Mrs Chalk is also a teacher, but unlike me she is a first class one; held in high regard by pupils and other teachers at her school. She is not interested in promotion which is just as well, since she would have about as much chance of being promoted as I would of winning the Booker Prize.
Her problem is simple; she constantly makes the fatal mistakes of refusing to ignore poor behaviour, of speaking out when something is clearly wrong or not working properly and worst of all; standing up to the weak willed, helpless cases who run the place. I've tried to talk her out of these foolish notions but to no avail.
In the last twelve months she has been rebuked for shouting at pupils, criticising parents, upsetting the Education Welfare Officer, making the School Psychologist cry and annoying just about every member of SMT together with a whole host of other things which should be compulsory behaviour. The fact that she hasn't had a day off in years and her results are far better than the average doesn't count for much.
There are teachers like Mrs C in every school I've ever worked in. They deserve our admiration and respect, for they highlight the most fundamental problem in State Schools:
Those who lead them are weak.
They have their excuses ready to trot out at the drop of a baseball hat:
"There's nothing we can do"
"We've decided that Shane deserves another chance"
"Shazney has a difficult home life"
We all know that Heads don't have as much power to discipline kids as they should have, but we also know that they could do a lot more than they actually do. (Exclusion, and to Hell with how the figures look; or involving the Police and the Courts. In fact just dragging the parents in and laying down the law in no uncertain terms rather than backing down to avoid a confrontation, would often be enough from a strong leader)
Generally however they prefer not to admit to problems in their school and either cover bad things up or pass them back down the ladder. What so many fail to realise is that in the eyes of the teachers who look up to them for support; trying and failing is so much more impressive than not trying at all.