Flashback Friday: School Discipline

Mocha With Linda hosts a weekly meme called Flashback Friday. She’ll post a question every Thursday, and then Friday we can link our answers up on her site. You can visit her site for more Flashbacks.

The prompt for today is:

How strict were teachers when you were in school? What were common methods of discipline? No recess? Writing sentences? Being sent to the principal’s office? Were “pops” or “swats” allowed? Did you ever get in “big” trouble at school? If so, what was it for and what happened to you? Were you ever suspended from school? If you got in trouble at school, what happened at home? Was school lunch a pretty relaxed environment or was discipline maintained in the cafeteria as well? If you are a teacher, what have you vowed never to do as a result of your experiences growing up?

My parents told us horror stories of their being swatted on the hand with a ruler or pulled by the ear to the front of the class, but when I was in elementary school, the primary method of discipline was writing an excess of sentences. I think “swats” were allowed at nearly every school I attended, and we had great legends about the paddles used. etc., but I don’t think I ever knew anyone who actually received any. It was very much a method of “last resort.” I don’t remember missing recess being used except once or twice when someone had to work on those sentences, though it was when my kids were in elementary school, and I felt that actually could make things worse for the child who needed to let out pent-up energy. Getting called to the principle’s office was a Really Big Deal. My father always said if we got a spanking at school we would get another one at home. Thankfully I never had to see if he meant it.

The only major trouble I got in was in first or second grade. Some of us were throwing rocks at each other — I don’t remember what we were playing, but it was in fun, not maliciousness. I got hit in the head by a rock and started bleeding profusely. The school had to call my mom and I had to go to the doctor. When I got back to school, all of us involved in the rock-throwing had to stay inside and write “I will not throw rocks” something like 50 or 100 times. At the time I thought that was grossly unfair of the teacher to include me in the punishment since I had been injured. I also remember getting in trouble for saying “doggone it.” If the teacher only knew what kinds of other things I heard at home, she would’ve thought that was pretty tame. 🙂 But I am glad I did learn the importance of watching my language.

I don’t remember what punishments were enforced in junior high and high school except that the Christian high school I went to for two years used demerits. I may have gotten a demerit or two for minor things, but overall I wanted to obey the rules. I would get upset if I thought that a teacher was not happy with me or thought I wasn’t doing my best, so I pretty much stayed out of trouble. There were some teachers who were very hard to please, but overall I didn’t do anything deliberately to cross them.

7 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: School Discipline

  1. Enjoyed your answers. Demerits, I forgot about them. One of our teachers used those. Things are alot different now than when I was in school.
    until next time… nel

  2. Enjoyed reading this. I think you definitely learned a lot more from the rock hitting you than from writing the sentences!

    I remember writing them in clumps of words down the page: I I I I I I will will will will will not not not not not not talk talk talk. . .etc.

  3. So enjoyed this entry and what a difference in school discipline now and then. I certainly had my share of sentence writing and it was pretty much always over talking too much. I did have teachers with the “wicked ruler” but I had forgotten all about it until I began reading some of the other entries. I never got a swat and was so glad because it looked very painful to me.:o)

    A most happy week-end to you@

  4. You just reminded me of my 3rd grade teacher. When we were practicing our penmanship, she would swat us across the knuckles with a ruler if we weren’t forming our letters properly. Other than that, I didn’t get in a lot of trouble at school — although I did once get suspended for half a day.

  5. I’d think that seeing a classmate get hit by a rock and start bleeding would teach me enough of a lesson about the consequences of rock-throwing. Writing sentences seems like a pretty arbitrary and ridiculous punishment for something like that. I don’t imagine any other students persisted in throwing rocks after you got hurt.

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