I used to get into trouble a lot as a kid. I’d get on great with the teachers, but I seemed to have a problem with the students. At my school we used to have a system where if you got three warnings you’d get a detention. I’d get these things all the time, and for the most random reasons.
I once got one because I accepted lollies from my cousin. Apparently the teacher thought we were part of kind of illicit lolly runner conspiracy, and that we were using unauthorised monies to fund it. I was eight years old, I wasn’t apart of any conspiracy. I just wanted some free lollies.
I’d also get into trouble for things I didn’t do. I remember my first time at Avo. I was in kindergarten. The Mrs. Z called me over.
Teacher: What did you say to Molly?
Student: I don’t know?
Teacher: She said that you said, “Molly is a such-and-such.” Did you?
Student: Ah, no.
Teacher: Yes you did. Why did you say that Molly is a such-and-such?
Student: I didn’t say Molly is a such-and-such.
Teacher: Don’t lie to me, I know you did!
I was 6 at the time. I didn’t know that if a girl accuses you of anything your guilty until proven innocent. She sent me outside and hounded me for ten minutes. Reduced me to tears. Probably mentally stunted my development. I may have even been sent to the principle.
Afterwards I was talking to a kid called M&M. He was relaying his experiences when he was sent to the old principle. He was really bragging that I went through nothing. The old principle would pull the cain out and slam it on the desk in-front of the terrified student. M&M said when it happened to him he balled his eyes out.
So, it seemed pretty common that the boys’ were often hammered to the point of tears, but this never happened with the girls. I cannot recall a single instance where a girl was reduced to tears by a teacher. It wasn’t even hard to reduce a girl to tears, I did all the time. Hell, it’s not like the girls didn’t do anything wrong, they did plenty, like falsely accusing the boys of saying things about them. The teachers just weren’t trying.
For those of you that don’t know this all happened in the transition period where corporal punishment was falling out of fashion. So they must have went from paddling the student, to paddling the desk in front of the student, to being up the educational creek without a paddle.
Which is a shame, as even at that young age I was a big believer in corporal punishment. I used to default to it all the time with interactions with other students. A kid insults me? Bam! No point taking it to a teacher, the teacher wouldn’t believe me anyway. They’d just tell me to walk away. Just walk away from the kid paying you out. Just walk away from your problems.
There’s a social meme about fathers just walking away from their families. I wonder if they got that idea from my teachers at Avo.
I once told my teacher, “Miss, I did walk away. I just came back afterwards and punched him.” I was really impressed with myself. I resisted. I practised self control. I walked away. The flaw with the walk-away theory is that it doesn’t work. If I walk away from a problem it’s going to be there when I get back.
Then the teacher will be like, “Are you sorry about what you did?”
I’m was always, “Pfft, no.”
And so I get into even more trouble for not pretending to be remorseful. I was just being a good student by telling the truth. I’m sure if I said I was sorry I’d have gotten into trouble for lying.
So the teach banishes me to Mr. E’s year six class. Mr. E was the token male teacher. He took care of the seniors and discipline. He was going to whip me into shape. Well, that was the plan at least.
I walk in there, “Sup Mr. E.” Mr. E replies, “Sup, Master K.” I had an absolute blast. All my friends were there, and they were doing interesting stuff, rather then the boring old things the Year 4ers had to do. I was even hyped through my after-school detention.
Now, the school had this thing where if you got three detentions in a row you’d loose all your free time for a month and have to sit in the office for recess, lunch, before school, and after school. I question the wisdom of the school putting it’s worst students on display at the entrance of the office for all the visitors to meet.
“Hey sir, welcome to the school. Would you like some cigarettes.”
It was fun though. I could give unauthorized tours of the office when the receptionists were away. I was your typical kid so I liked pointing out and boasting about all the awards I’d won and helped to win.
“And this trophy here I helped win in 1998. I had to go up in front of the judges and accept it in front of everyone. As you can see its only engraved to 1997. We never gave it back.”
It always amused everyone that while I often punished, I was also regularly rewarded. Sometimes at the same time. While we had a system of three warnings equals a detention, we also had three encouragements gets a prize.
So the routine would go something like this: I would go to the vice-principle’s office, get told off for the nth time, then hand in my encouragement tickets, and collect a prize. Rinse and repeat.
Sometimes the disciplinarian would try to argue reasons why I should change my delinquent ways. They were rather counter-productive. One of the arguments he tried was that if I didn’t change my ways, I’d end up in a gang, and continue the bloodshed out on the streets. I’d form a gang, the kid I just beaten up would form a gang, and we’ve have generations of conflict. I don’t know what he was hoping to achieve but I thought the idea was really cool. It took me about an hour to have my gang formed.
My conversation with the principle weren’t much better.
Principle: Why are you doing these things? What are you hoping to achieve.
Student: Yes, because getting into fights with kids who decide to try their luck by directly antagonizing me is part of some kind of broad strategy I’ve devised.
Now, I wasn’t always bad. I was nudged into that direction at an early age. I mentioned before that in the early days I used to get into trouble for things I didn’t do. The problem is that if you get into trouble for something you didn’t do, your going to maintain your innocence, right? So now the teacher won’t believe anything you say. And those pesky teachers gossip, so now every teacher won’t believe anything you say.
Teacher: Did you say such-and-such about Molly?
Student: No teach, I didn’t!
Teacher: Oh yes you did!
Teacher: Did you do this?
Student: No teach, I didn’t!
Teacher: Ha, that’s what you said about that Molly incident!
Teacher: Is this your doing?
So I was by default getting into trouble for whatever mischief took place. So it got to the point where I thought: “You know what, if I’m going to get into trouble for it, I might as well do it.” The cool thing was that once I aggressive to those who did me wrong, the false accusations stopped. So it was really a win-win situation.