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 a 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 4.2 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!
Wednesday 12th of June 2019
Caning was always beneficial for me. My aunt caned me for boyhood indiscretions including theft, truancy and rudeness, the severity of the beating relating to the nature of my misdeeds. It was very painful to have my bare buttocks welted by her ministrations and also extremely humiliating, especially when I suffered the indignity of involuntarily defecating during one caning (I was very constipated and could not prevent my bowels from opening). Auntie gave me a tremendous dressing down and the proceeded to rub my nose in the enormous steaming pile I had made. Years later, I still remember that incident and other thrashings every day and am grateful that she disciplined me and prevented me from descending into crime or larceny.
Thursday 13th of June 2019
Thank you for sharing your perspective about your own life, Ajit.
Tuesday 17th of November 2015
Wow, being hit by a cane must have hurt a lot. I wish you are okay, but after I read this I will not talk that loud in class because I will never know what will happen if I do. I do think that being hit with a cane is really harsh, but it will change how loud people talk since they don't want to be beaten by a cane.
Tuesday 17th of November 2015
I don't know if caning is a good thing or a bad thing. In Vietnam, caning is quite common, and I haven't really thought about how bad it is. I don't really think that it is that bad since it does make students listen to directions and do their work. In Vietnam, forgetting homework or not doing it isn't as common as it is in the United States. Students have more discipline and when they make a mistake, they actually really care. But then again, it might affect them in the future as an adult because of what they had endured in their childhood. However, this is just an opinion and it can't be considered as right or wrong.
Wednesday 25th of February 2015
Hello Ms. Marshall, This was a very shocking article to read. Sometimes I am not very greatful that I am getting an education from Boston Public Schools, and grateful for the laws that protect the students of BPS from this type of harsh punishment. I can not beleive how strong some of these students in Ghana actually are, and I should be more grateful for my good education and availability to recources and materials that help me even more.
Tuesday 3rd of September 2013
My grandfather from Crete, Greece, used to say that beating is for donkeys, not for humans. If older people beat kids in order to get them to the right path, then who is going to beat the older people, since they are not on the right path either? Don't older people make mistakes? Sure they do.Actually they do the worst. Wars, unjustice, murders. Who is going to punish them?