In the South- School Teacher
The school in Cowgill was K-12th grade.
There were 13 teachers, 1 substitute, and two coaches who coached all
sports. Unlike many schools, in every grade you only have one
teacher. In high school we did not switch classes, one teacher
taught all the same subjects. So, of you ended up with a teacher you
hated, you were stuck with them for the full 9 months.
I always thought that most schools were
like mine. Every teacher had a paddle and so did the Vice-Principal.
I found out later in life that most schools that allow paddling, only the
Vice-Principal can administer it and with a witness. These rules did
not exist in Cowgill and I was at that school until 1983. As far as
I know, it has not changed at all.
Most discipline issues were dealt with by
the teacher of the class. All teachers had a paddle (although
sometimes a strap was used for the younger grades). We all knew who
the paddling teachers were and who were not. It seemed all the
teachers paddled occasionally, but some teachers paddled almost everyday.
When you were in one of their classes you were always on your best
behavior (I guess that is the point). There were also a couple of
female teachers who would refer you to the office more than they would
paddle themselves. The worst paddling teachers for me were in the
7th grade and the 11th grade. These were the kind of teachers in
which the paddle stayed in the desk full-time, it was used that often.
The paddles were built by the shop teacher/guy's coach. Every paddle
in the school was exactly the same. They were had oval shaped heads
and a long handle. They kind of resembled a small boat oar.
Each paddle had 2 rows of 4 holes and was about 1/2-3/4" thick.
My 7th grade teacher was a female.
She was the only women in the school with a reputation as a paddling
teacher, as well as being known for hitting hard for a women teacher.
Very occasionally we would go a day without a paddling in our class, but
that was the exception. More frequently there would be 1-3 paddlings
a day by her. The school policy on paddling in the class was very
clear and all the teachers followed it exactly. Guys could be
paddled in front of the class, girls could not. Occasionally a guy
would get paddled in the hall, like the girls, but they mostly took place
in front of everyone. When a guy got in trouble in class, she would
call them to the front of the class, pull her chair our from her desk, and
have them bendover her desk, facing the class. This was tough for
the guys because everyone got to see how they took it all.
Certainly, a guy that cried (which happened on occasion) heard about it
for weeks from his friends. I do not know if it was school policy or
not, but I do not know of any paddling at our school that consisted of
more than 10 strokes. It seemed 4-6 was the most common sentence.
She would paddle for any variety of
reasons. The most common were not completing assignments, talking in
class, and being tardy. I was paddled most frequently in class for
being tardy. She allowed you one tardy a semester. Each
instance after that resulted in a paddling. Our farm was quite a
ways from town so I was late often. I really did not think it was
fair, for my parents drove me in 7th grade and I had little control over
the time I got there. Regardless, come in after the bell with a
previous tardy to your credit and you were paddled, no questions asked.
The only way out was to have a note from the Vice-Principal, which rarely
happened. It was almost the same each time. If you came in
after the last bell you were not allowed to sit at your desk. You
had to stand by the door and wait. She would generally wait 5-10
minutes to see if any of the missing students in class were going to show
up late. If you came in late, you jut stood with the rest of the
group. On a couple of occasions I saw this group reach as high as 5
students (one time with me as one of them). After every student was
accounted for or when she felt that were not going to be there, she would
begin the paddling. She always started with any guys in the group
and would paddle them in front of the class. The number of past
tardies would generally be reflected in how many strokes you received.
If it was only your second tardy 4-6 swats was the norm. More than 2
and you would get at least 5 swats (we called them "licks").
If you were tardy all the time (like myself) 6 was the minimum from her.
After she paddled any boys in the group she
would send all the girls into the hall. Most of the time that this
happened to me I was the only girl. On maybe 4 occasions I was
paddled with at least one other girls. For me, a paddling due to
tardiness happened at least monthly and on several occasion twice in a
week She would send me into the hall and follow me out with the
paddle. She would have me put my hands on the locker and form a
straight line with my body and arms, bent at the waist. The weird
thing was, she got to the point of not even saying anything anymore.
There was no lecture, just paddling. She would ask me if I was ready
and then she would begin. In retrospect, the swats were not all that
hard. But at the time, for a 7th grader, they were always more than
ample to bring tears to my eyes. Each stroke was placed in exactly
the same spot and she tended to hit low, including just the very tops of
the thighs. I always wore a dress to school and it offered very
little protection. This is where I thought the guys were lucky, they
could where jeans to school. The average sentence for me was around
6 licks, but I had received 8 from her before. After the paddling if
I requested, I was always allowed to go to the bathroom to compose myself.
The hardest part was always returning to class and having to face
everyone. They would always stare at me and it was very
My 11th grade teacher was "Mr.
Paddle". He had the reputation as the hardest paddler in the
school. It was also widely believed that he enjoyed it and would
look for any excuse to paddle you (in many cases I believe, unfairly).
We genuinely hated the fact that at 16 years if age we had to endure a
full year with "Mr. Paddle". He was truly a bastard and we
all hated him. Any student in the school would give you sympathy
knowing you were in 11th grade. In fact, 3 years after I graduated,
he was fired. As a result of his reign of terror, he had the best
behaved class in school. His main paddling reason was grades
(because everyone always behaved themselves with him). If you turned
an assignment and did really poor, you would be paddled for it.
Unlike the my 7th grade teacher, he saved all the paddlings for the end of
the day. This is how most days ended in 11th grade. He would
call out the names of those to be paddled. In many cases you never
knew if you were to be included. If you turned in a poor assignment,
you would make the list without even knowing it until the end of the day.
You would just line up and wait your turn. Like my 7th grade
teacher, he always paddled the guys first and in front of the class.
He seem to have two different sentences, 6 strokes or 10 strokes, it was
very rare for any other number of licks.
The guys were well beyond trying to control
their emotions in front of the class. When this teacher swung the
paddle, the reaction could be heard in the next classroom from the very
first stroke. Any attempts at remaining stoic just brought on harder
strokes. Almost every guy at least yelled in pain from each stroke.
When he finished with the guys he would invite any girls in the group into
the hall. As girls, hallway paddling from him always involved grabbing our
ankles. His manner with the girls is what led to his reputation of
enjoying paddling us. With the guys the paddling would be over as
fast as he could lay on the licks. As girls, it seems he would draw
it out just a bit. The first girl would be told to grab her ankles
and then he would talk to the rest of us. He would explain to us why
she was being paddled and how we could avoid it in the future. He
would also explain that a painful paddling was required in order to make
his point clear. He had a theory that tears were a sign that someone
wanted to change, so he felt they were a requirement. He would then rub
the paddle on her bottom and ask her if she was ready. Regardless of
her answer he would begin. The swats were literally almost as hard
as the guys. Girls generally always got 6 swats (only once did I
ever get 10 from him). The first lick would cause generally cause a
whimper and the second would lead to tears. He would take his time
and really lay it on. When he was done your ass was really on fire.
Unlike my previous teacher, he would send the girl right into the
class after her paddling. Not just with tears still in her eyes, but
actively crying. The very worst was to be the last girl in the
group. It was in these instances that his behavior seemed the most
inappropriate. He would take even longer with the last girl and the
rubbing of the paddle on the your bottom always lasted longer.
Here is a brief description of one of the
times that I was last in the girls group. Tests had been returned
that day so there was an unusually large number of us getting it. I
was the last of 4 girls to get paddled. All of them were paddled and
sent crying into the classroom. This was only my second paddling
from him and I was quite scared. His paddling, although short, hurt
more than anything I had ever had to endure at home. I think the
main difference was love. My parents loved me dearly and did what
they thought was best for me. This man was evil and did not love
anything except making students cry and embarrassing them tremendously (I
really believe this). After the last girl was sent into class, I was
told to grab my ankles. He then went on about his normal speech and
told me how he expected more from the girls. He then rubbed the
paddle on my bottom and asked if I was ready, I told him I was. He
then lifted the paddle to strike me and then waited. He then stopped
and rubbed my bottom with the paddle again. He then lifted the
paddle high in the air and swished it through the air without making
contact. The anticipation was enough to kill a person. He then
rubbed the paddle again and asked if I knew why I was being paddled.
I replied "poor test grade Sir". he then asked is I knew
why he paddled so hard. I replied "to make an impression"
(I wanted to say "because you enjoy it"). He then gave me
some of the corporal punishment quotes from the bible that I heard a
thousand times including one about doing it with vigor and that as a
result "the child would not die". A few more rubs with the
paddle and then the first stroke. It was as hard as anything I have
ever received. I screamed out loud, certain that the entire hall had
heard me. He then asked me if that one was doing the trick, which I
did not answer. Then the next stroke, followed by "am I
starting to make my point?", which I answered through my tears"
yes Sir". After each stroke he had something to say to me.
His strokes were particularly hard to take because he would alternate
bottom cheeks. You would take the full force of each swat on just
one side, then he would swat the other, then back again. After 6 licks he
told me to go into the classroom. I asked if if I could have a
second and he replied that I better get my behind into the class so
everyone can see my tears, or we would start again. I instantly went
His paddlings, like no other spankings I
have had in my life, left me sore for days. Although he alternated
cheeks, he seemed to hit the same spot on each one. I would always
have a large bruise on each side. It would be purple for days and
then slowly fade through a variety of colors. He was also always
quick to make comments the next day. Things like "someone is
sitting sorely today?", or "will you require a pillow for your
desk this morning?".
The only good thing about being paddled by
a teacher is that your parents never found out. This was also the
reason that most kids did not complain to their parents about him.
Most kids got it at home if they got it at school, so we were always
reluctant to tell our parents anything about it. Paddlings from the
Vice-Principal however, were always preceded by a phone call home (see