etc", before throwing my efforts into the bin, the geography teacher made me stand outside the classroom for so long that i got bored and set off the school fire alarm and the chemistry teacher used to lay me face down, with my genital area over his genital area and then would lightly pat my bottom and fondle me. All of this was very helpful in getting me to Uni. Mind you there were compensations. Like the day the young female student english teacher sat on a chair ON the desk at which i was sitting with the shortest skirt one ever could ever wish for. The chemistry teacher wacked a friend of mine across the buttocks with his walking stick so hard that the weals stayed there for weeks and weeks. By the way, the woodwork teacher was charged with serious assault at a later date when, nothing to do with the school, he used the horsewhip from the horse he was riding to whip a pedestrian with whom he was having an argument. Ah yes, those were rum days.

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  4. Jaffa,
    Thank you, your comment underlines the headline to my post. These men were sadists. GC

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  5. Another note from the other end of the world - What forgotten memories are brought back! In our old school the notorious woodwork master was not charged with hitting an innocent with a riding crop ... but his wife was. Strange stirrings in cyberspace?

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What do you think? GC