Thursday, 31 May 2012

God save the Queen etc

Yes, the fat women with cake issues were busy hanging up the bunting, puffing on balloons, and sticking up pics of Brenda, Phil and the corgis for tomorrow's end of term Big Jubilee tea at break / lunch with free cakes with cash from the staff fund.  Nice to be consulted on where my tenner went.

Ah well, from what I can see and to misquote the far more worthy Pistols - she made us all morons so I'm off to France for a week, a place with a far prouder record of celebrating unelected hereditary heads of state. It really isn't a grown up way to run a country. Kings, queens, princes and princesses are for fairy tales...but from the slavering going on I guess I am in a very tiny minority.

Hard at work serving the nation

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Secret Teacher

From the Guardian last week - how many of us could have written this...?
The Secret Teacher writes a devastatingly honest letter that can never posted

Dear Mr and Mrs Parent,
I'm sorry I have to write to you, but it is important you know that your daughter is not progressing as well as she could at school. This isn't her fault, it is the school's.

I only teach your daughter one subject, RE, which she is forced to do and she isn't terribly interested in it. I see her once a week for 50 minutes. As there are 30 other students in the class this means that, if I did nothing else all lesson, I could spend about 100 seconds with her as an individual a week. To teach her, to get to know her, to understand her as a young person. But, as you well know, there are some children in her class who demand much more of my time. This inevitably means that some students will be left with nothing. Unfortunately, that applies to your child. I'll be honest, I haven't held a proper conversation with her in weeks.

I teach 400 children. Slightly more, actually, but we'll call it 400. That means your daughter counts for 0.25% of the children I teach. It is difficult for me to honestly and accurately tell you anything about her, so please forgive me if I speak in vague generalities at parents' evening and try to avoid using your daughter's name. I might have forgotten it.

I teach twenty five lessons a week. Despite my best intentions, some of these lessons are boring. To plan an outstanding lesson can take hours. I can't do that for every lesson I teach. Sometimes I stand in class delivering a lesson I know isn't as good as it could be. I know how to make it better. I just didn't have the time to do it. I don't think the children notice, they are used to this.
Schools are full of middle-management types. They like to take "learning walks" around the school and "quality control". They sit at the back of my class and want to know if the students have been told their "learning objectives" and if they are sat in a "seating plan". They believe that learning simply cannot take place if the students haven't been told what to do and where to sit.  What you might consider real work: comprehension, creative writing, silent reading or a class questioning the teacher about the topic being studied is considered hopelessly old-fashioned and slightly abusive by my superiors. Instead they like almost anything involving power-points, scissors and glue. All work for students needs to be scaffolded. That means be done for them. The very notion of giving a student a task they might fail is considered child abuse. Every task must be completable within about ten minutes.

The school needs to improve, but I'm not sure it can. Common sense and trust in human communication is being forced out of the profession. A lot of teachers seem to like being told exactly what to do and how to do it. The status quo is just fine for a lot of middle and senior management too. It allows them to wield power, justify inflated salaries and be recognised by their peers as being "outstanding" teachers. A recognition the children in their classes would never give them. Never mind. They never really liked teaching children that much anyway.
I'm sorry to have to write to you like this and tell you that your daughter is under-performing. But I'm part of this system. And I had to confess.

Secret Teacher

• Today's Secret Teacher teaches at a comprehensive school in England.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Bloody Facebook meets Richard Littlejohn

Bloody Facebook

What a great thing Facebook is - it has been used to help overthrow the corrupt, nasty, western aided and abetted Arab despots. It allows people to find each other and stay in contact if they so lovely...but it allows brainless scumtwats to continue their foul and fruitless dumb vendettas and vapid argument after school. Typical of the intake at our er... once outstanding school are the Year 9 harridans (Kaylee, Chelcee, Beyonce, Peach and Chlamydia) who have taken a small but bitchy insult  yer a fat minger directed to one of their fellows, Slappella, who is both fat and a minger, and gone global with it threatening all sorts of street justice (theatre?) that your average Somali lynch mob might find extreme. The girls from the large slapper community across the school are all fully involved and ready to take up cudgels and broken bottles - they sit through my classes texting and Facebooking one another. The culture of the school is such that only Year 7s and 8s take school rules on phones seriously.

The barb thrower has been kept off school for real fear of real violence.

We are an Academy

Yes, lucky old us - The Wise Head beamed at briefing that, in respectul tones a year ago, that the Arch Arse Michael Gove had deigned to throw Grimmouth off the books and allow us to go Academy.  TWH said there would be no changes to anything - thought bubbles appeared among our unimpressed heads asking what the point of changing status then was. Sceptical chins rubbed all round. It has proven to be a power and ego trip. It has made the only school in Grimmouth now the only school in Grimmouth that can use the word Academy. There is rumour that the Mission Statement Committee will after a year unveil the new mission statement for the backs of local buses carrying out ads - it will be Fuck around and Carry On for consequences for acting the nob, being aggressive, rude and dangerous are minimal and nobody is scared of anything. Why should they be when even the Year 8s walk past TWH or her acolytes in senior management ignoring demands to sort out their uniforms or pick up litter they have dropped.

Richard Littlejohn speaks

Well, there’s hope for the future, there always is, there has to be or we should all give up. Now The bright shining future in which we invest all our hope must be resident in is The Kids, the little ones that we love and adore so much. And now, one of our former young proto-criminals at the social cesspit that is Grimmouth breached his Asbo, met a species of Grimmouth girl, a toilet mouthed six-fingered cousin...probably... and spilt his toxic seed into her. A being spawned thus providing us with a future inmate and more guaranteed employment for the social workers until PM Flashman cuts them that is.

Of course every child does matter, really, but this shit-for-brains 15 year old from a, let's be generous and say, ultra dysfunctional background, refusing school most days (sighs of relief all round) before he could be excluded, with a long record of threatening behaviour, violence, and drug record has now spliced DNA with one of Grimmouth’s 14 year old finest slappers, it says so on Facebook, and they have the scrote they apparently wanted - yes, it has initials for names and the 30 year old doing mother impersonations is now a grandmother. Earlier on I once might have thought that with support it may be the making of still might inner-Melanie Phillips thinks otherwise and it hurts me to write them off and dismiss them in such appalling language. Maybe my time is done.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Golden balls

It would be cruel, immature and deeply unsupportive as well as profoundly unprofessional to take small pleasures in the Northern Nazi's cringing discomfort but what the her bumptious know-it-all wisdom, she decided that all Year 7s and 8s including those forced into the straitjacket of the tragically misnomered Golden Groups should sit their end of year exams with the rest of the cohort. Those of us blessed with the Goldens raised a skeptical eyebrow,  expressed concern to Those Above, that they would not be able to sit  two hours in silence for them to be put in an unacceptable position of failing spectacularly a subject that  will likely never be useful to them nor will they ever get...

...and lo, inevitably, kind of amusingly, did it come to pass...

Through abject  boredom, frustration, avoidance and for a bit of a consequence free laugh, for that is what it was, the Goldens felt they could disrupt the others and amuse themselves in the smart new BSF multi-purpose hall... It was prefaced by a  number of frustrated sweary exam paper ripping stomp outs occurring at the start  which was followed by a rousing session from the multi-pen tap percussionistas, followed by dropping of said pens (all borrowed as they never have any), the asking of  bewildered / silly / pointless / needy questions, the wrong kind of coloured paper for the bloody IRLENS kids,  outbreaks of bogies and its close cousin bollocks, the contagious cough which rose to TB pandemic hospital proportions. All a terrible blight on those students wanting to get on and the  pension supplementing civilian invigilators who did not have a clue what to do until the shouty fat SLT came down to impotently shout and purge the hall of the tarnished grinning and gurning Goldens.

What bothers me more than the HoDs blindness and ignorance towards the Golden Groups (average CAT scores around 70)  which she does not teach is the damage done to the kids who could not possibly sit an academic exam, in strict exam conditions as well as upsetting the exam chances of those who could. Possibly a more heinous act is the one allowing her to do it.

Well done Miss W*******,  well done SLT...Golden management guys...

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Northern Nazi, edicts and house cats...

Now, having slithered up to the ranks of HoD as it was once called and of course having always worked with one, I think I can say I have a fair bit of experience to judge our new Head of Learning as the turd polishing jargon these days has it. Whilst I have been too easily descending into the world of moan and mither I shall for once focus on what there is to admire not  least her self-described direct no-nonsense northern bluntness. Thudding emails, missives,  directives and stern notes written in the imperative with too many exclamation marks are left around the once happy smiling department. Perhaps us wussy southerners have missed something as her staff management seems based on the philosophy of losing friends and alienating people. Done within a term. Well done miss.

She who must be obeyed
Not just myself but three other members of the department have opted to look elsewhere leaving The Northern Nazi, as she has slackly become known,  and her ball free French Number 2 to sweep the tumble weed along with the time server holding out with his eyes closed and fingers in his ears for another two years for his increasingly meagre pension.Yes, the silly woman is enamoured of said bollock free zone as evinced by the placing of most unwise pics and dedications worthy of an over-sentimental 12 year old girl placed on his Bloody Facebook wall along with those of her fat house cat.  House cat! House cat? Who in the name of the revolving head of Ray Winstone keeps a Bloody House Cat?*

Anyway NN and the  BFZ and the pensionista will be the sole survivors of a once relatively stable and happy department which will lose continuity and school knowledge and be staffed with cheap and eventually soon-to-be cheerless NQTs who will be put off teaching after a year and seek a welcome challenge at Asda with all the other angry graduates.

The failing school from which she was hooked for her first middle mis-management position allowed her to reach and exceed her own levels of torpid mediocrity while desperately trying to play her imagined management role-play fantasy.  A person who cannot listen or delegate, deluded of her own abilities bringing in a divisive siege mentality with no talk, explanation or sharing of ideas or experience. Communication is by edict and her hostility, or fear, of listening means that there is widespread muttering beyond the department.  A shame really as we are all easy going grown ups.  She has even  instigated break and lunchtime lockdown of the department - so extra curricula bollockings of oiks and extra support of various waifs, strays and quiet students and misfits are now by appointment only.

Along with the new heads of two departments, these are the  pliant members of middle management who are eager to ingratiate themselves with whatever bonkers new ideas descend from the Wise Head and her eunuch lickspittles. The newbies are definitely them rather than us and trying too hard in their efforts to impress invoking the kind of Stakhanovite ethic which gives HoDs - the squeezed middle? - a bad name with the people with whom they are supposed to work most closely thus encouraging them to look elsewhere. Back in the day it didn't use to be that way...or maybe that's the false memory kicking in?

Anyway Keep Dumb and Carry On as the really annoying schtick might have it.

* Who has a house cat?

Well according to the female French teaching assistant (who can say such things politically correct men ought not)  terminally single women in their mid-30s with an unhealthy relationship with food. Hope that's clear.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The lizards have taken over...

Now, like most normal civilized middle class Brits, I have always liked a bit of France. I love all the usual cliches about the place, have some good friends there who I can impress by still speaking, arguing and schmoozing in the language pretty well and these days in many circles you can get by generally well by saying that Sarkozy is une tete de merde. I can also effect a pretty good Gallic shrug too. The result of too many good holidays as a kid, campsite work following an old fashioned A' level which has served me very well to this day.

On a good day I can wave to my Gallic pals from the beach here and am close enough to breath in the fresh fragrance of a delicious Pastis and Gaulloise combo. For me France is a place where smoking seems to be right. I did enjoy the odd toke in my times there which never transferred elsewhere. It was something you did in France.

Now having been living so close it seems strange that I hadn't been for a number of years not since accompanying a relative over for a new hip which by way of detours are much cheaper than the private queue jumping option in the UK and you get wine with your meals too...

Is this  the real face of Carla Bruni?
I recently went over for a long weekend to Le Touquet  to celebrate the handing in of my notice - what a hppay day that was - the disingenuous platitudes from the head and northern Nazi. Anyway, it was the first proper visit in a few years but something terribly sideways and askew. Almost as if some parallel France had been created by skin-donning lizard imposters. Many would argue that the high heel wearing, short-arse posturing of the unlamented grumpy late president was that of some kind of lizard creature who, for  a moment hypnotised part of the nation into something it wasn't. On the outside it still looks as fine as ever, the women as wonderful, the shops and food great but... but... but....where were the smokers? Where were the long lunchers? Had the fat bloke drinking his red at 10.00 and pulling on his filterless coffin nails been abducted?  Why wasn't driving any more thrilling than a trip to the shops in Milton Keynes? And, who were these Health and Safety fools in the ubiquitous High Vis jackets that seemed to have spread like eczema across the landscape during my gap decade in Asia? What had happened to the impatient raging French drivers who were now stopping at zebra crossings or amber lights? I was in shock but the True Horror finally kicked me in the throat, the foul truth was driven home like a metallic shard through the eye -  the lizard people  really had donned skins and taken over. I knew this finally when I saw a finely turned out femme d'une certaine age  gracefully bag the garlic fragranced shit squelchily spawned by her equally well turned out dograt.

In all the many commentaries I have been reading about France in recent weeks why am I the only person to have noticed this takeover? Doubtless the journo lizards are involved in the conspiracy.

For me some soul had gone missing. Perhaps things have moved on, adapted, improved on those things I remember fondly. To misquote that  well-known educationalist  Dr McCoy:  It is France Jim, but not as we know it.

The late- Monsieur Sarkozy