Tuesday, 10 April 2012
That'll teach 'em
So, spring. When a young teacher’s fancy turns to thoughts of industrial action... or in the absence of any actual industry, striking. Something to do with rejecting the idea that a teacher battling armed, gansta-rap ‘urban’ warriors in a multicultural, inner city hell-hole should get paid more than the same grade of teacher in a pleasant and bosky, bucolic backwater. They might have a point, after all, teaching is teaching is teaching and those who can... And anyway, private companies don’t pay more to those employees who graft in strange foreign lands, suffering the triple perils of dengue fever, homesickness and illicit local hooch, do they now? Oh, wait.
But come on, teaching’s a tough career choice and the dedicated, vocationally motivated teacher ends up being pilloried in the press at the same time as being expected to take up the woefully inadequate parental slack. They confront desocialised kids, mucky kids, nasty kids, kids with a bewildering array of invented learning and behavioural difficulties. And downright thick kids. Who wouldn’t feel oppressed, especially when they also have to put up with constant tinkering at the margins as straight-out-of-the-box ministers try to put right decades of sliding standards with kwik-fix, Elastoplast remedies?
At one end they have lunatic hand-woven-lentil dressed ‘learning facilitators’ with degrees in pedagogic psychology, who have never set foot on a child, telling them what’s best for the little proto-sociopaths. At another end they have demented hardened Marxist union officials baying for the slightest drop of blue blood they can draw to enhance their status in comparison with the ‘proper’ trades unions who fight for actual downtrodden workers. And somehow, with whatever end they have left, they are expected in loco parentis to handle the conflicting demands of both educating and controlling their little
So here’s my master plan. It’s short-sharp-shock time. Remember that rule book you all tore up in the sixties? Well grab the sticky tape and let’s get this education thing sorted once and for all. This summer - no holidays. None. Cancel everything and listen up. Six weeks residential summer school. Everybody, every school. Makeshift accommodation can be knocked up – bunk beds in corridors, tents in the school grounds, catering by HM Prison Service. High security setup; nobody enters or leaves. Inside the barbed wire (there will also be watchtowers and machine guns, obviously) will be a technology-free zone. No phones, no PCs, no internet access of any kind; until we’ve broken them, nobody gets to communicate with the outside.
We’ll impose rigid, no-nonsense, Borstal-style conditions. Lessons only in the absolute fundamentals of reading, writing and
Aramaic arithmetic, all enforced by iron discipline and interspersed with lots of hard physical exercise overseen by Royal Marines physical training instructors. Topped off by cold showers, standing detentions (wearing dunces caps) and no supper until all four hours of daily homework are completed. No arguments, no exceptions.
Then, when we've sorted out the teachers, we can turn our attention to what to do with the kids.