My third caning at grammar school was in the spring term of my first year. I was 12 at the time. This was an era when the cane ruled supreme and my grammar school was very strict. It was a maths lesson and the teacher was Mrs T. She was recently married, in her 20’s, very petite with curly blond hair. She was formally dressed in a red tight fitting dress with red high heeled shoes.

She had announced that we were to have a test and turned the board round to reveal ten questions. We all started writing but the girl next to me was struggling. I was whispering some of the answers to her when I got caught. Mrs T told me to go and stand outside the door for talking during the test.

When the lesson finished I was summoned in. Mrs T told me I would receive no marks for the test and that she would not stand for talking during tests or exams. She told me to go to the school office and collect the cane and book. I tried to explain, but she told me to stop or I would be sent to the Headmaster.

I walked to the secretary and rang the bell. The elderly secretary smiled as she asked what I wanted. I told her I had to collect the cane and the book. She handed them over and I walked back to the classroom. I passed several other pupils who grinned at my obvious discomfort carrying the cane.

I walked in and Mrs T took the cane from me. I was told to remove my blazer and bend over a desk. Mrs T started completing the punishment book and then walked alongside me. I still recall the sound of her high heels clicking towards me. She was soon at my side and I felt the cane touch my bottom. Shortly after, the first stroke cracked down on my bottom. It was hard but did not seem as bad as my previous canings in the first term. How wrong I was when the pain arrived.

Mrs T continued and the second stroke followed. This was harder than the first and made me wince with pain. Mrs T then gave me the third stroke, harder than the previous strokes and I groaned slightly. The fourth stroke was even harder and low down. I let out a slight yelp and felt tears start. To my pleasant surprise I then heard Mrs T start walking away. I was told to stand and face her. She told me to put my blazer on and handed me the book and cane to return.

I walked slowly back to the office and handed them to the secretary who told me to go and rinse my face. Needless to say, I got teased later by some kids.

I was surprised that Mrs T did not give me six strokes because that is what I expected. Mrs T did, however, give me six the next time. I was in the fourth year, age 15, on that occasion and it was in maths again. I had not done my homework because I was playing football the previous evening. Mrs T gave me a detention for that. However, she later caught me looking out of the window and not paying attention. She told me to see her at the end of the lesson.

The lesson finished and I reported to her. It was the end of school for the day. She politely read me the riot act and asked what I thought she should do. I had realised by this time that a detention would mean a visit to the Headmaster under the ‘three detentions in a term’ rule which would have meant six strokes from him. Having had six from him on the bare bottom the previous term, I did not relish another visit. So I suggested she cancel the detention and give me the cane instead for both offences. She thought for a moment before telling me to go and collect the cane and book.

I walked to the secretary’s office and rang the bell. The secretary came and asked me if I wanted the cane and book. I said yes and she handed them to me. I walked back to the classroom and handed them to Mrs T.

She told me to remove my blazer and bend over a chair she had placed at the front of the room. I watched as she completed the book and then bent over. I heard her walking towards me and glanced towards her. She was flexing the cane as she walked. Soon she was at my side and I felt the cane touch my bottom. I did not have to wait long before it cracked on my bottom resulting in a burning line.

She may have been petite but she packed a punch and I winced. Four more strokes followed, each harder than the previous ones and I could feel tears starting. The last stroke was hard and low as usual. This seemed a common practice and it made me gasp with pain. I felt tears roll down my face. It was with relief I heard her walk away.

She told me to get dressed and confirmed that the caning had replaced my detention. However, she reminded me that I still had my homework to do and it had to be handed in the next morning. I recall thanking her as she handed the cane and book to me. I walked back to the office and handed them back to the secretary. She smiled and said: “See you again soon.”

I completed my homework and handed it in the next morning. Mrs T took it and made a comment about avoiding a third detention. She had obviously known why I was keen for a caning instead of a detention. How lucky I was that day.

PLa