Showing off the damage

When I was 10 years old, I began attending a girls’ school in the west of Ireland which, like many at the time, was run by nuns as part of their convent. There were a few lay female teachers, but most of the teaching staff were sisters.

Corporal punishment, needless to say, was not uncommon (this was the 1960s) and basically consisted of two levels of correction. For minor offences, such as classroom disruption, the teacher would call you to the front of the class, where you would be required to hold out your hand and several sharp smacks would be applied to your palm with a heavy 12in wooden ruler.

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