A new teacher has a problem with three upper sixth form girls
By Joanna Jones
Teaching was a natural career choice for me; it was something that I always wanted to do and I knew that it was something that I had an aptitude for. Thus, after getting a degree in Geography, I applied for and got into one of the best teacher training colleges in the country. The college had strong links to a number of schools for the in-class training element later in the course and I was lucky to get a training place at one of the top girls’ boarding schools in the country, who had an association with the college.
Having come from a government funded school it was quite an education.
The pupils were generally eager to learn and well behaved, although there were certainly those with an over-confidence or mischievous streak that got them into trouble. Other factors were the superb facilities and of course the need for staff (myself included) to be around for support at weekends and in the evenings. The other thing that surprised me was the disciplinary system. Coming from a school where the cane was relatively rarely used, and on girls not at all, it was a shock to see that the slipper and cane were ‘tools’ available to every teacher, and used they were.
Student teachers such as myself were not allowed to punish, although reporting a girl to my mentor, the head of geography, I knew would have the same effect.
To start with in any case my lessons were with my mentor, so there was no scope for trouble. Later we were often asked to help groups of two or three with particular issues, while the teacher worked with the majority of the class.
As time moved on, I had the opportunity to teach small classes on my own, while my mentor helped pupils with particular concepts or worked through their essay marks for example.
Before the incident in question I had only sent one girl to Mr Collins (the geography head) for persistent ‘back-chatting’. She came back about fifteen minutes later and gave a rather miserable apology. Her face was blushing as she did so, and she was additionally rather red eyed and clearly in some discomfort as far as her rear end went (I later found she had got three of the cane). Once it got round that I was prepared to do that, I found I had little issue with class control.
One of the classes was the A-level class of about ten girls. They were a fun bunch in many ways and I had a good rapport with them, particularly as I was advising most on their projects throughout the year.
Three of the girls had chosen ‘urban’ projects which were looking at different facets of the nearby market town’s structure and development. On a number of weekends we would go in a school car for them to do site visits.
Having a driving licence and being over 21, I was asked after Christmas to take them there and help any of them out if they needed it. Previously I had gone with the head of geography, but on the weekend in question he was taking another group elsewhere and it was felt I could support a small group of eighteen year olds.
The morning went as planned; I spent a short time with each of them going through their plans for the day and then left them to get on with it. I had asked them whether they wanted to meet for lunch and was a little disappointed that they were happy to let me do my own thing, so I told them I would be around in the town centre and where I would be for lunch and coffee in the afternoon should they have any problems, or questions on their respective projects. We agreed to meet back at the car at four thirty to return to the school.
I had a pleasant day looking around and found myself mentally making notes on points that the girls might think of considering in their respective dissertations.
I guess they would consider themselves very unlucky that I saw the three of them giggling as they exited “The Stag and Hind” at nearly three o’clock and head into the local newsagents to purchase, as I later found out, some strong mints.
To say that I was surprised would be an understatement. As they had not seen me I decided to get some facts first. The barman was initially not forthcoming, but when I pushed him with a threat to call the police for underage drinking (an empty one as all three were already eighteen, but he didn’t know that) he became much more forthcoming when I assured him the school would deal with the matter internally.
It appeared they’d been at the bar since just after noon and had had a pint each with their lunch as well as around three ‘shorts’ during the remainder of the time.
Before I left he let me use his phone to contact the school. The deputy head told me to bring them to his office as soon as I got back to the school.
I decided that if I could find them I would return to the school immediately. There seemed to me little hope of them doing any useful work in a partially inebriated state. I found them shortly after looking rather flushed sucking on their mints near the town cross.
Innocently I asked about their work and they proceeded to tell me about their project as if they had indeed been working. I then asked to see the notes they had made and there was a sudden reluctance – excuses such as they need to be tidied up etc appeared.
Finally I said: “So the real reason is not that you spent too much time in the pub then?”
Rebecca was the quickest to recover from the rather shocked, guilty looks that resulted. She claimed to have gone in to interview the landlord as part of her project on the development of businesses in the town (the project part was at least true) and taken the others with her for moral support.
“So you didn’t have anything to drink then?” I asked.
There were some looks between them before Samantha admitted that they had had a soft drink each while interviewing him across the bar.
It was time to drop my bombshell. “Funny that, the barman told me that you’d had quite a bit to drink with a pub lunch.” As I proceeded to list the beverages consumed the guilty looks turned into very worried ones. They, like me, knew that the school rules were very strict on this point.
Samantha, the leader of the three, started to plead for me not to ‘tell on them’, (I had not told them that it was already too late for that) and when I said that was not possible as I was nominally responsible for them, she threw caution to the winds.
“If you report us we will say that you were with us in the bar and had a drink too. It will be three against one, and we may be in trouble, but you’ll be dismissed!”
Rebecca nodded to back her friend up, while Jane, the last of the trio, looked very uncomfortable as finally she acceded to her friends and supported them.
I was shocked at this blatant threat to lie, and I suspect that the alcohol had seriously clouded their judgment. I decided on a rather radical approach, and ordered the three girls to follow me to the police station.
I spoke to the desk sergeant and told him that the girls thought I had been drinking and I was to drive them back to the school and asked if he would breathalyse me! He agreed and soon I was blowing into a bag with of course a completely clear result. He also promised to phone Mr Lowes, the deputy head (the school had a good relationship with the local police) and let him know what had transpired.
I was still seething on the journey home, which was conducted in near silence. Jane had tried to apologise at one point but I told her bluntly that I did not want to know.
Finally we pulled up outside the school and I escorted the girls to Mr Lowes’ office and lined them up outside. He was waiting for me and once inside I rather passionately outlined what had happened.
I was quite nervous during this as I felt that what had happened was in part my fault. However, the deputy told me not to worry and indeed complemented me on the way I had dealt with the situation.
He then said something, to me, rather odd. “So Ruth, can I ask what your view of corporal punishment is?”
My reply was that it was not something I especially liked but I did not have any fundamental objections.
“The reason I ask is these girls have both let the school down and in particular let you down. In addition they both lied to, then threatened, you. As a result I was going to suggest that you cane them.”
“I thought that was not allowed!” I exclaimed.
The reply was that that was not quite true; it was permitted with his, or the Head’s, permission”
I was not sure what to say, and eventually he said: “I tell you what, I will give the girls the choice. Okay?”
I agreed, and he then gave me a quick outline of what to do if the girls elected to take their punishment from me. The three sixth formers were then ushered into his office.
The three girls looked to have sobered up considerably knowing the prospect of what awaited them. After a perfunctory inquest at which all the girls admitted their guilt, he then lectured them long and hard about their behaviour. Jane had tears silently running down her cheeks long before he had finished.
Finally he got to the point. They were to lose sixth form privileges (mainly uniform based) till the end of term, forbidden to leave the school without his express permission, and when out on project work (or for any other reason) they would have to wear full school uniform at all times. Finally they were each to be caned.
He then gave them the choice: of six each with his cane (a real brute of a rod which was a little over three feet) or they since it was me they had let down they could get it from me, in which case a slightly shorter (though still relatively thick) cane would be used, given my relative inexperience.
Not much of a choice, I reflected, as all three unsurprisingly decided to have their six from me.
Mr Lowes handed me the cane and indicated I should start in my own way.
I confess to being very nervous as I flexed the stick gently in my hands, wondering which of the options outlined earlier to use. The three of them were looking at me very nervously. Mr Lowes waited quietly to one side of the room as I made my decision.
“Right girls,” I started. “I don’t need to tell you how disappointed and upset I am. I promise you I am not going to be going easy on you! Jane, Rebecca, get your jeans off. Samantha, tuck that dress up out of the way under your jumper, then I want all three of you standing facing that wall with your hands on your head!”
That came as a shock I saw. Mr Lowes normally didn’t bother with that, choosing a cane that would leave an impression through whatever clothing the girl was wearing. I was not deliberately embarrassing them, but wanted to avoid inadvertently hitting too high.
Samantha started to argue. As far as I was concerned that was merely an opportunity to acknowledge her leadership in making the threat earlier.
“Silence and do what you’re told!” I ordered. “Two extra strokes, that’s you up to eight.”
She started to address Mr Lowes. “But, that’s not…”
“Nine,” I interrupted her.
Mr Lowes shrugged and said: “You made your choice on who was to punish you. She is now in charge, and I suggest for your bottom’s sake you do exactly what she says!”
Samantha opened her mouth, then clearly thought the better of it and joined her friends getting ready, tucking a very expensive looking fashionable mini-dress, which did not reach even to her mid-thigh, up under her jumper she was wearing on top. (When not in uniform expensive fashion was a penchant of Samantha’s. Her parents were quite wealthy and she was over indulged, in the view of quite a number of teachers) I remember being surprised that morning that she had not worn tights at least, as it was not warm, however obviously she felt it would have impeded her look. Soon she was facing the wall with her friends, whose bell bottomed jeans were already on the floor in front of them.
I could see why she had objected to taking her dress up. Unlike the other two, Samantha had a pair of, again, expensive looking, fashionable at the time, French knickers on that can only be described as sheer. They certainly looked very flimsy and were essentially transparent at the back (and pretty much so at the front too) with quite intricate lacy leg cuffs at the bottom. Apart from their sheer-ness providing limited modesty, they were going to provide almost nothing to protect her from the cane I was subconsciously flexing in my hands.
Leaving the girls to ponder their fates I grabbed a wooden chair from the edge of the study and placed it near the desk.
As I turned to the three girls backs I needed to decide who to take first. Originally it was my intention to deal with the least culpable first and work up to Samantha as I got my eye in. However, the ability to see the strokes land made it tempting to reverse the strategy.
Mr Lowes, seeing my indecision, came across. “Start with Jane,” he suggested in a whisper. “She’s not been caned before and I find that it can distress a first timer more to see others thrashed. Also you should perhaps make the effort to be accurate at first.”
I was surprised that Jane had completely avoided such a punishment at that school, but then remembered she had come directly into the sixth form, where corporal punishment was a much less frequent occurrence.
I called Jane across. She looked petrified. I knew to keep things as businesslike as possible. “Right, bend over the back of the chair and grab the front legs as far down as possible. Keep your legs straight.” I ordered.
She took her time in draping her body over the chair, but all too soon for her, I guess, she was in position with her plain white knickers stretched tightly, covering most of her bottom.
“I want you stay in that position till I say you can stand up. If you fail I will give the stroke again. Is that understood?”
A barely audible murmured: “Yes,” emanated from the chair.
“I beg your pardon?” I asked angrily.
“Yes, miss,” wailed Jane much more clearly.
I turned to the two backs. “Rebecca, Samantha, the same will apply when it’s your turn, clear?”
They both replied in the affirmative and I turned nervously to start the punishment. I started to line the cane up for the first stroke, aiming right across the centre of the target.
However, before I could continue, Mr Lowes came up to me again. “Stand a little further away,” he said quietly. “When you cane you tend to lean into the stroke and the cane can wrap around the hips. Also go a bit further round, it is better if the cane hits the nearer buttock slightly before the other. The cane’s flexibility will do the rest.”
Having adjusted my stance I lined up the cane again, watching Jane’s bottom flinch mildly as I gave a few preparatory taps.
Then slowly I raised the cane back and then brought it down fairly hard onto the target. There was a hum and a crack followed by a gasp from Jane as she felt the pain a cane can inflict for the first time.
I raised the cane again, then saw Mr Lowes gesturing to me to slow down. I remembered his advice to take my time.
Slowly, I instead tapped as I lined up the next stroke, mentally counting to ten as I did so. Then with a bit more force I brought it down slightly above where I estimated the first had landed. A rather pained grunt from Jane indicated that she had felt the impact.
Mentally counting to ten again, I whipped the cane down harder just below centre. This time Jane gave out a loud “O-o-oh” as the third stroke bit.
Halfway through and I wondered about what to do with the remainder. Mr Lowes had pointed out that one needed to be careful caning on the lowest part of the buttocks near the thighs and that he always tried to make the last stroke or two harder than the others as a reminder.
I therefore decided that the fourth stoke would be the lowest, so to allow a little more error on the last two on the accuracy front.
I placed the cane on the lowest part of her buttocks, just above the crease of the thighs, and slightly below the majority of the leg elastic of her knickers. I glanced at the deputy head for reassurance.
He nodded that it was okay and concentrating as hard as I could I slowly brought back the stick and whipped it firmly down with a satisfying crack. Much to my relief it landed bang on target.
Jane gave a scream and I heard her sob: “Oh no, please no.” However, to her credit, she didn’t move from her position. Her hands were still gripped tightly round the front chair legs.
I meanwhile watched as for the first time I saw the effect of the cane turning the skin briefly white before reddening into the classic tramlines.
Last two strokes. I felt I was beginning to get the hang of this. The cane was feeling less unwieldy in my hand, and hearing Jane’s reaction was demonstrating why the boys at the school I had been at only five years before considered it such a feared deterrent.
Lining the cane up a little above the last one, more or less along the line of the bottom of her knickers, I brought it down much harder, to a much louder scream from its victim. It landed slightly lower than I had expected, close to the last stroke and the redness of the weals was beginning to merge as I lined up the last stroke on the lower part of her knickers.
Having slightly misjudged the position of the previous stroke I did not put all my force into the final blow, but it was still hard enough. Jane’s scream was the most pained yet. I was glad she did not move.
After mentally counting to ten, I told her to stand up get back to the wall with her hands on her head.
She raised herself from the chair I saw a very distressed face as she turned and staggered across to the wall tentatively touching her bottom as she did so, which I decided not to make an issue of. I watched as she gripped her hands together in her hair and turned my mind to the second miscreant.
“Rebecca,” I called. “You know what to do.”
I watched as she, pale faced, came across the room and got herself over the chair. Being the tallest of the three this was easy for her, but she left her legs bent. Mr Lowes signed to me and I knew what he meant.
“Straighten those legs!” I ordered firmly, gently using the cane to push up at the lower part of her hindquarters. She quickly complied.
Her, rather small for her, pink, patterned panties rode up somewhat meaning that the lower part of her bottom was essentially unprotected. I suspect like Samantha she was wishing she had opted for “plain underwear of a conservative design” that was the rule for sixth formers in uniform. (the more junior years had to wear bottle green regulation underwear, in line with the dominant colour of the knee length tartan uniform skirt)
I took my time in lining up the first stroke, turning to check I’d got my stance correct. Mr Lowes nodded and, after a few taps I whacked the cane down a little above centre. To my surprise Rebecca managed to remain silent.
After pausing for my requisite mental ten count, I whipped the cane down harder, aiming a bit above the first one. In my effort it had landed a little higher still and I saw my “trainer” mouth: ‘Careful,’ as it was near the upper limit of the area that one should consider. It was clear that, perhaps due to prior experience, Rebecca was not easily going to show the pain I knew she must be feeling.
I was a bit nervous now as I knew I needed to be both accurate and hard if I was to get the message home. Concentrating as hard as I could I brought the cane down as hard as the previous stroke right in the middle of the target. To my relief it landed spot on, and I was rewarded with a gasp from Rebecca.
It was clear to me now that I needed to concentrate absolutely if each blow was to be given properly. Following the same strategy as for Jane I whipped the fourth hard near the base of her buttocks, an effectively bare target, and was rewarded with a small scream.
With the adrenaline flowing in me, nerves from being watched I whipped the cane down as hard as I could about an inch above the lowest stroke, again her knickers gave no protection at point and the wail from Rebecca was followed by many leg movements and wriggles as she tried to will the pain away.
I waited for a little longer until she was more or less still again. I could see enough to know I had a pretty big “window” in which to place the final stroke. I did not hold back and the stroke crashed into her bottom ever so slightly above my target.
Rebecca screamed and stood up gripping her bottom tenderly. She clearly thought having taken her six strokes her ordeal was at an end.
She had of course forgotten my instruction to stay in place until I gave permission to stand.
“I said stay in position until I said so! Back over the chair, we’ll have that last stroke again.”
Rebecca looked at me in shock and I could see a desperate desire to plead or argue. However, guessing the consequence of that, and seeing that Mr Lowes was not obviously going to come to her rescue, she gave a sob and bent over the chair again.
Mr Lowes came up to me and suggested quietly in my ear: “Why not try a cross stroke?” I find it a good reminder in such circumstances.
Taking aim carefully I whipped the cane diagonally, crossing all the lowest four weals, again as hard as I could. Rebecca gave a wail of pain but stayed down. After about a minute I let her stand, noticing the final ‘extra’ had clearly broken her resolve not to cry.
That just left Samantha. The deputy had told me she was a tough cookie, who seemed to get herself into more visits to the school offices than any other senior girl, (her behaviour was the main reason most teachers felt her over indulged) where she would take her punishments pretty bravely. Having threatened to try to get me dismissed I was determined to at least ensure she remembered my caning for a long, long while.
She looked almost defiant as she came across and took position over the chair. Her pale bottom cheeks were soon in the air with her heels raised slightly from the floor as she was quite petite.
I tried to concentrate on channeling the controlled anger I felt into each blow. Taking aim at the exact centre I whipped the cane down as hard as I could on her waiting bottom. There was a resounding crack but no reaction from the girl as the weal turned red under the gauze panties in front of me.
Concentrating hard I gave another full force blow above the first. It landed a fraction lower than I expected, just above the previous one, and the two weals could be seen merging into one. A faint grunt was all Samantha provided.
After my usual mental count and using slightly less force I whipped down the top stroke. Samantha remained stoic.
For the fourth stroke I landed a stroke right on the crease of her bottom, just below the loose lacy fringe to her French knickers. I finally got a gasp from the girl. Mr Lowes indicated I should not go any lower. I therefore aimed just above that lowest strike using the lacy leg cuffs as a target. The full blooded crack was accompanied by ‘Oo-ooh’ as it landed on target just above the previous stroke.
I could see that Samantha was beginning to twitch, although her petite frame limited the movements over the chair. I had some satisfaction, to be honest, in knowing I was getting through to the girl, especially as I was certain she was the instigator of the pub visit in the first place, given her track record.
I decided to put the next stroke just above again, right on the broad lace band, and whipped it down full force, eliciting a scream from Samantha as it more or less landed on top of the previous stroke. Mr Lowes came across and whispered to keep away from that area for the last three, as one wanted to avoid cutting the skin.
Given that, I decided not to give a cross stroke as I had Rebecca, but instead placed the remaining three in the gap between the weals of the bottom trio of marks and those of the first three. The strokes were given as hard as I could, with me remembering to put some wrist in to increase the impact. Samantha screeched each time as the cane cracked into the lower half of her rear end. It was enough to ensure I saw a very sorry face when I finally let her stand.
I doubt the girls really listened to the Deputy’s final admonishments, given after Jane and Rebecca had both struggled back into their jeans. Samantha had the easier job of just dropping her dress back down. After he had sent them to their dorms to reflect on their behaviour, he congratulated me on having learnt the ‘art’ pretty well for a first timer.
So was the lesson useful to me? Perhaps in the short term, yes. A student teacher lies in a sort of limbo land between pupil and ‘real’ teacher. It was beneficial in that it mentally clarified to me and some of the older students which side of the divide I now was on. Ironically, even with the three girls I had caned, the relationship was easier and more productive than before.
However, using the cane, I would say not in the long term. The first couple of schools I taught at only allowed the assistant heads and above to slipper or cane and by the time I was promoted to that level the world was a very different place, where (I would say for the better overall) that sort of punishment had disappeared, I expect for good.