All of my school life, I was an enthusiastic and bright student. I loved and respected my teachers, and felt respected and cared for by them as well. I was never a discipline problem at school and could hardly imagine having to be punished by a teacher. However, one day, that all changed.
Junior high was a particularly difficult time for me after my parents’ nasty divorce. Several of my teachers noted a change in my behaviour and attitude toward school and fortunately for my future well being, some of them took matters into their own hands when necessary. I found myself on the business end of a school paddle on more than one occasion. One incident involved a very motherly but strict girls’ PE teacher, who did not hesitate to apply much needed correction to a naughty bottom.
During a particularly rousing game of flag football, I made a mistake that cost my team a goal. I had a rather short fuse in those days and did not deal with my own shortcomings very well. I threw the football to the ground, while letting loose a string of cursing that even astounded me.
Everyone on the field fell into a dead silence at my outburst. Swearing was certainly not unheard of by any of us, but I had always been a quiet and subdued person. Hearing such language coming out of my mouth and seeing that ball slam into the grass took us all by surprise!
My gym teacher scowled at me and scolded my poor sportsmanship. She then pointed to the track and sentenced me to run four laps (a mile). I did as I was told, letting the run blow off a lot of pent up steam. After completing that part of my punishment, I was sent to shower early.
By the time I got out of the shower, I truly felt ashamed of the way I behaved. I sat on the bench in front of my locker in my panties and T-shirt, thinking about the events of the morning. I had just made up my mind to apologise to my teacher when I saw her crook her finger at me through the huge window of her office. I made my way around my classmates who were showering and laughing about the game we had just played. I knocked on her door and entered when called. I approached her desk filled with shame and embarrassment – not from standing there in my underwear, but because of my earlier behaviour.
I screwed up all of my courage and offered as sincere an apology to her as I had ever made. I admitted my guilt, my surprise at my own behaviour and promised I would never do anything like that again. She sat back in her chair and smiled at me – not in a laughing way, but in that way a trusted mentor smiles when she understands what you are trying to say. Then she proceeded to scorch my ears right off my head.
She scolded my behaviour, my recent attitude changes, my declining dedication and reminded me of how much promise she saw in me, how much she respected me and how she was not going to tolerate such poor behaviour from anyone in her class.
Tears welled up in my eyes and I could not do anything but nod at her stinging words. I muttered a ‘yes, ma’am’ or ‘no, ma’am’ as needed and counted the seconds before I could escape her wrath. Then she did something I had never seen her do before. She opened her desk drawer and took out a paddle.
She again stated that my behaviour was not acceptable and not worthy of such a delightful young woman (how did she make me feel so awful and so wonderful at the same time?).
She emphasised her concern that I had taken a downward turn over the last several weeks and that this incident was just a minor part of a bigger problem. She added that she had every intention of doing what she could to fix the situation, and her solution was to blister my bottom.
She instructed me to bend over her desk and grab hold of the other side, with a strict warning of horrible repercussions should I let go before I was permitted. I obeyed her, feeling a strange sense of terror and comfort at what was going to happen. And then she did something else I never knew her to do – she pulled down my panties. I had never heard of students being paddled bare but I was not about to object, under the circumstances.
She rested the cold paddle against my upturned bottom and in a low voice reinforced her good opinion of me, her expectations of much better behaviour and her disappointment with my outburst during class.
Her left hand pressed firmly into the small of my back and she smacked that paddle into the centre of my bottom so hard I thought the top of my head was going to fly off. I gripped the desk with all my might and tried as if my life depended on it not to cry out from that first swat.
Eight more swats were firmly delivered – the maximum a teacher was allowed to give. Eight more times that paddle exploded across my oh so tender and very bare bottom. Eight more times, I gritted my teeth and latched onto the desk for dear life. Eight more times I tried to fight back tears. Fortunately for me, I failed miserably. By the third swat, tears were streaming down my face and by the fifth, I was crying freely.
After the paddling was over, she gently replaced my panties and lifted me from the desk. She held me in her arms while I cried out the pain and loss the last several months of my life had brought. After a few minutes, she led me to the corner and placed my nose to the wall. She left me there until my classmates had all left, then sent me to get dressed and go to lunch.
I left the gym that morning certain that the heat rising from my bottom could warm the whole city in the middle of winter. Three days would pass before I could sit without squirming.
I also left feeling very loved and cared for. I knew she understood what I was going through, and also knew she was not going to let me drown in the chaos of my life. She was only one of several teachers who adjusted my attitude via my bottom during that school year and I will never forget the care I felt from all of them as I found my way through a very difficult and painful time.