Methods of discipline changed in schools

Columnist recalls receiving early school years and receiving the strap in elementary school

The doors that swung solidly shut behind a hoard of excited teachers and students, all so very ready to escape the stuffy, closed captivity of the classroom, have suddenly swung open once again.

School’s back in!

Several of the branches of my family tree are affected by this perennial happening and, for the most part, it appears that the reaction is about the same for all involved.

They don’t want to talk about it.

Teachers! Books! Classes!

Too much fun! Not!

“I love school!” Did anyone say that? Ever! Probably, but I’m not sure who or when.

As for myself, I cannot ever remember loving school or even liking it, for that matter, but still, I remember moments.

Some good moments, some not so good!

Lemon tea. I had this teacher in elementary school who used to let my girl friend and me stay after school and share lemon tea with her. She brought it to school in a big silver thermos.

“Lemon tea,” we would say to ourselves after our treat smacking our lips and being all-smug because we were sure we had unknowingly stumbled onto the lofty status of being teacher’s pets.

Sadly, I fell from the heights of that lofty status one day when that same teacher, the bearer of lemon tea, gave me the strap.

I was seriously offended, but it didn’t matter.

I got it anyway. One stinging slap on my poor little left hand.

It wasn’t my fault. To this day I still maintain my innocence, but rules are rules. As it so happened, that particular rule pertained to spelling. There were three words we, the class, should know how to spell probably because we had been repeatedly taught these words. The punishment for getting one or all of these words wrong was punishment doled out by the teacher wielding that dreaded, most hateful thing at the front of the room.

The strap!

I remember it to this day. The strap and the reason I got it. One of the words we were not to misspell was ‘beautiful’. Of course, I knew how to spell it, I’m sure I did, but in my prideful over confident way, I wrote it out quickly and my ‘u’ looked liked an ‘i’.

I tried so hard to explain my little faux pas to the teacher, but it was like my serious, heartfelt explanation fell on deaf ears.

She gave it to me anyway.

“Ouch.” Receiving the strap was not one of the shining moments of joy I experienced in the hallowed hall of learning, but, strangely enough, the experience did not diminish the affection I felt for that particular teacher one tiny bit.

Of course, I realize that teacher would be ousted from the schoolroom in short order in this day and age if she ever displayed the strap as a form of punishment.

But I have to say the disciplinary method was quick, effective and worked for me.

I never, ever did forget how to spell the word beautiful.

Just sayin.’

To this day, I cannot remember if I ever told my father about the little incident. Probably not.

In those days if you got in trouble at school, it did not bode well for you to bring it up at home.

It only made things worse, and not for the teacher!

Looking back down those long dark corridors in my mind where memories live, for the most part, undisturbed, I only remember moments, not days.

School days! We’ve all been there and we all have our moments to remember.

And, then there are those other moments. Moments which are probably best forgotten and quietly erased from the blackboard of time.

Moments like getting the strap.

Oh well, I guess it’s too late now.

My secret is out!