Schools could learn from the short, sharp, shock

PUBLISHED: 10:35 01 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:37 06 May 2010

I AM just about old enough to remember when the classroom belonged to the teacher. The days when a youngster s sharp wit aimed towards a teacher would result in a sharp crack aimed behind their ear, and an additional period of five minutes standing in the

I AM just about old enough to remember when the classroom belonged to the teacher.

The days when a youngster's sharp wit aimed towards a teacher would result in a sharp crack aimed behind their ear, and an additional period of five minutes standing in the bin with your nose pressed against the painted wall, are still crystal clear in this 20-something's mind.

I can also recall that if you were more than 30 seconds late back from the toilet at primary school you were greeted by a seething, red-faced Scottish history teacher with a ruler in his hand waiting to slap it down hard into yours.

It is with no great fondness that I remember having to travel home with red hands, a white nose and a bit of a limp, and in no way do I condone being slapped on the palms by a madman with a ruler.

However I do recognise that because my teachers had a complete hold over their classrooms I benefited from a rather decent education, and I made my way into the big wide world with a whistle on my lips and a skip in my limp.

Maybe I am recalling my time at school through rose-tinted spectacles.

If I think that little bit harder I can still remember a young school chum of mine bounding across the school playing fields with money from the tuck shop firmly in his hand and three teachers in hot pursuit.

But I can't help but think, wasn't school better back then?

On taking the place of this page's usual resident, I was told to reminisce; to look back and think about how things once were and how they are now.

And that was my first reaction when I spotted a survey in a national newspaper which stated that violence in the classroom was worsening and that 92 per cent of teachers have suffered verbal abuse and that 49 per cent have suffered physical abuse.

I realise this is no laughing matter; after all, it's a very serious affair. But looking back at my time at school I cannot really remember any teachers at my schools being physically abused. I would imagine there were far fewer back then than now.

And I wonder how much of it is down to how much control teachers are allowed in classrooms.

I'm in no way advising that teachers should stand outside the lavatory with a stopwatch in one hand and plastic ruler in the next.

I just think that using discipline in a controlled manner would be beneficial to all parties; teachers would be able to teach more, and children would be able to learn more. A little discipline would not leave a child scarred for life.

The worst that could happen is that they can still smell the paint almost 20 years later.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Comet. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the The Comet