… the strap?
It’s the stuff that legends were based on. I remember walking to school with some much older friends and their conversation, obviously geared to scare me, talked about how the teachers would use “the strap” every time I did something wrong. I can still remember being so afraid of what would happen.
It was a source for conversation when a classmate was detained at recess or after school. We’d be there to ask “did you get the strap?” Show us your hands.
At the time, I had never seen this feared device of punishment. My understanding was based upon looking in books or in conversations with others. I think I envisioned this huge whip like device like you see used by horse jockeys. There was also a rumour that it was filled with tacks pressed through it to make sure that the most pain was inflicted and blood would be drawn.
It was scary stuff. Even though I’d never seen it, I kept me on the straight and narrow.
Well, for the most part anyway.
I think I was in Grade 3 or 4 when I came in contact. I don’t recall what I did or why I was singled out, but I was kept back after school. The teacher, I still remember her for this, brought the strap out and sat down in the desk in front of me. I remember two things from that encounter.
- Will she get in trouble because she was sitting facing the wrong direction? What if she made the desk get out of line?
- The strap didn’t look all that intimidating. It actually looked like a big chocolate bar. I didn’t see any tacks in it. How much could it hurt?
I suppose that that would based upon how angry the teacher was at me for whatever I had done. So, I tensed up as I prepared for the worst. As it happens, I just got a strict lecture and then got released. My friends were bizarrely disappointed when I reported that I got off.
I became the best of students at least for a while after that event. I did learn that the secret was to be sneaky and not get caught.
An extremely interesting read can be found in this document from the Canadian Education Association – Banning the Strap: The End of Corporal Punishment in Canadian Schools. You might think that this is ancient history and might be surprised at the year where it actually banned the use in Canadian schools.
How about you?
- Are you old enough to remember or have actually been disciplined by some form of corporal punishment?
- Chances are, if you’re reading the blog, you’re an educator and did well in school. What kept you honest?
- What are the more effective methods of classroom management that work well for you?
As always on a Sunday, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.
Please share them via comment below.
Do you have an idea or thought that would be appropriate for my “Whatever happened to … ” series of blog posts. They can all, by the way, be revisited here.
Please visit this Padlet and add your idea. I’d love for it to be an inspiration for a post!