Thursday, 15 March 2012

In reply to a very good man, John Melton, who is a proper parent.
Kind words, John, but let’s be clear about something. You and Joy were devoted and supportive parents who wanted the very best for their kids, and actually believed in the good old-fashioned concept that people could ‘better themselves’. In other words, their children would learn useful stuff from teachers who knew useful stuff, which would mean that said children would not have to struggle like mum and dad did.

Sadly, there are ‘parents’ out there – sorry, I’ll rephrase that – there are adults who are legally responsible for children  - who hate learning, despise teachers, and would be only too pleased if their offspring graduate into the same kind of chain-smoking, work-shy, benefits-dependent apology for a citizen that they are.

Because these people are ‘unwaged’, ‘currently seeking work’ or whatever fancy euphemism you want to apply, they are instantly available during the school day to roar up to school in their nice cars so that they can eff and blind at school staff. How do they know when to come? Well, little ******* has an expensive mobile ‘phone which probably cost more than his form-tutor’s car, so he can let mum and, usually, mum’s current boyfriend know that that nasty Mr ******* has infringed his human rights, and assaulted his personal dignity by asking that he doesn’t eat his roast dinner with his fingers.

In addition, young ******* has to face the personal indignity of sitting a public exam. Your child and mine  probably had to do their homework, learn some stuff, and turn up to some revision classes which may have put you to some personal inconvenience, like picking them up from school. Yourself. No, not in a taxi paid for by local rate-payers, or driven home by the teacher whose car is worth less than your latest game console. Because ******* has been diagnosed as having some obscure ‘learning difficulty’, when he does his exam, he will have someone to read the question, someone else to write the answer, and probably a third worthy to whisper in his shell-like what the answer actually is.

But still, you are a voter. And there are more of you than there are of Mr Hamilton, the kind Geography teacher who gave up his half term to take your son on a school trip to the French Battlefields. And so, those awfully nice politicians who spend every waking hour pushing re-election leaflets through your letterbox respect your opinion. It is gold-dust; it is manna from heaven; they will discard the opposition from teachers, because they are a bunch of left-wing no-hopers who would have voted Labour anyway. No, we will have a continuing drive to castigate and belittle teachers, and we will employ a cadre of failed teachers, call them OFSTED, and give them the power to make or break schools, and to reduce teachers (who are human beings, and, usually care about the children in front of them) to dispirited, depressive wrecks.

As you may gather, I no longer work in education, but I wish my former colleagues all the love in the world – may their adversaries rot in the depths of hell.