Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: Primary School for Beginners

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    __1990__

    Are you sure? I remember being yelled in in 4th form (1986) by my French teacher who assured me that if was still able to cane me he'd have flayed my hide over some piece of minor impertinence.

    Yes.

    A number of schools had themselves abandoned corporal punishment before then, perhaps yours was one?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3011 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Actually, thinking back, they'd limited it to the headmaster and the dputy headmaster. Presumably my offense was enough to merit a hiding only if it didn't have to be explained to the boss.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    I had some truly wonderful teachers at primary school: Miss Moriarty in J1, Mrs Lawrence in Std 1 and Mr Dobson in Std 3 were all fabulous, inspring and kind.

    Then I had Mr Ward in Std 2. I don't think he quite scaled the heights of evilness David describes but he was pretty nasty. I was confident, talkative and opinionated - all apparantly dreadful traits in a small girl and he took against me in a big way. He'd do things like refuse to allow me to progress to the next level of school journal and then give me a lower than deserved mark in reading. It was made very clear that the only reason I didn't get the strap was because of my gender. Not that he'd have had the chance - I was under strict instructions from my parents that if he even looked like hitting me I was to get up from my desk and not stop running until I reached my mother's work.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Irvine,

    School incinerator? Freakin' SWEET, I remember incinerators, with the gruff caretaker chucking all kinds of mysterious rubbish in there to be burnt to a cinder in the raging inferno. The big rumour going around was he'd throw YOU in there if you were naughty.

    Do schools still have incinerators? Or have they been OSH-ed off site?

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 241 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    In my primary school years (mid 60s) each room had a coal stove for heating (this was an old city school probably built in the 20s with 30ft ceilings and a few 50s prefabs all painted govt-issue yellow) - the caretaker would come in early and light them but it would be teacher's responsibility to keep them going - they used to blow back when the wind blew and more than one teacher crumpled under the load - we lost one reliever sans-hair to a particularly spectacular incident

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2181 posts Report Reply

  • Lea Barker,

    Well, I don't know what changed or when, but gender was not an issue when it came to getting the strap in my early days in the primers. I got the strap twice from Miss Crab while I was still in Tiny Tots, which was 1957.

    My favorite parts of primary school were the lovely wooden speakers high up on the wall from which emanated the Broadcasts to Schools, and the gorgeous artwork on the covers of the music books that we used along with the broadcasts.

    And the artwork for the School Journal, online here:
    http://www.natlib.govt.nz/collections/online-exhibitions/school-journal

    Oh, and in my last year of primary school, getting to design a house and make a model of it because I'd passed all the arithmetic tests ahead of schedule.

    I hope that these days, kids in small town schools have teachers with the nouse to help them discover that actually being a musician, a graphic designer, or an architect is within the realm of possibility, and that the education system supports their efforts.

    Oakland, CA • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    As Terry Pratchett notes in one of his novels, the sound of kids playing sounds magical when you're not close enough to hear what they're actually saying to each other.

    Even quite small kids have a taste for the macabre. My best friend until I was about 7 (when his parents moved town) used to make up incredible stories. He'd do low-level bullshit: I can imagine him doing something like the young chap who told David he was going to report him to the Police for stealing a pie (sorry but I was in hysterics over that story). When we were at kindy he reckoned if you couldn't piss as high as a mark on the wall on the side of the building you'd turn into a girl.

    Several of us then set out to make sure we could reach this mark, which we did, around the time the teacher walked around the corner.

    Another time he reckoned an old building on a neighbour's farm, once a house and now a sort of overflow hayshed, was haunted. A farm worker had gone in there and never been seen again, he said.

    All they'd found afterwards was his boots, which were filled with his blood.

    This did not seem very likely to me, but the level of detail was disturbing, and I checked it out when I got home. My parents took some time to recover.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 805 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    A number of schools had themselves abandoned corporal punishment before then, perhaps yours was one?

    John Key's alma mater, Burnside High, had abolished corporal punishment by the time I got there in (gulp) 1976.

    The deputy principal later told me it had sharply cut the level of other violence at the school.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    In my primary school years (mid 60s) each room had a coal stove for heating

    Yeah, we had rooms with pot-belly stoves. I got put in an advanced maths class in Form 2, which basically amounted to a lot of opportunities to get the poker white hot while the teacher was elsewhere.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Rob Hosking wrote:

    I can imagine him doing something like the young chap who told David he was going to report him to the Police for stealing a pie...

    I'll have you know, Mr Hosking, that it was throwing a pie at a policeman (there was never any suggestion that the pie wasn't my own).

    Your friend sounds like some sort of genius. I wonder what he ended up doing? Perhaps working for Chase Corporation in the 1980s...?

    RE: Abolition of corporal punishment in New Zealand

    The confusion of dates is explained in Educ. Philos. Theory, Volume 37, Issue 3, Page 333: "Corporal punishment... was suspended in New Zealand in 1987 and abolished in 1990."

    Anyone else find the "Corporal punishment was suspended" line kind of funny?

    RE: Coal

    I'm damned sorry I missed out on having coal stoves in classrooms. That would have been excellent.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 992 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    I went to primary school between 1952 and 1959 at North New Brighton. They used straps happily on both sexes then. I was very shortsighted, stroppy, individualistic and, as an eldest child,used to voicing my views.I was strapped often on the hands (and I *love* my hands!) I could detail instances of (to my mind)gross raw injustice, and vile dominance by teachers, and equally nasty stuff from whacked and dominated kids - all I can do is empathise with David and others, and TOTALLY support the ending of corporal punishment within schools & families.
    All whacking people does is - PROMOTE HATE.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    O, anybody want to comment about school milk? (eewwwww)
    Or, school fishnchips? (1 fish & chips = 6d: 12 oysters/ 2 pieces of fishnchips=1 shilling...)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    The next year I was taught by Miss Miniskirts-long-legs who stood at the door after bell and whacked each child with a ruler as they came through the door late.

    Too many readings of The Story About Ping, perhaps. This is why it is so critical that school libraries be well-resourced.

    Some of these stories are heartbreaking. I want to go back in time with Danielle for some serious littlie-hugging (and bully-smiting).

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 457 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Too many readings of The Story About Ping, perhaps

    Thanks, the first review was hilarious!

    It begins:

    Using deft allegory, the authors have provided an insightful and intuitive explanation of one of Unix's most venerable networking utilities. Even more stunning is that they were clearly working with a very early beta of the program, as their book first appeared in 1933, years (decades!) before the operating system and network infrastructure were finalized.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3011 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    (Before my time, but my mother was at primary school in the era where teachers still used the edge of the ruler to smash the hands of left-handed kids until they learned to use their right hand.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Moira Goldie,

    Hello David

    I felt vaguely moved to join in the moaning about primary school. I registered, but don't know quite how to post my little effort. Perhaps by your magic you can do it for me. Here it is:

    Reading over some of your memories of miserable times at school, I thought I’d add my own, very minor, but irritating injustice.

    I was about 10 years old and still had a strong Scottish accent. My new teacher on hearing it remarked witheringly, “The Scots – they’re even more hopeless than the Swiss. At least they managed to invent the cuckoo clock.” Not knowing any better, I remained silent.

    Of course subsequently I discovered that the Scots have invented almost everything! I have brooded on this over the years and it’s my fantasy to track that teacher down - if he’s still alive he must be in his 80s - and triumphantly hand him a list of Scottish inventions (television; telephones; penicillin; antiseptics; lawnmowers; microwave ovens; marmalade; computer games; golf; postage stamp; radar; the steam engine; hypodermic syringes; Mackintosh raincoats; Quinine; pneumatic tyres… and many more).

    So take that, Mr Flanagan, Laingholm School, 1954!

    Waitakere • Since Aug 2008 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    telephones

    See, you and I are going to have to strongly disagree on that one. It's a well known fact that before uttering the phrase "Watson, come here, you handsome thing you," Bell telephoned Antonio Meucci, who had owned a teletrofono for quite some time.

    golf

    Now I know whom to blame.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7390 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Moira Goldie wrote:

    I felt vaguely moved to join in the moaning about primary school. I registered, but don't know quite how to post my little effort. Perhaps by your magic you can do it for me.

    You seem to have done quite well by yourself!

    Yes, the Scots do seem to have invented nearly everything (with the possible exception of the teletrofono). When I used to teach the history of engineering at UoC, I would almost end up merely teaching the history of Scottish engineering for the sections 1750 onwards.

    And to engineering you can also add economics and philosophy: Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Jimmy McGrory.

    And, of course, the Swiss didn't invent the cuckoo clock, it was the Bavarians (before Bavaria became part of Germany).

    So we'll add Mr Flanagan to our hit list of the great villains of teaching.

    P.S. Nice use of 'witheringly'.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 992 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    giovanni, well, the Italians can claim those biscuits with flies in them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Regarding the Scots and their inventiveness...It all comes down to a long tradition of equal access to education. They had the original knowledge economy.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Great stories, let's see if I can lower the standard.

    Even before my induction at the Scuola Elementare Pietro Micca, which looks like a military compound and is named after a suicide bomber (don't believe me? check out the adorable mascotte, a barrell of TNT with tiny legs and arms), I figured that it was going to be the end of my childhood. That's because my notion of what school was was based on my sister, who being nine years older at the time was in her first year of high school, aka medieval boot camp, aka we'll crush you, adolescent scum, aka let's see how you can handle the fundamentals of Greek philosophy in the original.

    As it turns out, the homework wasn't quite as crushing as I had anticipated, but I did have a ghoulish old teacher who tried to correct my left-handedness and who sent me home in tears one day on account of the fact that "there was no room in her classroom for people who made mistakes". But thankfully she retired at the end of the first year, to be replaced by an experimental programme with four young teachers and it was really a lot of fun. So I have nothing much to complain about.

    My most enduring memory of primary school is that of my best mate, holding a football and crying his eyes out on account of the fact that on that particular day we couldn't play soccer during the morning break. They were burning a pile of rags on the middle of our concrete pitch, it was really quite a raging fire, but he reckoned we could play around it. I'll always love him for that.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7390 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    giovanni, well, the Italians can claim those biscuits with flies in them.

    I'd rather claim the Renaissance (oh yes, I was there) but I guess we'll take what we can get these days.

    Regarding the Scots and their inventiveness...It all comes down to a long tradition of equal access to education. They had the original knowledge economy.

    Pity they couldn't invent an alternative to frying all their food.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7390 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Thank god the scots discovered the frying process, before that they boiled everything.....boiled mutton..awfull

    Back to the subject, there are some real heart breaking stories here, again thank god or someone that school is not the best days of our lives
    I went to a country school in the early 50s, kids still wore lace up boots and my chief memory other than all the bullying was the mud, the cold and the exploding pot bellied stoves
    Don't tell me about Maori being strapped for speaking Te Reo in the class room, we were strapped for speaking english

    The one big change with the end of corporal punishment was brought home to me when I was involved with the local High school Boardin the 90s
    When I was at school it was us against the teachers and while they could beat us there was room for us to be subversive
    I managed to endure High school without a canning but that was because I was never caught
    You one would ever grouse on your fellow students but now there was a race to dob each other in
    Made running the place so much easier!

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 545 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    O Mr Tiso, that is a slur on a fine culinary tradition! I am paticularly
    interested in fish/shellfish/seaweed eating and cookery and such were rarely fried - steamed, grilled, cold-smoked, broiled, served with delicate sauces, eaten raw,simmered in milk or made into soups (think of partan bree)...that was what the Scots in the north and islands did with fresh seafood. And there was another cooking tradition for the preserved seafood-
    I'm using were/was/did but can assure you from happy dining experiences in Scotland that ways my Nanna cooked her meats and fish are continued, and enhanced.
    Mind you, we are not talking Glaswegian chippie here...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    The next year I was taught by Miss Miniskirts-long-legs...

    Has anyone had the experience, years later, of looking at their old school class photos and thinking, Actually, that woman who taught me in new entrants was a bit of all right?

    This is a hypothetical question.

    Because it could, you know, happen.

    Hypothetically.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 805 posts Report Reply

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