Saturday, 16 October 2010

What's in a name?

Way back in the last century when I first began my sacred vocation I found it was easy enough to judge the quality of a class by the given names. Back in the 90s before inclusion scumbag spotting as it was known was an integral part of the first term of the PGCE. Look it up. It was drummed into us that a Wayne, Darren, Luke, Troy, Michalea, Leanne or Kayleigh in your class was always going to be a gobby furrowed browed handful with a propensity for anger, violence and smoke crusted BO and possibly nits.  Whilst Peter (but not Pete), Martin, Timothy (usually small), Katherine, Sarah or Elizabeth (but not Lizzie) were always going to remain fragrantly anonymous and possibly hard-working which wasn't really important so long as they didn't get dragged into the morass of failure and degradation by their piss-poor problem child colleagues.During the second term advanced surname spotting was an invaluable course all very useful for the surname was often a clue as to the fine upstanding peaceful and co-operative Roma or Traveller contingent who we always looked forward to teaching.  

The more advanced could take a course in foreign names -  Mohammeds for example could go either way depending on whether they were still Mohammed or whether they had adopted the cooler monkier Mo. Effnik kids we soon observed, war torn qat chewing Somalis knife weilding and gun toting aside, lived up to the well-honed cliche of being fine, hard-working, more motivated, ambitious, intelligent and articulate than the feral underclass from the sink estates even if they couldn't utter a word of English on arrival.

Having been awa the fashions have changed and down here in Grimmouth-sur-Mer where time moves more slowly the tattooed and multi-pierced Darrens and Leannes have drunkenly spawned a swathe of gelled up grunting Jordans, Mitchells, Bradleys and Ryans along with a  cohort of defiant, shouty junior harpies named Jasmin, Chelsea, Bacardi, Aleesha who fulfil the same worthy purpose of instantly gratifying the prejudice of middle class teachers and EWOs.  Spelling also seems to have become voluntary and some half wits have foisted their spawn with initials instead of a name. The example of France should be followed, as in so many areas, with the idiot parents having their license to breed removed and their children put up for adoption to nice middle class families and rebranded Harry and Emily. 

You know it makes sense.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

My grubby little secret

Tis a rare time that I agree with anything that the poisonous, foul, repulsive, greed party suggest. The Tories to me represent all that is loathsome in England embodied in the grotesque little cockmonkey that is William Hague. That appalling little man speaks for Britain abroad. Well, not Britain per se just the controlling parts. Anyway, how they must slap their heads in disbelief that this nation, well those that count, choose that buffoon as foreign minister. Well, apart from Berlusconi who is probably king of the cockmonkeys. None of which is not to say that Labour tickle me too much. No, the pandering to business, the deity that is or are The Sacred Markets and of course the twisting and turning to voice the concerns of the weirds who run the Daily Mail who supposedly represent the voice of the mythical lost land of Middle England. A nasty small minded vapid place of jealousies, petty ambitions and a blind-eyed view of history.

My very own inner Daily Mail. Cute eh?
Well, that's now out of my system but the scene needed to be set as I found myself having to take a metaphorical thump in the face from the wet fish of hard cold reality when I found myself nodding unconsciously in support of the nonentity arguing with Paxman that excessive benefits should not be given to those serial spawners many of whose progeny despoil my school and give benefit claimers a bad name in the aformentioned toilet paper. It should be unsurprising I suppose, as I have often let loose my inner Daily Mail when bemoaning the ferret faced furrowed browed loin fruit I have had to attempt to teach. I have overheard many aspiring hard-faced mini-mums-to-be drone on about how she would have an oiklet and get a council flat just like her elder sister Slapella, (19) already on her third siring so why bother studying your crap subject? And when said mini-mum's brood mare is still in her 20s you end up thinking yes maybe the scumbag greedball Tories are on to something...and then you feel exceptionally grubby and foul at having acknowled that you, like everyone else, has an inner Daily Mail. Ugh.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Devil Rides Out

Now onto the Pope. His Arseholiness the pope is doing what those dangerous, harmful, bigoted reactionary fools do best – pontificating of course. What else would one expect from such a creature? Full-scale humble apologies for not helping to restrict the spread of AIDS? Apologies for sheltering catholic kiddy fiddlers? Naaah. An aged virgin telling the world how to behave is just wrong. Badly warpedly wrong. What is worse is the grovelling and respect paid to him by supposedly thinking people at the tax payers’ expense. It’s not the money though, I don’t know what my personal contribution will be – 10p perhaps but that as well as chucking a few zlotys to Queen Brenda and her inbred troop is money badly, wrongly spent. But what do I know I haven’t lived here for years and film of the last papal visit in the 1980s makes me think that the foolish Catholic cult has lost some grip here and that many Brits have grown up, lost some deference to dunderheads in frocks and couldn’t give much of a toss about mystic apologists for stupidity. So, I take the reactionary old bigot’s attack on atheism and secularism as a compliment.

Aggressive Atheists he droned and mithered on about – me perhaps? I haven’t had a fight since I was 13 – I don’t argue much and, since having children foisted upon me, I have never shouted at somebody else’s foul spawn…not least because shouting isn’t enough for some of them so many of whom come from backgrounds where violence, shouting  are the norm and my pathetic rants would be sniggered at. Regardless, my readings of history have found no instances of atheist gangs rounding up minorities for alleged heresies, murdering non non-believers in their millions, thousands, or even tens. Religion – all of it  - is foolish at best, dangerous and too commonly fatal at worst. There should be a warning label attached, it should be kept within the confines of consenting adults and far, far away from children. Of course there are some examples of things positive happening from religion but invoking a Bronze Age deity of whichever stripe is irrelevant to the deed. 

All of which I most certainly didn’t say to the suitably witch like Head of Superstition who was gusset wettingly squawking away about the old fool’s visit in the staff room this week. 

Big Brother etc

Now, when new technology was invented way back in the booming 90s we young greenhorn teachers looked on in shock and awe at the mighty inventions from the His Geeky Gatesness. How we marvelled at Windows and all the things it could do, well sort of do, well could possibly do after a bit of cursing and swearing and the invoking of the loveable techie. In those happy halcyon innocent days when Powerpoint was not a blunt instrument of torture, the techie was a helpful hermit, living in a darkened room with glowing screens, humming fans, surrounded by the innards of various malfunctioning 'puters. 

He could be found bald-domed and bepony-tailed, in a faded 1970s Jethro Tull t-shirt downloading the latest instalments of US sci-fi thingies that would never be shown in the UK.  He, for the techie trolls were always male, would be on hand to fix your home computer for a bottle of scrumpy, burn a few obscure discs, or load on some pirated software. They would also be your very best friend if you could talk about Lord of the Rings - preferably in Klingon. Happy days indeed.

Times change and our BSFed school now has outsourced characterless corporate bods who can barely shave, in their corporate branded clothing who work for The Company rather than the school. Relationships are boringly businesslike and anything they cannot solve involve phone calls to Base. There are now contracts we have to sign treating us as potential gambling pornographers who spend all their time on suspect Facebook groups and Ebay to exchange bad DVDs...well, perhaps some of us are...but are professional enough not to do so in school time especially on the filtered school network which the school and the Company make clear they might occasionally snoop and lurk on. I presume there is someone who reads data from time to time which really must make the point of their existence rather questionable... and should there ibeanything one-handed that folk are so desperate to see in school time they can always go on their iAppleBerrypad. So why the need to control and l cyberloiter like some freak of a cyberstasi?

To me, the way the tech is administered and managed by a for profit company with the connivance of Nanny, has created an atmosphere of suspicion that is unprofessional, it isn't friendly and makes me feel a suspect without having done anything...opps, forgot  as we know from the tabloids that has become the saddo English way.

The Lynx Effect

Predictably, the weather is post shitty August warm and the BSF rooms wonderfully air-conned - except for our neglected runt of an unwanted slightly embarrassing department now officially less sexy than bloody Supersitition according to national stats. Yes, what nonsense. Faith schools abound and an understanding of world fairy tales creeps up the scale of GCSEs - little wonder we continue our decades long plummet down the lime scaled toilet disregarding knowledge, critical thinking and reason along the way down the path to modern 

The Wise Head doesn’t like our department very much , doesn’t think it’s important enough to get a makeover, not that it under-performs, well not  too much anyway but it just ain’t sexy and down with the kidz not least as they have to think and apply themselves and therefore with fulsome encouragement from their parent(s) who aren’t very good at thinking or applying themselves either (evinced by their inability to flee the inbred areas of the county)  they drop it mentally before they even arrive at Big yes the Wise Head is right absolutely correct why waste resources on us...?

By way of mild digression my good friend The Architect tells me 10% of windows in a building must be able to be opened as a paltry minimum. That’s what we’ve got which is really conducive to a fine learning environment  in a classful of pubing  teens bleeding sweat, hormones, BO, stale fungoid halitosis and worst of all Lynx, from those of their pores that remain unblocked by the fat and grease from the industrial burgers and kebabs on which they forage as part of their natural healthy diet (St Ritallin's is a Healthy Eating School according to the numerous stickers we have)...and of course they are still too coy to take a shower after PE which really doesn't help. Coupled with the underlying elements of underclassness many will only have limited access to clean clothes as the dole money is spent on lottery tickets, dog food, booze, fags and drugs. Well, I read all about the underclass and listened to our beloved PM's orations about Broken Britain in a month old  Daily Mail in back Expatland once so it must be true.

Regardless,  I’m sure the last government would have got Nanny in to question the health and safety aspect of working in such primeval conditions which surely amount to some kind of bio-hazard about which the Unions have been noticeably recalcitrant in mentioning unlike in the old days when there would have been a walkout. Or is that wishful false memory on my part? Anyway, having been overseas and spoilt by having such basic things as aircon and students with more class and money to be able to afford decent French fragrances, I had forgotten quite how much of an eye-blistering smack in the nose teaching can be.

The whores hustle and hustlers whore

Ah well another academic year hoves glumly into early autumn view, ho hum. I shoudn’t be too ungrateful so Mrs B keeps telling me,  for I have a post which I grabbed on to far too eagerly fearing lack of work as  I had been away, far away, blissfully distant  from the mithering UK working for several amusing and overly compensated years in various education and civilian jobs in nice hot countries with  wonderful hot swimming pools, long cocktails,  short hours and low tax and high factor smugness...

On return last Easter, the disbelieving and even more suspicious immigration officers, followed by friends and incoherent new neighbours and colleagues spat out in incredulous unison:
Why in the name of Darwin have you come back  Blackheart you blithering fool?  Especially to this damp depressive dank dull dire dump mess of a low-paid joyless land...and, what...!!? You’re gonna take up teaching again...where...? The St Ritalin Academy for the gifted and differently- abled in a gloomy backwater of a depressed town in the inbred gingerish hick part of the county. (Mission Statement: ‘Special kids means special measures’ )....but according to Ofsted: ‘Rather brilliant and outstanding - well, you know...we suppose it kind of is, all things considered’  (Oftoss 2009)

OMG FFS LOL Mr Blackheart- came forth the ridiculing chorus of muttered youth speak inflected spume as they shook their heads in slow and mocking disbelief. Most wise and well-informed people, especially my new hearty colleagues, slapped themselves in much the same way as the over made up supply agency madam did to me after picking herself up from the floor and giving a few well-earned double backhand slaps across my dribbling chops for stupidity.

I put in  a few weeks at the end of last term got on rather well as I didn't leave/ get pushed/ leave in a flood of girlie tears after a week as my predecessors all had. So, I was offered a full-time post which I didn't really want until Mrs B came at my testicles with the bread knife. Backwards, onwards and sideways as they say.

Of course I had no intention of coming back from Expatland...ever. Well, why would you? Unless of course you were an economic migrant looking for the chance to get a low-paid job that most low skilled Brits wouldn’t be offered. Anyway, were it not for the irritatingly predictable annoying ageing and consequent Alzheimer fragranced fraility of the laws and in-laws, we would still be sitting self-satisfied far far away from the Sceptic Isle enjoying all the self-indulgent joys that ex-pat life has to offer.

Never mind - duty, like death, beckons far quicker than I had ever imagined when Mrs B and I skipped our merry way out of the ragged end of the era that was never Cool Britannia. Just in time really as the Messiah Blair morphed into murdering lying cockmonkey Bliar and got in with the Big Bad Boys of the renegade criminal Bush - Cheney gang. Remember those merry men of morality, honour and integrity? Yes, those happy days when New Labour ejaculated on heartily about education education education  giving many of us once leftish progressive folk in Educationland foolish heart.

We should have known better. 

We didn’t expect to have to have below inflation pay-rises based on the ability to jump through a threshold of hoops. Nor did I somewhat naively believe that educational apartheid through post-codes, or the feigning of silly childish  beliefs would be extended and encouraged. Nor did I ever think that fulsome encouragement would be given to the setting up of schools based on delusion and fairy tales from Bronze Age goat herds - the antithesis of education and learning to my simple mind. 

Had I expected  MFL to be gracelessly removed from the compulsory post-14 curriculum? Nope. Had I foreseen the extension of teaching by numbers for SATS? Hell no. Increased target setting and the continuing tenure of the creepy little Smeagal -  little Chrissy Woodhead (who might be on a special interest list these days given his dalliance with a much younger woman...). Double hell no. 

There was also a succession of at best mediocre Education Ministers (see humourous yet flattering photo) led by the double blind fool Blunkett, the unfeasibly uni-browed unlovely uniquely useless god-botherer Ruth Kelly in charge of education for a while which coincided with the rise of the charmless Chav. At the same time immigration rose to make good the lack of skills of  the ill-educated, poorly paid workforce not really needed in our dishevelled country that doesn’t make much anymore or appear to require too much in the way of skills for an underpaid globalised service based economy.  Worst of all a government fraudulently going by the Labour brand, albeit New, beat the perennially foul and sleazy Tories to the all important highly progressive and well-informed mythical  Middle England Daily Mail readers - folk  who should not really be allowed to vote anyway - and alienated their remnants of their traditional core who went off to get  a lobotomy via reality TV or an unconvincing dalliance with the BNP (RIP). 

What great Blair opportunities had and lost.

Other things happened  that were good for education... possibly... but they didn’t include my then vertigo inducing rise to the dizzying heights of HoD after only a year's teaching in wonderful smelly old London.  Colleagues and the kids are of course what makes the job but after a few years I was unable to get rid of the vision that what I was doing was about as value free as the cliche so beloved by imagination challenged teacher trainers everywhere - I was simply going around in circles reinventing the wheel but getting my holiday money every month whilst tramping down the damp alleyways of my increasingly mouldering once optimistic idealistic soul. Futile indeed it then seemed. So off I buggered for ten happy and contended, sun-kissed, lucrative, fulfilling  years - a bit of teaching and then reinvented myself as a consultant for even more money and fewer hours still and then at Easter got painfully broken back down to supply teacher. Obviously, I must have done something right...well apart from being available, and Mrs B desperate to get me out of the house and back onto the hustling treadmill of life in the Motherland, for I was offered a vague post with a contract and job description I have yet to see - which is how I like it.

So, dragged back now with a few kids of my own, reluctantly older and occasionally wiser with a hollow ringing feeling of  emptiness that I am marooned and not heading away again for a while. I resume the role I have never quite managed to escape from ...and even when I had, I always suspected in a cold sweaty way that I would be reeled back in like a returning flailing salmon going the wrong way up the fast flowing sewer stream of life but feel more like a hustled old whore returning to the kebab and vomit laden streets from whence she thought she had escaped.