I remember at the Prep School Brother Cyril set us a maths homework and told us that he was going to allow us to mark our own efforts. In retrospect we should have seen the trap that was being set – I am sure he did it to every new intake. After we had marked the sums with the occasional student giving themselves the benefit of the doubt when the answer was ALMOST right, the trap was sprung. Bro Cyril asked for the exercise books to be handed back. At the next lesson at least half a dozen of us were sent to his office where we were subjected to four strokes of a very slim and effective cane which I came to know reasonably well over the next few years.
Did it teach me a lesson I never forgot? Well I am re-enacting it now in my mind so the answer is obviously yes. Did it modify my behaviour a la Pavlov? Unfortunately it didn’t hence my further visits to his study.
If my memory serves me correctly, Bro Cyril had had a lung removed due to T.B. but in common with most of the brothers at the time, smoked quite heavily – I think they were Senior Service. When the results of the 11 plus had arrived, he was intending to give the results to the class. In an act of kindness, he asked the only pupil who hadn’t managed to get either a grammar school or technical school pass, to go out and get him a packet of twenty while he gave us the results.
So, I remember both good and bad events from those times but I wouldn’t change a great deal – maybe I would have worked a bit harder towards the end rather than spending quite so much time in the Twisted Wheel. It took me to the age of 47 before I got my degree but I knew I had unfinished business… thanks Xavs.