As public sector workers go on strike all over the UK over pension cuts, our columnist Nicola Robey takes a look at that bane of every young person's life: teachers...
As the campaign goes, “Those who can, teach.”
Unfortunately so do those whose halitosis could maim a bear, those with an aversion to children, those that just pop on a video and those that couldn’t control a room full of silently rotting corpses.
Yet whether inspiring or just plain lock-them-in-a-cupboard bad, 30 June will see 85% of Britain’s teachers striking, bringing a standstill to structured learning the country over.
Cue the mothers army: parents who are concerned that this anarchic day off will turn their kids into a gaggle of underage rioters, blowing into conches, putting pigs’ heads on sticks and throwing rocks at the heads of their overweight friends in a Lord of the Flies-style rebellion.
Meddling parents are proposing to brush off their canes, get in there and teach the kids themselves,and what’s more scary is that they are being egged on by the Education Secretary Michael Gove.
All swell in theory, but since most things that spill from your parents’ mouths throughout your youth is probably a good-willed lie, this rings alarm bells.
Take my sister’s boyfriend for example. When asking his folks where he came from, he was told he was found as a tiny old man who’d they’d taken in and nursed back to health, while his brother was informed he was a rabbit they found in the carrot patch in the back garden, whose bones they broke, thereby turning it into a little boy. Possibly my favourite, the youngest, was a single piece of faeces that fell from the flush of a plane over the North Sea and got washed up on the Cornish shores. They believed this until Biology class.
Plus, if the parents in my village had anything to go by, lesson plans would include “Bombay mix: Your way to the perfect blend”, “Nose flute: A nasal symphony” and “Controlled acid hour: How to melt into the walls”.
I have personally experienced the trials of pedagogy first-hand. In the moment of panic after graduating from my English degree, having received the all too regular line of, “What are you going to do now, teach?”, I thought, why heck, I might as well give it a go.
In the weeks that I was on work experience at a school, I managed to unwittingly show a class of 11-year-olds the trailer to The Human Centipede (I thought it was a 1950s black and white number – how wrong could I be?), as well as embracing the school’s 1940s fancy dress day (complete with gas mask) a day too early, and failing to cover up my laughter when a nasty, wizened old teacher was called a “hunched-backed hairy shit” by a student, when in truth I’d been thinking the same thing too.
So, with a newfound respect for those who cannot only ignite something inside the abrasive young minds of our land, but subdue the volatile hormones of 30 teenagers in one sitting, I call to these enthusiastic parents everywhere to place down their novelty capes and stick to what their good at: lying and making packed lunches.
... on rock’n’roll
... on street style