Ink Wells & Pigtails

glenwoodThe photo is of the last school I attended before starting my working life at age 14yrs. It is known as Glenwood primary school today,but was a Secondary Modern when I went there in 1951-52. Things have certainly changed since my school days, teachers came to work by tram/ bus or bicycle. None owned a car and many were  neighbours living in the same grimy rows of houses in the same back streets of Belfast. For the last 15 or 16 years I have volunteered at our local Elementary school in Hunter River every Wednesday morning. It is a highlight of my week, I love working with the grade one children. I read with them and do some spelling and they always ask me to tell them a story of when I went to school. I’m not sure if they grasp all the things I describe but at least they get the idea.Things are so different from today’s education system!!. In my day if one misbehaved the chances were good you would get six of the best on each hand. Six of the best was to be struck with a thin bamboo cane across the palm of each hand. A teacher wouldn’t dare strike a student today. When a boy was really bad in my day he would be sent to see the Head (Head Master) this usually meant six across the bottom. Some boys stuck thin note books down their pants hoping to ease the sting. Headmasters usually were not so easily fooled by this. In those days boys wore their hair short and girls with long hair wore pigtails (braids). We had no ball point pens, a few might have a fountain pen but most of us used a plain wooden shaft with a nib attached at the end. They were great to use as darts when the teacher was out of the classroom. We drew a target (often teachers face)on the blackboard and the pen nibs would act like darts. Each desk had an ink well that was required for use with the pen, if the nib was still intact after the target practice. The most favourite of all classroom sports was reaching to the pigtail of an unfortunate girl sitting directly in front of your desk and dipping her pigtail in the ink well. As a girls hair is not elastic and rarely stretched far enough we were almost always caught. And that was when the cane was used. My young grade ones laugh and laugh when I tell these stories, but I’m not really sure they completely envision what it was like all those years ago. One thing is certain though, under such an education system its no wonder I’m such a fool today!!!! With that class is out.
God Bless and keep reading


About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
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