Article #9 in the YCC Kids Club Ghana Student Life Stories Project
When I Was Caned at School
By Edor Easteria, Age 14
I felt the lashes of the cane at my back.
I was fourteen years old, in grade eight. I was in the classroom making noise with my friends during a time of discussion. We were debating about the issue of girls’ and boys’ education: which is more important?
It was interesting because the girls said their education is more important, while the boys argued back that their education is more important. The noise became louder and louder, and soon it disturbed everybody around.
Unfortunately for us, there was a teacher in the next class. Suddenly, he came into the classroom and gave us warning. But immediately after he left, we continued making the noise of our debate.
The teacher came in for the second time and yelled, “If you do not take care, I will cane you mercilessly, and will not favor anybody!” He held up his cane like most teachers in Ghana hold: a long, thin stick from a tree.
But once he left again, the noise became unbearable. The teacher marched back in and he barked: “Everybody put your heads on table!”
Then he started lashing us at the back. When you are lashed with a cane, it feels like a sting, and caning sometimes leaves mark on the skin.
When the teacher left, I did not talk to a single person until closing time.
When school closed, I rode to the house alone on my bicycle. Upon reaching the house, I sniffed the aroma jollof rice. My mother was cooking dinner. I ran to my mom and touched her on the shoulder. I told her what had happened.
My mother listened, then she said, “Never make noise at school again. You are supposed to learn, not to talk.”
In Ghana and Africa, pupils are caned to correct them. It is done at the back, palm and rear. Many teachers and parents here believe strongly that without the cane, young people will not keep to what is right. Around Ghana, however, some schools are slowly stopping the use of the cane, but many continue. In my one hundred and thirty-student school, still, at least fifty to eighty students are caned each and every day. In my class, however, they are no longer caning us.
I think that the practice of caning in schools is very good, but at the same time very bad. It is good because when students are caned it keeps them alert and on their toes.
That said, it is also bad because sometimes the students are caned mercilessly and it puts too much fear upon them. This makes them not talk at all during lesson time because they think that if they give the wrong answer they will be caned.
In conclusion, it is difficult to decide if caning students is good or bad. If I had my own school, I am not sure whether or not I would cane.
Lillie’s Note: There’s a lot to comment on in this article! Please do leave some words for Easteria, and state your country of origin and current location! For my earlier article on caning in Ghana, click here.
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!