Hand CaningThe only time I got into serious trouble at school was when we had a temporary supply teacher and I started to show off and make fun of her because I was under the impression she couldn’t punish us.
That was probably right but what she could do was report me to the head of year – and she did. So after school I found myself standing very nervously outside Mr. Smith’s classroom along with another boy from my year but from the A stream class.
He closed the door behind us and took a cane out of a drawer in a cupboard. It was straight handled and about two foot long and about as thick as a finger. I’d known what to expect but I could feel myself breathing faster when I saw the cane in his hands.
He turned to the other boy first and asked him if he knew why he was there. He said yes, it was because he’d left the school without permission during a break and he’d been caught coming back. Mr. Smith gave him a lecture and then asked him which hand he wrote with. That was the right hand so he made him hold out his left hand and moved his hand till it was where he wanted it.
I was watching in alarmed fascination, knowing it was my turn next.
Mr. Smith tapped the cane on the boy’s palm and then lifted the cane and then smacked it down onto his palm. He gasped and pulled his hand away but very soon held it out again, shaking slightly. This time he tapped the cane a few more times before raising it and slashing it down. The boy gasped again and pulled his hand in front of his lips blowing on it.
Mr. Smith watched this for a few moments and then said that he hoped he would remember to keep the school rules in the future. He came back to stand next to me and I briefly looked him in the eye and then away again. He wasn’t crying but from his ex
Mr. Smith called me to him and asked the same question – if I knew why I was there. I said yes and had to go through everything I’d said and done to the new teacher. I got an even longer lecture but by then I just wanted it over with.
Like the other boy I had to hold out my left hand first and Mr. Smith moved it until it was in the right place. When he tapped it with the cane I closed my eyes tight shut.
I didn’t have to wait long and suddenly my hand felt like it had been cut open. I jerked my hand down and my knees almost gave way as I tried instinctively to get my hand as far away as possible. I came up waving my hand and Mr. Smith just told me to hold it out again. It took me a while and then he adjusted the position by flicking it with the cane and told me to keep it still. I closed my eyes again.
The second stroke was just as bad and my reaction was similar. I started blowing on my poor hand thinking it was over.
But Mr. Smith told me to hold out my other hand. Only then did the penny drop about why he hadn’t asked me what hand I wrote with!
I was already crying by now but I knew I didn’t have a choice especially in front of another boy from my year and I held out my right hand. This time my nerve gave way and I tried to pull my hand away at the last moment. But the cane lashed down onto my fingertips and it hurt like hell! I was dancing on the spot with pain but Mr. Smith just said that one wouldn’t count and told me to hold my hand out again. Tears were pouring down by now but I reluctantly held my hand out again. I did not get any credit for the incredibly painful stroke across my fingertips and the 3rd stroke was just as hard. After a lot more tears and hopping around I extended my hand again for what was, thankfully, the last stroke.
Mr. Smith put the cane away and took out a register where he recorded our names, classes and ages and then told us to go and that he didn’t want to find us sent to him again otherwise it would be worse next time.
We went to the toilets and ran cold taps over our hands and rinsed our faces. The other boy told me that he’d had the cane before and had cried the first time too which made me feel a bit better.