Disclaimer: everything below is exactly as I remembered it, none of the names have been changed to protect the innocent; I haven't made anything up; this is not fiction.
Mr. Williams taught me in grade 5 in England at a school called Cannon Lane in Greater London. It was a very good school, and he was in fact the head teacher, and he was a good teacher. He took me in quite a few different subjects, history, english, geography, maths and was my class teacher.
He was the one that got the children to form into lines at the end of play breaks and file off into their classes in single file. The school ran like a well oiled machine; similar to the way that the trains ran to time under Mussolini. He was a stern disciplinarian and got a lot of respect around the school; in the same way a bully gets a lot of respect; exactly the same way in fact.
Physically, he was a short, extremely bad tempered, piggish welshman with metal rimmed glasses, clean shaven. At the time I was there he was about 60 or so. He taught the top set of the oldest pupils in the secondary school I was in.
His classes were quiet and well behaved, the children sat up ramrod straight and stared straight ahead, almost no whispering; just the sheen of perspiration on forheads- and the smell of fear permeating the room- utter terror.
Most noteworthy was his 'correctional technique' though. His technique consisted mainly in social ridicule/torture performed in front of the class 'you stupid boy' (picture this spat with considerable venom and a very nasty scowl). This was correctional level 1. Or alternatively 'you think you're sooooo clever', if you happened to be wrong about something. In fact that was one of the highlights of his day- making small children feel even smaller.
Correction level 2 involved being thrown to the floor. He enjoyed that, his face would flush with sexual excitement as he enjoyed punishing small 10 year old children. He would do this several times a day, given an excuse, and almost anything was an excuse. It was how he got his jollies.
Correction level 3 involved a spanking, and when we say spanking, I mean literally throwing the child across his knee and spanking really, really hard, maybe 30-60 times. The kids whole body would bounce on his knee with the impact. We're not talking slaps, we're talking blows. He got to do it as part of his job, it was like... a perk. But it took real skill to get a level 3; even he knew he couldn't overdo this one; it was only dolled out to particular bad behaviour, like one poor kid tried to forge his own marks, mainly I believe to avoid having to take his work along to be marked, and face correctional level 1 or perhaps 2. (Incidentally recipients of level 3 became minor celebraties in the playground, they'd be all smiles; so it's unclear that it was much of a disincentive, but I don't think Mr. Williams cared about that.)
Absolutely every child in the class, even including his star pupils (that he generally went a bit easier on), including all the girls (he was slightly nicer to those too, except for the less pretty ones) ended up crying over his treatment of them, more than once; and often many, many times. He really hated me too I think, but then he hated children period.
Then there was the rumour. The rumour involved him throwing a kid down the stairs, resulting in a compound fracture with bones sticking out, lots of blood. The headmaster got wind of the rumour and issued an official denial, about an 'evil rumour'; apparently it was only a simple fracture, and Mr. Williams was some distance away at the time.
Yeah right. Maybe. As an aside, the Headmaster was a nice guy, we had him once or twice when the other teachers where ill. But seeing the normally scowling Mr. Williams when the Headmaster was around made me feel physically sick. Suddenly, he'd be all smiles, friendly, outgoing, even pleasant to the class. Such expert brown-nosing as to be a sight to see.
Anyway the truth of the falling down thing didn't really matter, all the children knew what he was capable of. Looking back, if he was involved at all the school would have covered it up as best they could and give him retirement- he retired at the end of the year I was at my school.
Amusingly I met one of the students that attended the school after he left. "The school went down hill" she said. I just stared at her, trying to think of how to explain why it's not a good idea to have a literal sadist as a teacher. "You don't know what you are talking about; trust me, I was in his class." was all I could say. She kinda looked at me a half smile on her lips.
Anyway, he meant a lot to me; mainly abject terror, fear, self loathing and utter hopelessness. He was a monster. Since that time people with small metal rimmed glasses tend to make me uneasy, so some psychological damage remains.