Last week, I visited Miss Kendal for the first time as part of the Back to School week. I have visited many disciplinarians over the last ten or so years and everyone (in their own way) has been an enjoyable experience. So why has this visit made me put my thoughts down in this format for the first time? What made this experience so different and thought provoking to all my previous visits to a Headmistress or Headmaster?
I first picked up on Miss Kendal’s website by accident about 18 months ago. I participated in a couple of her competitions and was lucky enough to win a prize in the Christmas competition. I was considering making my first appointment to her study at the start of the year, but then read that her schoolroom was out of action, and later that she was moving – plans postponed.
By now, you will have picked up that school discipline is what I particularly enjoy, and having read Miss Kendal’s website, one of the attractions was her focus on discipline either in the school scenario or domestic context. I had to be patient and wait for the schoolroom to materialise. I picked up on the Back to School event quite late, but had the good fortune to find a timeslot available that worked for me. So far, so good, but nothing that I hadn’t done before.
In the run up to the appointment, I set out some of the things I liked and what sort of scenario I was after. I had chosen the written punishment option, and was given my punishments in good time for me to complete. I read and reread the session planning guide and instructions, tried (and failed) to get a good night’s sleep beforehand, drank a good amount of water during the day and left in time to make the agreed start time (but only just beat the rush hour traffic). It was quite a strange day at work, my nerves were on edge. I was a little bit worried that I would not be able to complete the session.
I knocked on the door to Miss Kendal’s premises at the allocated time and was welcomed in and this is when I realised that this session would be different from all the rest. This was going to be special.
Looking back now (and it’s taken me a few days of reflection to even get close to rationalising what was different this time), it’s lots of little things that when added together made this such an enjoyable session, but the key element is Miss Kendal’s insightfulness and ability to pick up on what I wanted out of the session and deliver something that had all of the elements that I needed. The ten minutes that we spent at the start getting us both properly prepared for the session; asking a few key questions and understanding my replies probably better than I was able to express them. The tone of voice used throughout the session, the silences, the mixture of physical and non-physical punishments, the way my written punishment assignments were scrutinised (I can still remember how my heart sank when the desk drawer opened, the red pen came out and was used to circle one of my sentences. The effort that has gone in to the schoolroom (and the other rooms in the premises).
It was over so quickly, but was so enjoyable. Was it the perfect session? Well that would be too much to ask from anyone for the first session and I am always one for thinking what would I do differently? What would I want to try next time? But the key point is that I have every confidence that if I am able to articulate what I want to Miss Kendal, she will be able to create a session that is close to perfection. We are all different, so maybe this will be unique to me, but I hope to have the privilege of another visit to Miss Kendal’s study sometime soon.
What advice would I give others? Read the website and session guide thoroughly, be open and honest about what you want and trust and respect Miss Kendal’s judgement.