Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just walk away

There seems to be a lot of sympathy going around for Peter Harvey - the teacher who hospitalised a pupil with a weight. I'm afraid none of it is coming from me.

Teachers - not all of them, but certainly a sufficiently large number of them - have colluded with the authorities for decades to hide the reality of schools in an effort to pretend that the comprehensive experiment (which most teachers support) has been a success. As the article linked to above points out, the Ofsted report claimed the school was "satisfactory" and that "behaviour and relationships in the school are good and so students show respect for their teachers and each other during lessons and around the school". Clearly that was rubbish - but teachers make an effort to give that impression when the inspectors call.

Hensher goes on to point out that ....

In short, the inspectors at that time found that [the school] were taking above-average students and making them into below-average ones.

It has to be said, unfortunately, that that happens to be par for the course in secondary education these days - but the ones most likely to deny this are the teachers themselves. Hensher uses a quote from a Facebook page to demonstrate the poor level of literacy displayed by fellow pupils of the lad who was hospitalised. It might be a stark reminder to you and I, but I'm quite sure that the teachers who teach in that school are well aware of how poorly the pupils in their care spell - they must read the stuff their pupils write, surely? - and I'm also well aware that kids habitually misspell words when writing text messages or online anyway. In the world the educationalists created, spelling is not considered important anymore.

The way some teachers go on about their profession you'd think they were working in a coal mine (with references to the "chalkface") or fighting a war (with references to "the front line"). If this is true, then they should consider that the environment they work in is one that they helped to create - but more than that, they know damn well that nobody is forcing them to do that job.

Unlike the kids who want to learn, but end up shunted into one of these "bog-standard" comprehensives where they have to pretend to be dumb and go along with the bad behaviour and disorder to avoid being singled out by their peers all teachers have a choice.

Peter Harvey could have simply walked away - from the pupil, the class and the school.

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