Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: Life at Paremoremo Boys' High

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  • David Haywood,

    A Brief Addendum:

    Apart from altering certain details so as to obscure the identity of the school (and various people), I have striven to be accurate in this recollection. Any mistakes are the result of my increasingly aged memory. I know that a number of my former classmates are Public Address readers -- please feel free to correct any errors on my part, and to put forward your own viewpoints in the discussion thread (if you feel that my views are inaccurate).

    I'm travelling at the moment (more on that in the next week or so), and only have limited connection to the internets, but will attempt to respond to any comments ASAP.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Hey Haywwood! We want to go back to the good old days! Bring back corporal punishment. Show a bit of backbone boy! A good thrashing never did me any harm. Discipline needed here! Boot camps are the answer for you Mamby Pambies! :)

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    sits upon a low peninsula in the mudflats between [Removed by DH]

    hmmm Can't think of any rugby obsessed schools there...oh wait... its ****!

    You secret is safe with me, and anyone else in Auckland...

    :)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 188 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Tristan wrote:

    hmmm Can't think of any rugby obsessed schools there...oh wait... its !

    Buggery -- posted the wrong version of the article! Thanks for pointing that out, matey. Those names have now been er... corrected.

    Ian MacKay wrote:

    Hey Haywwood! We want to go back to the good old days! Bring back corporal punishment...

    Yes, didn't we have a wonderful educational system before political correctness and lesbianism ruined everything. As one of my teachers once (inadvertently) put it: "You've got to be cruel to be cruel". I think that's a wonderful sentiment, and it should be the basis of any sensible system for educating children.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    His words lingered in my ears as I passed out of the school gates for the last time: "You're going to be a failure, Haywood. Remember that."

    Horrid, horrid man. The tragedy is that there are still teachers out there like that. I think of all the young people who believe what they are told - and lead lives that strive to prove those teachers right. And those, like you who, by striving or not, because of or in spite of dickheads like the teacher you mentioned, go on and live successful happy lives. My brothers went to Kings Prep as weekly boarders when they were just wee boys of 7 or so. I can remember one of them telling me about how they were made to get up in the morning and swim the length of an icecold pool, even in winter - to toughen them up. And then they both went on to Kings College, where canings and strappings were de rigeur. What on earth did they think they were doing, those masters? How does breaking a child's spirit have anything to do with producing good citizens? All it succeeded in doing was making snobby clones out of them. Thankfully, they grew up and became lovely men. In spite of, I suspect, all that ridiculous shit.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3112 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    canings and strappings

    Luxury! At [redacted] boarding school we had death squads of seniors armed with cricket-balls-in-pillow-cases. Properly inflicted canings and strappings were a walk in the park, by comparison.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    hmmm Can't think of any rugby obsessed schools there...oh wait... its !

    I wonder how many do exist . The sad thing is, I remember that when I was at EGGS. Rugby was, then and now, one of the important aspects of the equivalent boys school. A student I know, recently changed said school to combat his differences (Football and Water polo being his interests), and the change has allowed him to flourish in other areas.
    So David. Did you do Latin? ;)
    P.S.Digression. I have been coming to terms with the ignorance of the community over my loss of an Oak Tree next to my lounge window and am truly amazed at people not wanting to get involved with what seems a fundamentally wrong event. So I am no longer surprised. Disillusioned. What do we learn from all our time at school?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5724 posts Report Reply

  • Felix Marwick,

    His words lingered in my ears as I passed out of the school gates for the last time: "You're going to be a failure, Haywood. Remember that."

    Funny. I remember a teacher of mine saying exactly the same thing to me as I left the hallowed halls of learning/venal institution that was my school. Mind you, given my naked disrespect and utter contempt towards him, I wasn't too surprised about his attitude towards me..

    The school concerned hit the headlines a while back as being a hotbed of violence, bullying, and intimidation. Personally I was surprised it'd taken people the best part of two decades too discover this. It sounded like it was just the same as it was when I had the misfortune to be there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 193 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Disillusioned. What do we learn from all our time at school?

    At schools like the one David describes (and no it's not well disguised - ask the coach), I'll bet the dominant lessons are still not to stand out, stick up for others or question authority. Unfortunately that does not bode well for our chances of ending abuse against people or trees anytime soon.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Unfortunately that does not bode well for our chances of ending abuse against people or trees anytime soon.

    True, and I must admit the Council knows it screwed up and the local paper knew it was wrong so ...small steps, but what I find sad is that, if considered, it is actually really easy to just care for neighbours, and trees and birdlife. (the nest in my palm is an absolute delight at the mo) and education should do that, as well as rugby etc. :(

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5724 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I'm going to print this out and show it to my son every time he complains about his high school.

    I myself went to a namby-pamby liberal high school with vertical forms and peer support and no streaming or corporal punishment. I was going to be a pregnant failure.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4286 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I would just like to take this opportunity to apologise to any staff members of Fairfield College, Hamilton, between 1982 and 1986. While I moaned about various things at the time, I now realise how easy I had it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Recently I overheard a man in a cafe saying to another man, "Headmaster told me I'd never amount to anything. But look at me now - I own my own home and three investments properties, one on the Gold Coast."

    It seems to me that so many people who had awful teachers who told them they were shit have gone on to deliberately defy their teacher's prediction and made something good of their lives.

    Perhaps if I'd had an arsehole teacher in high school, I too could have an investment property on the Gold Coast.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1823 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Or without an arsehole teacher you might make even more of an impact on the world (and I'm sure you've already gone further than merely owning stuff).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    A friend sent her son to a school in Christchurch as a boarder about 4 years ago. On her visit to him he said" Can't wait to next year!"
    "Why?"
    "Cos next year it will be my turn to beat up the young ones."
    My friend spoke to the Head of the Hostel about the violence, and he said "Don't worry about it. Thats what the boarders always do to each other. Toughens them up." (2005!!!)
    The lad was sent to Nelson College instead.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    I would just like to take this opportunity to apologise to any staff members of Fairfield College, Hamilton, between 1982 and 1986. While I moaned about various things at the time, I now realise how easy I had it.

    I had a similar realisation when I left school at got talking, on my Polytech course, to people who had been to other schools.

    A lot of them had been to those 'good' schools around Auckland and the general thing seemed to be they were set up to make the bulk of the pupils miserable.

    At one point my parents had pre-enrolled me as a boarder for St Kentigerns but the slump in the beef market intervened. Having met a few ex-pupils of that school from that time, I just know I would have been very very unhappy.

    My high school teachers - at Waiuku College - were in the main decent people. I wouldn't go so far to say I actually enjoyed school, but most of the time - the first two terms of 3rd form and the last two terms of 7th form excepted - I didn't actually hate it.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    My 18 yr old, 7th form son has just been stood down from Feilding High School for defiance for not getting his hair cut. It's naturally corkscrew-curly, but doesn't touch his eyebrows or his collar - hardly Robert Plant. He's never had so much as a detention before, but the injustice & petty tyranny of it is tragic in this day and age.

    Apart from the strapping, it sounds just like David's old school. Lots of fighting, a bully in a suit for a Principal, the lauding of rugby above all else - I can't think of a single occasion when the Principal has ever encouraged or affirmed my son in 5 years. The waste of it - and for all the other students whose chance for a decent education about things that matter, has been robbed. This is why I don't have any time for the BOT system. They get sucked into backing hard-line Principals and cannot see past them.

    Great writing again, David and very topical.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    stood down for his hair? christ

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3112 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The strap lay on the desk in front of him. It was a formidably solid-looking lump of leather; I could almost have mistaken it for a piece of wood. It bore the inscription: "Approved by the Department of Education, Wellington."

    I am minded now to wonder what would have happened at primary school if I had politely but firmly declined to extend my hand for strapping, explaining that it was wrong.

    I wasn't troubled by the presence of corporal punishment at secondary school: Burnside High had already abolished it, and your story reminds me why that was such a good idea.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    That reminds me that the only time I got the strap was at age 7, for the heinous crime of using the overhead projector to display "the fingers" while the teacher had popped out.

    It had started with Deformed Rabbit, but the encouragement of my peers was too much to resist. Naturally, those who squealed with delight loudest went on to squeal on me when the teacher got back.

    Did anyone ever learn any lesson from being strapped other than not to get caught, or that grown-up are shits?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    It had started with Deformed Rabbit,

    Ah, Stephen. Quoting from the classics again.

    We had a bizarre thing at View Road School (stds 3-form 2) called the Green Bag. This was the bag the strap was kept in. If you got six you got your name written on it.

    It gave the whole thing a bit of warped mystique. The teacher would thunder 'Go and get....[dramatic pause] The Green Bag!' Massed intake of breath around the classroom: pupil trudges off, head down, to deputy-headmaster's office to get the weapon of execution...

    Got it a couple of times, neither really worried me (and I'm not a toughie when it comes to these things).

    I did get strapped when younger, aged six, for, from memory, just annoying the teacher. I was good at that. And that belting did upset me. the teacher was one of those who would apply rules depending on her mood and I think it was the sheer arbitrariness of it which got to me.

    Also the sheer hurt-like-hell aspect. Both hands throbbed for ages.

    I still reckon though the worst thing they inflicted on me at school was folk dancing. Oh the humanity.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    I still reckon though the worst thing they inflicted on me at school was folk dancing. Oh the humanity.

    I had reason to think back to my primary school folks dancing days this week when I attended my oldest's class's danceshow at school. The kids were given a theme at the start of the term, they picked a topic relating to the theme, chose music and then coreographed a dance number. Plus their class work was around the same theme, their artwork got pinned up in the hall to accessorise the show, and their science work was related to the theme (Nature/farming) - they built a worm farm.
    It was a whole lot more like the stage challenge things the high schoolers get up to than the bad old days of the waltz and the gay gordon (cue snickering). And this was the Year 4 class - Standard 2 in old money. I think back to old Tokoroa North School - which was relatively new and reasonably decilicious at the time - and I'm jealous.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 825 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    The teachers and masters at a very prestigious high school in ChCh I attended (between 1994-96) weren't too bad. Pity the same couldn't be said for many of my fellow students.

    My year group guide once told me, "You'll recognise who the boarders are, because they won't particularly like you." I later came to realise that many of them hailed from rural areas, particularly from the Mainland. The nice boarders were nice, the nasty ones were pretty backward and bigoted.

    A lot of the day students weren't much better, especially the 'cashed-up-bogan' types. During 7th Form, about a dozen of these cashed-up-bogans - and I still know the names of some of them - were later busted for drug abuse at an out-of-school party.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3907 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    i got "the Tongue" in about standard one. If you chattered too much, you had to stand on a chair in the corner, with this huge cardboard tongue painted garish pink & red, hung around yer neck, till you expired from dizziness.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    My 18 yr old, 7th form son has just been stood down from Feilding High School for defiance for not getting his hair cut.

    It's criminal that schools still think they can get away with that sort of shit.

    If you haven't already, try www.youthlaw.co.nz, they might be able to help you write some stern letters to try and get the school back on the path of 'worrying about things that actually matter'.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

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