Mrs Schmidt’s ruler

Though corporal punishment was officially abolished in the German school system in the 1950s, there were still some vestiges of this tradition up until the 1970s. By this time, when I was attending elementary school, all of our teachers accepted the prohibition on spanking their pupils – almost all of them. The older ones, having being in the profession for 20 or 30 years, had some problems with such reforms.

One of them was Mrs Schmidt, then in her mid-50s. She was our music teacher and we had just two lessons a week with her. Prior to one of these lessons four boys – one of them being me – played a game for which we would soon be sorry.

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