Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Spare the rod.

I feel a fury blazing like white heat from me heart to me head. I can’t think straight.

Today headline in the papers say that the “Education Ministry still backing corporal punishment.”

I ain’t even read the article, this rage flare up. All I coulda think about was that vicious, rum-boozing creature who call heself a teacher in primary school. He couldn’t teach…so he beat.

I still wish somebody would beat that bastard for going to school reeking of rum and stale vomit.

All I can think of now is that horrifying thing my brother tell we when he been visiting the other day. My parents never know that it happen. Mr. Whakker the teacher beat my brother ‘til he faint. My brother was twelve years old.

I feel like somebody skin me heart and peel it when he tell we.

Who would beat Mr. Whakker, that son of a dawg, for doing that to my brother? Mr. Whakker dead now, I hope they flogging he in hell.

All I can think of now is that so-called ‘strict’ nun in a Catholic Prep School. My sister and my cousins and cousin-in-law still look back at she in anger. The nun make a child wee sheself in front of the class.

Beat. Beat. Beat. That is all that we get in this country. I feel that’s one o’ the reasons why we got so many cowed but angry people about now. Teachers beat. Plenty parents beat. Bandits beat. Hooligans beat. Somebody always beating somebody…but is always a bigger person hitting a smaller person. Ain’t that what they call bullying?

Plenty big people here believe that beating a child is good. To beat or not to beat ain't even the question, some folks strongly feel that teachers should be allowed to do it.

Plenty people praise they parents or grandparents for beating them to discipline them. Maybe them is secretly into that Dominatrix thing now…oooh baby, hit me, hurt me, hate me, ooh, I love it.

I cool down me rage and read the news. I shouldn’ta bother.

The Ministry of Education say it support corporal punishment…but it got to be administered following “strict guidelines.”

“Strict guidelines” on how to beat a child!

They say is a last resort to maintain discipline and order.

I ain’t anti-discipline. I just am anti-beating a child. I wonder why we can't seek alternative ways to discipline. But the truth is, we so beaten, we don’t even know how to think creatively anymore.


ML said...

GG - I really hear where you're coming from. When we lived there, us kids really got the tar beaten out of us by those teachers. My brother was especially targeted by this witch of a woman. She beat him every single day and badly until my Dad came to school and told her if she ever touched him again, he (my father) would take the cane and beat HER himself! That put an end to that.

I remember being 5 or 6 years old and my teacher got a new cane. She came around to each child and brushed the cane on our faces telling us how she got a new implement to beat us with. That we should behave.

It's so sick!!

Stephen Bess said...

Whew! I remember those days back in the early to mid 70's. They would tear our hands up with those thick rulers. This was in public school. I can't imagine what happen in Catholic school.

PI said...

When I wa a little girl of nine Herman our headmaster asked me what eleven elevens were. As usual I was day-dreaming and just stared at him. Furious he turned away to get the cane to smash down on my hand and in that split second Roy Huges whispered the answer and saved me. Thank you Roy - wherever you are.

Caroline said...

I remember when I was at primary school in the little ones class. One of my classmates spat at someone in the playground. Next day he was publically disciplined - but I don't know how because it was thought that we (those the same age as him) were too young to witness it!!!

I remember the fear... but here lots of teachers have no idea how to discipline without dealing out pain and as its illegal to beat children nowadays in this country it means there are teachers frightened for their own lives, and bullies ruling schools... at least that's one of the public perceptions... as I'm not at school I have no idea!

There must be a better way.

Star said...

I was born in Guyana and lived in Suriname for a couple years. The teachers weren't so bad with me, but they were very intimidating with those long yardstick rulers. We were supposed to draw trees once or something and I just drew flowers and she came to my desk and started yelling at me and hit my desk with the ruler and I still shake every time I remember that. The real beatings happened in the headmaster's office with a paddle. I never went there thank goodness! My parents always believed in beatings. My mother would just beat me because she was angry at her life in general not cause I did anything wrong. Once she couldn't find anything to hit me with so she beat me with a knife in the kitchen and left a scar on my eyebrow. It's still there today. My dad would stick up for me sometimes when he would see the bruises, after that she would beat me just enough not to make any marks and I was always afraid to talk so he never knew what was happening. I got my share of beatings from him too. When I knew they were coming, I'd pretend I was sleeping so I wouldn't get one and prayed that he would forget about it.

Caroline said...

GG - I've found one my pictures to use for you on my blogroll - Parrot Tom Williams! - I hope that's okay with you.

Kat said...

How lucky and blessed I have been. Teachers no longer hit kids here, neither does the principal, but its true that the bullies are now running free in school. They are punished with "in school" suspension. When that doesn't work, they send them home to be ignorant bullies. You're right GG, there has to be a better way!

Guyana-Gyal said...

The bullies are here too Kat. I've read about teachers who've been stabbed or attacked. So if it's a question of beating to discipline...it sure hasn't stopped the bullies here...because here, teachers beat.

I think a bully, if beaten by a teacher, would just wait for the teacher somewhere dark and attack. The culture of violence is everywhere now.

Caro! I love it! Me! Parrot Tom Williams! You should see my wide foolish happy grin. Well, as for discipline in schools...or lack of it...it makes me wonder how are bullies made in the first place.

Hello Star, welcome. I'm so sorry about what your parents did to you, it sounds awful, abusive. I don't know how the wounds of abused children ever heal but I hope you find a way.

And Herman the Headmaster, wherever you are, shame on you. Roy Huges is a hero, Pat :-)

Stephen, do you ever see those teachers now? Oh boy, if I ever see one of them who was a meanie, I'd say something.

You're right ML, it's sick...adults using fear to get children to 'behave.' You should read a book called Borderliners by Peter Hoen.

piu piu said...

ick ick ick

i'm anti beating anyone

Dan Flynn said...


I too am furious about being beaten by the bloody priests, nuns and teachers at my school. Fortunately corporal punishment is now banned in UK schools but the government still won't ban the hitting of children in the general population. Seems odd to me that the English law of assault is not applied to children who of course are also the most vulnerable. Tony Blair believes in corporal punishment, seriously, it fits with his unchristian christianity, he does not preach turn to other cheek, he preaches gouge the other eye out. Bugger, got control myself here. I am 53 and retain a keen anger at the beatings that were given to me as a child at school, but I'm more angry at the beatings visited on other children because I was so terrified of the teachers I was a good boy and still they beat me so you can imagine what it must have been like for any child who had an ounce of spirit. St Peter's High School, Cantley, Doncaster. The head flogger was a man called Mr Smith, a raving psycopath who I hope is currently burning in the pit of hell, with a bit of luck alongside Mr Whakker (appropriate name). Corporal punishment beat the belief in God out of me and so was counter productive. I now have no place for the supernatural in my philosophy and am a materialist, ie I believe only this universe, this material existence, this nature. Corporal punishment did not beat out of me the belief in my fellow human beings, instead it taught me compassion. The intention of corporal punishment was to teach me that people were evil, were deserving of punishment, were stained with original sin but instead I learned that those about the be beaten were the decent ones and any sin originated in the hearts of the beaters. I like Pi's observation above about the boy Roy Hughes who saved her from the cane, he didn't have to do that but he did. Good hearted Roy, long may he speak for us all.


Stephen Bess said...

I only saw one teacher that hit me as a child. She popped me in the head for talking. She was at a school where I taught in the city. I thought about saying something but let it go. That was about 5 years ago.
I know. I should've popped her upside the head. Boing!

Louis-François Pilard said...

There's no beating around the bush. I just think as Heraclitus does that the worst thing that could happen to us was to be born. Indeed, had I not been born, I would never have seen my mother break the spatula with which she beat my younger brother's buttocks (that made all of us end up laughing); now he's got a Ph.D. in Physics. I do not see any relation between cause and effect here. I can see my joint tenant beating a kitten so as to educate her not to go one the dangerous road where cars can run over her. Not to talk about slaves who knew about much worse than the cat o'nine tails. So what's the point in having a pet? A child? Life is made of a mix of sweetness and cruelty. That's my answer. Whether I like it or not. OK. I'll do my best to add more on the side of kindness than on that of cruelty. Promised.

beenzzz said...

GG, it is true. Guyanese people always talk about how they were beaten up by their parents. I remember getting plenty of licks myself. ML already talk about our older brother.
Funny, the older generation always talk about beating up somebody. It's never just a regular fist fight, but cricket bats and chairs are involved.
In Guyana, only the drunken losers are teachers. Nice, huh?

cadiz12 said...

it's disgusting that those who are in most need of a beating are usually the ones holding the stick.

there's got to be a better way to teach children.

Modern Viking said...

I'm on your side Gyal... Human beings have these big beautiful brains with which they can learn and reason. You don't have to beat them into submission-- you just have to give them something that's worth their attention. But education has this stigma that it has to be boring... Where did that come from?

Well, I think the world is getting better. Slowly... Someday all this rubbish will be a thing of the past.

Hayden said...

I think viking is right, gg. when people feel impotent their emotions flash them back to their own childhoods, and they do the things that their rational brains no longer accept.

It takes time, which is scant comfort to the victims. But for most of history children had no rights at all, not even the right to life. Parents held the child's life and death in their hands. I hear the rage about your brother, and I hear it as health fighting disease.

You know, most folks know, that this behavior is so wrong. and yet, it is the history of our species in almost every culture I've learned about.

real change is so hard. Here in the US we insist on the right to sentance children and the mentally ill to death for their actions.....

It is barbaric, but still it is an unimaginable distance from the medieval times when criminals were sold by one government to another for their entertainment/instructive value while being put to death before the people in horrific ways.

I say that not as an excuse for our legal system, for there is no excuse: I say it as a nod to the distance we've come, and the distance still to travel.

I embrace your anger, it is anger against injustice that will finally cauterize this evil.

Hayden said...

(sorry that was such a long rant! Passion erases good sense.)

Olivia at Work said...

How can a child learn under the threat of pain? Learning is supposed to be nurture and enlightenment, not physical punishment.

My mum went to Anglican, Scots and Catholic schools, and I am pretty sure she got more of it at the Catholic school - ruler on her fingers.

Then at home, all 10 kids would get the belt if no one confessed to doing the wrong. It was like an assembly line of lashings.
Or she would get the belt for saying it was her sister's turn to do the chores even if that was true - simply because you can't talk back.

My mother learned not to do what her father did, but yes, I got a smack from time to time. It was always just the one whack to drive the point home, and always for a reason that was explained to me. I am not upset about that. Reasoning doesn't always work on kids; for instance, you can't tell a toddler WHY they can't put their finger in the electrical socket, so an index finger applied to my palm did the job. Never went near one until I was old enough to plug stuff in!

I make small points here, but I hope you get the gist.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Wasn't a long rant, Hayden. Not long enough, considering what still happens to children in other parts of the world. We have come a long way, that's true.

But, would you believe, some abuses have come out in our newspapers that are incredible...a headteacher putting a child to kneel on the floor all day...another teacher beating a child until her hands are blistered. Who will 'monitor' this sort of beating?

How does beating children in schools to discipline them stop the growing culture of violence? A super angry child will not have learnt a thing...he or she just wait for the right time to take his / her revenge.

Thanks Viking. I don't know where the fear started, but teachers parents, our leaders need to sit up and notice...to many angry young children about now. I hope you're right, the world is getting better. My world, inside my head, feels that you're right.

Maybe they know they need it, Cadiz, so they hit out before anyone else does it to them.

For the life of me, Beenzzz, I don't know why I or my brother didn't speak up...our parents woulda done wot-for, to them bad teachers. But I have to give praises, not all our teachers were bad...we've had quite a few good ones too.

Um, Louis, I think you missed my point. I wasn't talking about the smart little whacks and smacks mums and dads give sometimes. I'm talking about BEATING in schools. Unless you mean abuse of children is okay?

Popped you in the head, Stephen? You're lucky you can still hear :-D

Dan, as soon as I wrote that bit about the cruel nun, I remembered you. My sister still goes on about the nun who almost broke her thumb. When she heard she died, she said, Oh good.

I wish all cruel teachers could read this...they're probably cruel to their own children too, come to think of it.

I don't know how parents in Guyana can sanction their child being beaten by others. I bet when they say it's okay, they're not thinking about their own children...they're thinking that it's other people's children who should be beaten. As if that will help to make children better. Angry children do angry things. I wish our policy makers would think about that.

I read once about Sweden's policy on child abuse...I must go look at it again.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I know what you mean, Olivia, I wasn't talking about the sharp little smack [on hand or leg].

I'm talking about BEATING, yes, the kind your poor mother used to get. Awful, wasn't it? I still hear the anger / hurt in my aunts' voices when they talk about what they got as children.

Some folks actually brag about it, how their parent[s] used to send them to 'cut a whip' to be beaten. Or to 'bring the belt.' They say how it didn't do them any harm and now they're 'good' people. Well, some of them ain't 'all there' if you know what I mean.

Louis-François Pilard said...

Of course I do not. Same as I am against the beating of wives, against cruelty to animals, against wars, diseases, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, and tornadoes. And mosquitoes too.
Children are the most important human beings on earth. I mean it. This is what I mean. More important than me. More important than you. The older one gets, the less important one is. Does this make sense?

Guyana-Gyal said...

I'm glad you said this, Louis. I was a little worried [un petit peu] that you're one of those teachers who think that extremely strict discipline [severe beating] is needed to keep schoolboys on the straight and narrow.

I agree, children are the most important. And the very old too, they're so fragile, helpless.

Uh...about those mosquitoes...I heard a very good reason why we should get rid of them...

apprentice said...

It's outlawed here, but in my day we got beaten with a thick leather strap called a tawse. They were specially mmade for teachers. Very painful on young hands and wrists.
I got it often as I was a wild child who was often bored in school. It was short, sharp punishment, which I preferred to getting lines. But some teachers took it too far, usually the ones who couldn't hold it together any other way. I was more wounded if a teacher I liked and respected gave me a row.

Beating anyone or anything is wrong and solves nothing.

You're right to be angry.

cream said...

I remember getting a few smacks and whacks with a ruler when I was 10-12.
It wasn't unusual at the time and it was accepted practice. Not that it was right! Some teachers were maniacs who vented their anger on the poor slow-learners.

Your government's decision will definitely be unpopular with the educated classes.
I wonder what UNICEF think of it?

Guyana-Gyal said...

Hello Cream, it's good to see you again :-) I was a slow learner, that's why I got whacked for Math. Gee, I wish I can hear from the teachers. UNICEF? Haven't read or heard a word from them.

Apprentice, that boredom is probably why children act up in classes. I've had a few teachers [in high school] who tried really hard to make their lessons interesting...they are the teachers whose work I remember most, even today.

Olivia at Work said...

Haha, yes I forgot, the poor kids did actually have to go and GET the belt if their father told them to.

And yet, they still love him very much.

However, it is bound to be a different love to mine. As I said, I was disciplined, but as an only child was more equal in status to my parents growing up, and I don't think I could be closer or more in tune with them as I am now. I certainly did give them cheek, but not too much rudeness. My love for them is, I suppose, deeper. I admire them immensely, and call them my best friends, and am even very proud of them. It is a much more affectionate, multi-faceted and thrilling love, I guess. I have never tried to put this into words before...

Roy C said...

My Gad! they still continuing with that nonsense. At my primary school they used to beat kids mostly for not knowing their
work or for incorrect homework or no homework at all. Wonder if they ever stop to consider that these kids were the first generation of sugar estate kids to go to school, most of the parents and older siblings were illiterate? Who to help them with homework? Who to help them with school work? The teachers thats who but instead of teaching and helping they beat.
The ones that got beat the most quit school and ended up in the creole gang putting fertilizer on sugarcane roots all day long, they too illiterate just like their parents.
Maybe a conspiracy of Bookers to keep the labour supply going?

When they gonna learn? Minds are just too valuable to waste.

By the way GG..Last night i dreamt about buying one of them see through umbrellas for you..no kidding.. remember you mentioned it in some previous post.. maybe i shuold go and look for one.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Hi again Roy, yes, they still beat in schools...not as bad as before, children speak out these days, not like in our days when we thought it was supposed to happen! But I bet there are still some schools, hidden away in the countryside, where the poor little tykes take their blows in silence.

You won't believe this but I bought the most beautiful umbrella today!!! I'm so pleased with it I opened it in the house. hahaha.

Olivia, you should show your parents what you wrote here. It is beautiful, the way you expressed your love for them.

Anonymous said...

GG, when i was in Guyana, a primary teacher Whipped my sister just becasue she was jealous, my dad had a word with her (dad was a big respected guy in soceity) and she never laid a finger on us however she continued to verbally abuse me after my dad migrated, she would tell me awful stuff like "your dad is having an affair, he has another lady", i was 8, the said teacher later left her own husband to be with another teacher who was married!! anyway thats a bit of goss, forgot where i was going with this LOL

Guyana-Gyal said...

Anonymous...that's an evil witch you had for a teacher. You know how we have tales of Massacurrman, Old Huige, Moon Gazer and so on? Somebody should compile stories of the cruel teachers from here, sell them as a book called Scary Tales of Living Jumbies.

kfm said...

BEAT? he need wan beetah tek to he battie...me rememba how dat squash tamata beat me fuh liffin me head fuh wan couple seconds while me tink...befoe me rite on de papah....dat is why me right tumb nah ben good dese days...an de odda lady who beat me wen me lass me lucnh money...ow me prapa cry...me nah like she an i was only 6 or 7...mean mean mean mean lady