Friday, April 25, 2008

The Teachers Strike (Again)

Further to His Satanic Majesty's post of yesterday on the subject of the teachers' strike, unfortunately one cannot resist adding a tuppenceworth.
Yesterday evening, while watching the Channel 4 News, my eyes were assailed by the sight of a fat old bearded clown posing as a teacher who I wouldn't want in front of my child until they had been de-loused, and a woman whinging about how she can't afford to buy a house. They were also assailed by a fat man called 'Bunting' mouthfarting about 'teaching' and by the sight of the 'Acting General Secretary' of the NUT, a pale female ideologue of a certain age with the kind of eyes one would expect to belong the Commissar of SMERSH.
The teaching professions in the United Kingdom are quite clearly an Augean Stables in serious need of a hosedown. They want their 4%, fine - this is the trade-off.
An end to the final salary pension scheme.
An end to the early retirement offers.
An end to the extended holidays - they can take 28 days and the statutories like everyone else, and use the time when the pupils are absent to refresh their memories about what it is they're actually supposed to be teaching.
Very much more fluid employment arrangements- if you're crap, you're out, same as in every other job.
The imposition of a no-strike policy.
And the introduction of personal liability for poor exam performance. You want to be paid like doctors and lawyers, fine - but you suffer the stresses that doctors and lawyers must work under. If you're incompetent, you should be capable of being sued as a result.
Teachers are overpaid for what they do. They have a cushy wee number, they enjoy better terms than virtually every other employment in the land and those engaged in it don't seem to realise it. The government, any government, should send out this very simple message to the teaching profession - shut up and get on with your work.


Anonymous said...

I'm actually gettign a bit weary of your voucher system being the salvation of the educational system. This comment says it all...

lettersfromatory said...

Some schools freed from LEA have already got the power to fire crap teachers and their performance has markedly improved as a result.

The profession needs to wake up and come into the 21st century.

Bishop Hill said...

It's not a profession - they're on strike aren't they?

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Roger Thornhill said...

"I'm actually gettign a bit weary of your voucher system being the salvation of the educational system."

The truth hurts.

The key is not vouchers but the breakup of the monopoly that it can entail (but will not under the Tories).

Anonymous said...

Please let's get one thing straight: this is not all teachers here doing bugger all.

My wife teaches people (admittedly above school age, at a college) with learning disabilities – that's right, the job a lot of people wouldn't do. It is stressful and demanding and actually has some personal risk not only from the students but also "angry" parents who see her role as making their own lives easier. Some of these people see her as their offspring's personal childminder and ring up for advice on a wide number of issues, not always related to education.

On top of all this she brings work home at least three times a week and weekends: lesson plans have to be compiled and then reviewed, she strives to make the learning process lively and interesting and so spends her time and money on resources, she is subject to inspections at college and often has to absorb the latest work-making "bright idea" from the government as to how teaching should be in a socialist paradise.

Oh yes, and it is a day that starts at 8 and goes on to 5, five days a week.

For all this she gets just 28 days holiday a year and a wage a lot of people wouldn't even begin to regard as reasonable.

Easy being a teacher? Er, no...

Thud said...

I have two new young teachers in my family...both worried by the way the system makes them teach modules they have no faith in and both very worried by the social engineering they are expected to carry out...not all teachers conform to the ravings of the nut.

Anonymous said...

As a comparatively young lecturer at a Scottish Russell Group university, I have absolutely no sympathy with school teachers.

Every single day, I deal with products of our secondary education system. I deal with students who received top grades at their Highers or A Levels but who are incapable of writing a coherent or properly-spelt sentence (never mind a paragraph!). Grammar is a mystery to them - even to those who come to university to study a language!

We, along with other institutions, have had to reduce the workload for undergraduates in order to make room for remedial work in English and basic courses on how to write a critical essay.

And this, mind you, is at a top-flight university that positively basks in its high entrance standards. Imagine how bad things are at the ex-polytechnics.

The fault lies squarely with lazy indulgent teachers and a government which spends half its time enabling its fellow travellers and the rest making up statistics to "prove" that their flawed outdated "progressive" policies are working.

By a strange irony, I sat my final exam at secondary school on the day of the 1997 election. I have clear memories of the things I learnt at school before Labour destroyed the education system, of intellectual skills imparted in the classroom. I look at our new students, I see how little they know, how little they have been taught, and I have to ask: what the fuck are teachers doing with their time?

I have come to the conclusion that lazy teachers, too often the product of lefty pseudo-universities, are now nothing more than state-sponsored baby-sitters. The job of actually providing a secondary education has fallen to the universities who, in turn, have to slash the amount of university-appropriate work they teach in order to teach remedial English.

If this goes on, we'll end up with American-style universities where the doctorate is a taught degree, young scholars are ignorant of foreign languages and you don't touch a secondary source until your Master's degree.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Vouchers would solve half our problems at a stroke. Once you have that, decentralisation follows as if by magic.

Martin, you overlook one thing - there should be no national pay deals, neither at 2% nor 4% nor any other figure. Every school should fight for itself. If one school fucks up, then fine, their teachers go on strike and get the sack, and they can go and work somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous- if your wife's job is so awful, why desn't she just get another one?

xoggoth said...

The security and pension easily make up for the pay in my view.

If you check the employment procedure you see how hard it is to remove a teacher. A whole set of stages to go through, at the end of which they can appeal and it all starts again.

Teachers can go off for back pain or stress related illness or similar hard to disprove stuff and be on full pay for 6 months when it reduces to half pay. Then they come back for a couple of days and go off sick again on full pay. I know of teachers who have done exactly that.

John Trenchard said...

those teachers should try the I.T. fucking contract market for a while...

Daniel said...

Anon @ 4/25/2008 12:17:00 PM

I am a mature student of 32 at a good Northern redbrick and I am absolutely appalled at the education that my 18 year old peers must have come from.

These are people who can't string a coherent sentence together, never mind write one. The have no grasp of basic Maths, Science or English - as you say, Grammar is a mystery - and these are kids with 2 or 3 A's at A level. A levels which, are clearly nothing like the ones I did only as far back as 1994.

I'm a first year, and the course content is a disgrace. The statistics module I've just finished started with Mean, Median and Mode. I did that when I was 11. I mean what the hell are they teaching these kids in school these days? I have come to the conclusion it is sweet fuck all.

Scrap LEA's immediately; Vouchers; No catchment areas; Proper performance appraisal; No national curriculum; Public School oversight of the system; local pay rates - these, are our only hopes, I think.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous- if your wife's job is so awful, why desn't she just get another one?"

Oh dear... not a very good comment, is it? But listen, my friend, of course she could get another job. She has never said her job was 'awful' in any way. What she does say is that the workload of non-teaching is huge, the bureaucratic input a mountain that grows by the year and the rewards are small. Oh, and the long holidays just don't happen.

She chose to do this and strangely enough gets a considerable lift from seeing her students make progress and in time, do well.

There we have the root of the problem. It is people like my wife who the education system relies on and benefits from: people like her put the hours in without support or real guidance other than a fresh dictat from Whitehall with every new ill-informed minister.

And for what it is worth I tried my hand at teaching – and I was only doing graphics with supposedly intelligent teenagers! The endless paperwork out of the classroom pissed me off, the students knew very little (other than which band would be appearing at some festival or other) and had no life-ambition worth talking about.

Oh yes, and my pay being part-time was even worse. But the holidays were good... like months on end as colleges were running out of money to hire staff.

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Roger Thornhill said...

Mark Wadsworth: "Vouchers would solve half our problems at a stroke. Once you have that, decentralisation follows as if by magic."

No it will not. The tories propose vouchers but want to manage where new schools will be "allowed" to open. Until there is a surplus of places everywhere, the bad schools can remain bad and still get the vouchers. The least worst way to get surplus spaces is to leave well alone - enterprising heads and companies will sniff out where there is a bad school and give it a run for its money.

JT:"those teachers should try the I.T. fucking contract market for a while..."

Thats "the fucking I.T. contract market". Write it out 100 times.

judith said...

The rot in the education system was certainly in place in the 80's when my 2 kids were at school.

Bad teachers couldn't be fired, they were just moved around from school to school, causing disaster. When my daughter started at her Grammar School in 1984, the Head told me they were having trouble getting the new children to learn how to concentrate, and the French teacher had to give them basic English grammar lessons before she could teach them French rules.

When I was a School Governor in the 90's, it was no longer the fashion to teach children how to read, they were supposed to 'absorb' the words, so the bright kids and those with good parents got taught at home.

By the time my children were approaching the big exams, I had not only taught them how to write an essay, I had taught many of their friends as well, since grammar and style and practicality were no longer on the menu.

The Education Establishment has been in the hand of the Lefty Establishment since the early 60's. They want an underclass who will keep them in power, and they have been very successful in achieving their aim.

Anonymous said...

@ Daniel 4/25/2008 05:26:00 PM

I very much sympathise with your experience. It also is deeply demoralising for the lecturers, all of whom have put in years of research and study simply to earn the qualifications needed to teach at a university, when we're forced to teach basic grammar and paragraph structure instead of the subjects we were actually hired to teach, the subjects we love, the subjects the students applied to study.

To make matters worse, the cost for us is very high. Most young lecturers now spend the three or four years after their doctorate travelling around doing six months of temp work here or nine months there before they can get a permanent job. We make the sacrifice - including the financial sacrifice, because we could be making a lot more money in the private sector - because we love our subjects and want to research it further and because we want to impart the things we discover to our students.

Instead, we're stuck trying to teach 18 year olds the difference between a noun and a verb. It isn't even the fault of the kids - most of them are very bright and positively crying out to learn, but learning is the very thing that has been withheld by government and teachers alike.

In saying this, I have no doubt that there are good teachers out there who are doing their best but, in general, the teachers I have met are lazy, feckless and become teachers mostly because they lack the imagination to do anything else. The ignorance of their pupils is a testimony to their effectiveness as educators.

monkey said...

Im amazed by how many of you that comment actually know nothing about Teaching.
If teaching is such a lazy feckless profession how is it you can all read and write. Someone must have been good enough to have taught you these skills or did you pull these out of you ass along with your comments.
Lazy - try 12 hour days and weekends without overtime.
Holidays - teachers dont have the option of going away out of season when its cheaper.
Stress - different learning difficulties, languages, religions, behavior problems as well as government initiatives.

JuliaM said...

"If teaching is such a lazy feckless profession how is it you can all read and write. Someone must have been good enough to have taught you these skills..."

In my case (and this is true for a lot of my generation) it was my parents. I could read, write and do simple arithmatic before I ever attended school.

Just as well, too...

"Lazy - try 12 hour days and weekends without overtime."

Oh, I think there are a few other jobs where this is the norm (a lot of public service ones, for instance), or are you claiming teachers a unique case here?

"Holidays - teachers dont have the option of going away out of season when its cheaper...."

And that's no different for the parents either, is it...?

"Stress - different learning difficulties, languages, religions, behavior problems as well as government initiatives."

On this we can all agree - if the union were striking to reduce all of the above (proper treatment of unruly pupils, , the abiolition of useless recording of stats, a reduction in 'accommodations' for the multitude of languages) you'd have a lot more public support.

But most of the wacky initiatives and policies have been wholeheartedly supported, or even introduced, by the NUT, to the detriment of all. So suck it up - you bought it..!

Anonymous said...

The teaching profession(?) has never recovered from the takeover of the teachers training colleges by Militant.

Anonymous said...

@ Monkey
>Im amazed by how many of you that comment actually know nothing about Teaching.<

A bold and completely incorrect assumption. I'm a lecturer. I deal on a daily basis with the products of modern teaching. In addition, a good half-dozen of my students have since gone on to become teachers to say nothing of the people who were at university with me.

>If teaching is such a lazy feckless profession how is it you can all read and write. Someone must have been good enough to have taught you these skills or did you pull these out of you ass along with your comments.<

If I showed you some of the essays my colleagues and I are required to mark, you would rethink your arrogant and painfully ill-informed comment about literacy.

In any case, my literacy skills are largely the product of my parents supplementing the teaching that my siblings and I received. In addition to the regular school day, we had several hours at night.

Had they been able to afford it, my parents have made no secret of the fact that they would much rather have sent us all to private schools where we would have been taught by competent people.

I will make the rather obvious point that your own language skills (or lack thereof) are not exactly an advert for the competence of teachers, given that you are, quite clearly, sub-literate.

>Lazy - try 12 hour days and weekends without overtime.<

Poor dears. My heart bleeds.

>Holidays - teachers dont have the option of going away out of season when its cheaper.<

Nor do a lot of people. Do you really think that we should all wring our hands and wail because teachers can't get a cheap package deal to Spain?

>Stress - different learning difficulties, languages, religions, behavior problems as well as government initiatives.<

Oh, just go fuck yourself. If you want stress, you worthless fucktard, try working in a university during the Research Assessment Exercise: try publishing an article a month and a book a year while teaching a full schedule of honours and pre-honours courses and supervising postgraduate students.

You might also add the stress that most lecturers undergo because they're forced to wander the country from university to university doing temp work while they wait (usually at least four or five years) for a full-time job to come open.

And if I really wanted to be a cunt, I would point out that even all this stress is fuck-all compared to a lot of other jobs - firemen, medical professionals, the military and a whole bunch of other hard-working motherfuckers have a far, far more stressful time than I or any teacher ever will.

So, in conclusion, gargle my nutsack, you useless bastard.

Thud said...

A lecturer giving shit to a teacher..priceless! poor little darling...publishing an article a sure is hard you academic wanker.You are just as guilty of the crimes of the left wing destruction of our society.

Anonymous said...

@ thud

When you can actually write a coherent sentence, you worthless inbred fucktard, I will consider that you may be entitled to an opinion.

Until then, just keep your mouth shut and keep on serving me my drinks.

Given the extent to which lecturers are having to clean up the mess made by teachers, you ignorant cockstain, the only people with more cause to complain are parents and the pupils themselves.

Also let me just conclude by saying that I take dumps that have a higher IQ, more wit and make a contribution to society than you. So go fuck yourself with a cactus.

JuliaM said...



I want to attend one of your lectures. Don't know what the subject might be, but you have a nifty turn of phrase... :)

dougal said...

My son did a degree (yes, sorry, it was Media Studies) at the University of Westminster - or the Regent St Poly as it was known until the term before he started.

He reckons that in the 3yrs he was there, he had 3mths of useful tuition. He still reckons that he learned everything that has been really useful to him in his career from having worked with me for year in my business (we're both in the writing, editing and sub-editing line).

Thud said...

anon....nice to see what a liberal education has done for you...I'm in awe of your intellect and courage....slightly afraid too...please don't subject me to any more of your realy i'm only kidding..i just love how spineless libs get brave when up you spineless faggot..oh and by the way...where I drink shit like you couldn't afford to breath the air....not on lectures pay you cowardly wanker...i,m happy to see how the massive amount of tax i pay hasn't been wasted honing your rapier like when you can get your mouth off your boyfriends tool you can subject me to your massive intelligence again.

Thud said...

Dougal..I understand what your son went through if anon above is an example of lecturers...your lucky he got out with any decency left intact when subjected to the whims of retards that pass as educators today.

JuliaM said...

"..where I drink shit like you couldn't afford to breath the air..."

'Breath' the air...?

Oh dear. 6/10, could do better. Summer school for you, my lad...

"..your lucky he got out .."

Oooh, 'your' as well, my personal favourite! Going for gold here...

Thud said...

Juliam...I aim to please...and as for the spelling..its the message not the medium!

monkey said...

you should be proud of the work you parents put into you education, especially your english;

"Oh, just go fuck yourself. If you want stress, you worthless fucktard"
"And if I really wanted to be a cunt"
"gargle my nutsack, you useless bastard."

i can see the type of parents you were brought up by, im just shocked you made it into this kind of profession and as for teaching im sure anyone reading this would rather you not spend any time with children.
its quite clear now why you would be anon.

Anonymous said...

You total retard. You clearly have no idea what teachers do. You honestly think they're only working when the kids are there? They spend HOURS each and every night, and weekends marking and planning lessons. Not to mention spending most of the school holidays in school.

Stress? You think there's no stress involved with putting up with 30 odd of someone else's kids in cramped classrooms for so many hours a day? And if they get into fights, teachers have to be careful nowadays trying to stop it in case they get sued for sexual harrassment.

"And the introduction of personal liability for poor exam performance" - It's not their fault if some kids are just thick! You should meet some of the people in my classes, totally braindead...

I'm 16 years old and I'm a college student. My Mum works in a school and as a result I've been exposed to the workings of schools all my life. Some nights she's still working at 10, and she only works in a nursery! Imagine how much harder it becomes at GCSE level.

guido faux said...

"gargle my nutsack"

Ha ha!