Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original author only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 03 Mar 2018
The Rookie Teacher – First supervision of School Dinners
Thank you, to those who provided feedback on my account of the
Rookie Teacher. I will quickly
comment as follows.
There were I believe a small number of boys who derived sexual satisfaction from being disciplined and a lot more who used to enjoy seeing others punished. Most boys took formal discipline as part of accepted schoolboy life.
My teaching career spanned 35 years and for 20 of these it was permissible to use corporal punishment. However, at the school I taught for the last 2 years only Heads of Year (which I was one), Deputy Head and Head were authorised to do so. Teaching after the ban was more difficult but having the right personality and ability to convey authority was essential. I did have such ability and continued to enjoy my teaching career.
My accounts are accurate but some names and dates are subject to memory confusion and some details have been slightly changed to avoid any possibility of identification.
Now let me turn to one of the biggest challenges of most school teachers, the task of supervising 150 plus pupils who have school dinners. Whether experienced or a newly qualified teacher school lunch supervision was a nightmare. The boys staying for school lunch were split into two groups of approx. 150. All masters except the Head and his Deputy had to undertake dinner time duty and generally this meant such a task every three weeks.
The school canteen was accordingly fitted out with tables which sat 10 boys. There was also a clear dividing space between the two groups of 150 to enable the two duty teachers to carry out their supervision duties. The supervising teachers used to sit with the boys in their group. Any other teachers staying for school lunch used to sit on the masters tables at the front of the canteen.
While it was accepted there would be a lot of chatting and fun by the boys, unless quite a positive approach was applied to the likes of bad behaviour, language and horse play, indiscipline could be a problem.
My first supervision duty was just over 3 weeks into my career and it did prove to be quite difficult. The way the split of boys occurred resulted in me having more boys from the third and fourth years in my group than those from years one and two. Again by some especially the older boys, I was viewed as a rookie teacher and, they set about testing me. Some of the laughing turned into horse play, a younger boy was bullied and was clearly upset, one boy called another a six letter word and I needed to become involved.
It was quite impossible to do so sitting eating my dinner so I quickly gulped down what was left
of my first course and so to speak
walked the line’ by walking alongside the groups of tables. After
passing one table a boy clearly blew a raspberry but unfortunately I did not see who was responsible and
as I walked on and looked back at the tables I saw and heard a boy tell another to
f off. Rather
than walk back I pointed at him and told him to come to my class room at the end of lunch.
When back at my table I kept a good look at the table where the raspberry had been blown. I was quickly rewarded by seeing a boy become very animated and disturbing a younger boy from my class. This time I went down to the culprit and told him to visit me at the end of lunch.
Finally when lunch had finished a second year boy who I had slippered the previous week started to mess around pushing and shoving his mates as he left the canteen. He too was told to come and see me.
When I returned to my class room the three boys were waiting outside. One was Barker who I had slippered the week before, the other two were fourth form boys whose names I cannot honestly remember. I will however, for the purpose of this account call them Barkway and Beach. I told all three to join me in the class room and then lectured them on their behaviour.
The first to be dealt with was Barkway who was the boy who used the ’f’word. He was a tall well built boy with a good athletic body. I told him to bend over and as was my way, had his bottom facing out towards the class. His school blazer when lifted away from the bottom revealed good muscular cheeks and nice fitting trousers which displayed the target area very well. As he was a fourth form boy and such language was not acceptable I decided to administer 4 strokes of the slipper in rapid succession. I do remember I sprayed the strokes against both bottom cheeks and put two across the middle. He took his punishment quite stoically which rather surprised me.
Next was Beach who was the boy who had upset the boy in my class. He was a good looking slim boy and I later learnt was no stranger to the slipper. When bent over he displayed a pert bottom and again as a fourth year boy I thrashed four strokes against his well pushed up and out bottom. There was no outward sign of pain as he was slippered but I do remember as he left the class room he was rubbing his bottom.
The last boy to be dealt with was Barker and, as I had given him three strokes of the slipper
the week before I decided to increase the tariff to four. As was the case the previous time
when bent over his trousers fitted snuggly across two well defined cheeks. After the third
stroke Barker seemed to be struggling and when he got up following the fourth there were tears in his eyes.
While I was carrying out the punishments there were a number of my own class either standing or sitting down talking to their friends. However, once the punishment started the room became very quiet and all that could be heard was the sound of slipper against bottom. The boys were clearly focused on what was happening and I expect relieved they were not on the receiving end.
The next time I was on school dinner supervision duty I decided to put a slipper in my jacket pocket and did not hide it from view. This did not however, stop two boys from getting quite unruly and both had instant justice applied to their bottoms.
The first was a boy from class 1.1 which I taught for History and Geography. He was a red headed
lively boy who I also recognised from living not far from me. He was a friendly boy who could talk his
head off and never knew when to stop. On this occasion he was not just talking loudly but also putting
on a show by standing on his chair and larking about.
I remember going up to him telling him to get down and made him bend over and touch his toes. Once again I made him bend over with his bottom facing as many boys as possible. He was still wearing short grey trousers which when bent over fitted tight across his bottom. I did feel rather mean as I had already decided any boys misbehaving would receive a minimum of 4 strokes. Additionally I did not hold back the force of the strokes and he was quite quickly & freely crying. His name was Michael Carter
However, this punishment was not a deterrent to him and during the next four years Carter bent over for my slipper a few more times.
Carter’s punishment was also not a deterrent to another boy at that dinner time setting with a boy from the third year deciding to throw some food at another boy in his class. He quickly found himself bending over before some 300 boys for a good thrashing. I gave him five strokes and when I had finished he was clearly in pain and lost all his previous bounce and exuberance. Before letting him go back to finish his dinner if he now had the appetite to do so, I found out his name was Southall and recorded this as required by school rules.
I can easily recall the incidents here as I was determined to keep control over these supervision duties unlike my colleague John Hunnable who was also in his first teaching placement. Unfortunately John lost control of his first such duty and had to be rescued by another master.
Young Michael Carter I got to know well, he was a very good cricketer and from the age of 16 played in the same team as myself. He went on to take his ’O & A Levels at the school and turned out to be an excellent student. He never held any grievance against me and developed into a fine young man and became a surveyor. I still sometimes see him at local events and also taught his daughter.
I hope this further account of my school teaching days and the challenges is of continuing interest.