Out of Retirement?
A Kat Production
You have been retired for several years after a career spent as schoolmaster and eventually headmaster at several small schools in the UK. Your son Richard is pursuing a career as an academic; he holds a professorship at a university in the US. He is married to an American and has a son of his own, eleven-year-old Nicholas. Richard invited you to live with him and his family in the US after the death of your wife last year. You agreed, as you have been rather lonely and would like to get to know your grandson better.
You quickly settle in, and your relationship with Nick has developed into a firm friendship. Despite the happy domestic situation, you’ve struggled to find ways to fill your days. When a teacher at Nick’s school resigns after Christmas, Richard recommends you to the principal as a highly qualified replacement. The principal offers you the job, and you agree to take it, at least until the end of the year. You teach English to the 5th-8th grades. You have no difficulty with your classes and soon establish yourself as a popular and effective teacher. Whenever a pupil whines about your imposing a detention, you tell him to count himself lucky you can’t use your slipper or cane on him. With the bravado of kids who have never felt the sting of either implement, the pupils always protest they wish you could just whack them and get it over with.
Nick is one of your pupils. It isn’t long before your high-spirited grandson finds himself in trouble. You assign him a detention, which is a fair punishment for his minor mischief. (Decide for yourself what he has done, as I don’t want the behavior to become a distraction.) Nick approaches you that evening, saying,
“Gramps, couldn’t you just… you know… whack me now instead of giving me detention?”
Nick is the only kid scheduled for detention tomorrow, so no one will know if he doesn’t attend it, as all teachers handle their own detentions. Will your slipper or cane come out of retirement? And if they do, what punishment do you consider equivalent to a 45-minute detention? (There is no issue with your son or daughter-in-law, who have given you authority to spank Nick.)