Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Strike

Anyone who reads this blog will know that I believe the main purpose of the 75 teaching unions is to protect and assist those who are utterly useless at their job. There is no excuse for incompetence so lame that they will not embrace and celebrate, nor any great leader that they will not race to accuse of 'bullying'

As for Thursday's strike, my opinion as you might imagine is simple:

The whole thing sums up the wishy-washyness I hated so much about teaching.

If you want something then get everyone together, go on strike and stay out until you get what you believe you deserve. I'd respect that whether I thought the demand was right or wrong because it shows determination, courage and strength.

Half hearted one day efforts can simply be dismissed by the Government. The only reason any schools are closing is because Heads invariably take the easy out and shut the school (invoking the magic genie of 'Health and Safety') whether its a millimeter of snow or three teachers not turning up. With the numbers that are usually off sick anyway, most schools wouldn't even notice.

44 comments:

Johnny said...

Too bloody right! I've got to sort out arrangements for my two kids tomorrow when most of their teachers are actually coming in to school!

It's an absolute disgrace when they are already getting more than the Police. No wonder you teachers have become a joke.

Anonymous said...

Apart from the mixed argument above, I do agree.

As school rep for a non-striking union, I've received abuse for apparently wanting a pay rise but not being prepared to work for it - farcical.

In truth, refusing to teach children merely makes teachers into a joke, easy prey for politicians.

If we truly wanted to be treated like professionals, we should act like professionals - but try arguing that in the staff room. Every teacher over 40 I know responds to the statement with howls of derision.

So that's another decade of being treated like surly factory fodder, then...

Cynical

Anonymous said...

13 weeks holiday, short working hours, what more do you want? It's high time teachers joined the real World.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous.

What I don't want is the verbal abuse and having no support from the senior management when it comes to make a tough decision and stick with it.

Tom Cobley said...

"13 weeks holiday, short working hours, what more do you want? It's high time teachers joined the real World"

Ah yes, the real world, where holidays are spent relaxing and not preparing for the return to work, where abuse and harassment are illegal, where the philosophy of the organisation doesn't change daily.

The real world where destruction of property and equipment results in the sack, where "good" is recognised and "bad" is penalised. Where achievement is rewarded and where staff are encouraged and supported.

How nice that must be.

Fiz said...

My daughter has one lesson (and she's doing her AS levels next month)and practise for her French oral. Year 9 and 10 have been told not to come in at all. Originally it was just Year 9 to stay at home, but obviously they had a bigger percentage uptake for the strike than they were expecting.Since my daughter does actually work, it's a shame she can't. She's going to stay at school and revise - she says there are too many distractions at home, such as the computer, which demands she must play on it, or Sky on the TV, which is equally bossy!

Anonymous said...

the strike is about teachers families. None of you get it.

Hind said...

If we don't get it, 'anonymous' then that's surely because you haven't explained it to us very well which is what you teachers are supposed to be good at. (When you actually go to work)

jerym said...

Yes anonymous 9.58----------- please explain what it is we dont get.

SchoolsneedTAs said...

I am a special needs teaching assistant in a secondary school.
I am not in the NUT.
My 3 children are off school due to the strike and I have unfortunately had to take the day off as I have no childcare (and of course do not get paid enough for it)

I do have sympathy for the teachers even though it has made today very difficult (My eldest son is autistic and finds any change to his routine unbearable)
I feel so bad about letting the children down that I support in teir lessons so I am sure many of my teacher collegues must do too.
Our school has stayed open for years 9, 10 and 11 as they are all approaching SATs and GCSEs in the next few weeks.

SchoolsneedTAs said...

please excuse the spelling mistakes, hard to concentrate here today

Anonymous said...

why would you have sympathy for the teachers? and which teachers? the ones who wanted to go on strike, or the ones who didn't?
it strikes me (no pun) that the NUT are either living in a dreamworld, or are economically illiterate, or don't read the papers, or all three.
the country is bust.
there is no more money.
£34,000 a year, plus being virtually unsackable, plus having a state pension lined up, ain't that bad a gig.
and if they don't like it, you can always quit.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately very many have quit!

Anonymous said...

Am I right in thinking that if you strike you you are not paid for the day?
If that is the case why not strike for the whole month of August. that way parents and kids won't be inconvenienced and teachers could hold protest marches each and every day. Seems like a good idea to me!

Inspector Gadget said...

Anon 13.24
"there is no more money"

Except for:
The 2012 Olympics
The two wars in the Middle East
A new Trident Missile System
16 new Nuclear Power stations

no more money??? I think not.

Fiz said...

Having read the Times today, all they seem to be asking for is a raise in level with inflation, which does not seem to be too much to ask, IMHO. How many times have we seen nurses and teachers get the cost of living amount phased in over several years? It isn't right.

Anonymous said...

Gadget - that money has been spent or is committed. Because of that, there is no more money.
But I take your point.

Anonymous said...

"Am I right in thinking that if you strike you you are not paid for the day?
If that is the case why not strike for the whole month of August. that way parents and kids won't be inconvenienced and teachers could hold protest marches each and every day. Seems like a good idea to me!"
What planet are you on? Striking during holidays which teachers are not paid for in the first place?
The point of a strike is to bring the country to it's knees, to demonstrate how valuable a profession is. My heart bleeds for all the people who bitch about being inconvienced by the strike, yet are perfectly happy to complain how useless teachers are. Teachers are not cut price childminders for your crotch spawn.
As for the average salary at £34k? I don't know where the media pulled that figure from, the top salary for a teacher is £34k after 10 years and 2 reviews...

It's no wonder the good teachers we have left are flocking abroad or to the private sector, and there is an approx 50% drop out rate of new teachers in the first couple of years.
Explain to me how you're supposed to attract a physics teachers when a degree in physics will convert into big bucks in the city, instead of fuck all in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

gadget, you're forgetting £12 billion and rising on the failed NHS IT upgrade

Anonymous said...

13 weeks holiday, short working hours, what more do you want? It's high time teachers joined the real World.

Yeah right. At the school where I teach, most teachers work between 10 and 12 hours a day, then take more work home over the weekend. We then spend all summer at stupid but mandatory training conferences, and in the remaining spare time, we try and prepare for next year so that maybe we won't have to work so hard next year!

some bloke said...

Bravely said Mr. Chalk.
A one day strike did not inconvenience the government one little bit, it is the working Mums who are most put out ( eg Schoolsneedtas ) having to re-arrange their working day and/or pay for childminders ( who must have been in short supply).

For the children ( Customers )it is, of course, just a laugh, another day off after Mondays Baker Day.

Gadget has ommited the £100-200 Billion Bungs to the Banks.

My work brings me into contact with many of the general public whose main opinion seemed to be that " it wasn't really a proper strike " with little either way as to the rights or wrongs of it.

AnneDroid said...

Strikes? In-service days? Holidays? Do you expect me to look after my own children? I wouldn't have had so many if I'd realised... I think kids should be at school seven days a week.

Joking, my teacher friends, if you're reading this.

Ax

Anonymous said...

Another area that is constantly overlooked is that F.E lecturers work from 9-5 and often from 9-9 if, like me, you have 4 night classes a week. Plus lecturers get 15% less than secondary school teachers and neither are we entitled to 13 weeks holiday a year. We are only entitled to between 4 and 5 weeks a year. Also we don't get the incremental pay rises every year like secondary schools. The amount you start on (in my case £17,000) a year as a full time lecturer is what you will roughly get for the rest of your career, unless you move up to management.

On top of which we still have all the marking and lesson prep to do. Finally, we in F.E colleges end up with the crap that the schools kick out because they simply cannot cope with them. Few people know how big a difference there is between secondary and F.E.

The governments pathetic pay rise, which would be phased in over 3 years, would mean a substantial pay cut in my salary.

Having sat down and worked out all the figures, I would have been homeless within the year as I would not have been able to afford the mortgage, food and other bills. Thankfully I have never been overdrawn a day in my life and I have just about managed to live on my salary, but if I don't get that equal to inflation or slightly better than pay rise I wont be able to carry on in the job I love, because I simply will not be able to afford to live.

Anonymous said...

"Social worker bitten by rabid dog"
A social worker is one of three people treated for rabies exposure after being bitten by an infected puppy in quarantine.

Not quite to do with the merits or demerits of the current teachers' pay claim but the above headline on BBC this afternoon, makes up for a really bad week

Steve said...

The exploitation of other people - and particularly children - to further your own aims is morally bankrupt.

SchoolsneedTAs said...

What I sysmpathise with is how hard the teachers have to work, they definately do NOT have short working hours, atour school their day never seems to end, neither does the hassle they get from the kids, parents and school management on a daily basis.

Then there is the politics of dealing with the LEA and their issues.

Unfortunately on the other hand some of my collegues were less than sympathetic to the position I and other TAs were in regarding childcare on the day of the strike.

SchoolsneedTAs said...

What I sysmpathise with is how hard the teachers have to work, they definately do NOT have short working hours, atour school their day never seems to end, neither does the hassle they get from the kids, parents and school management on a daily basis.

Then there is the politics of dealing with the LEA and their issues.

Unfortunately on the other hand some of my collegues were less than sympathetic to the position I and other TAs were in regarding childcare on the day of the strike

SchoolsneedTAs said...

sorry about the reapeat

Anonymous said...

I had no idea things were so different in F.E compared to secondary schools. If you are working all those hours and having to deal with as you say "the crap" schools can't cope with, for far less holidays and pay, then yes, my friend, you certainly do deserve a substantial pay rise. Looking at things from your point of view I can understand your reasons for striking. How the bloody hell do you manage on £17,000 a year? My daughter works less hours than you in a call centre and earns only slightly less than your wage. That is disgusting, especially when you consider mindless self obssessed football players get paid a fortune for kicking bags of wind around.

Before anyone else criticises teachers for their strike last Thursday, might I suggest you actually do a few years teaching first. Then when you've done that, in my mind you will have earnt the right to criticise.

Mr Teacher said...

I read with interest your most recent blog post on the NUT industrial action. I have recently started blogging as a way of voicing my views and frustrations about working as a high school teacher. My most recent post also deals with the issue of the strike. I would be interested in any response you may have to my opinions on this subject.

My blog can be found at http://urbanschoolteacherblog.blogspot.com/

I also read the many comments left by others- I find the misinformation and the chronic lack of understanding to be extremely frustrating, particularly when posted by anonymous readers, therefore ruling out any chance to reply.

Take care,

Mr Teacher.

Anonymous said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7371635.stm

Wonder what you make of this Mr Chalk ?

Clearly the guy is not cut out for 'classroom' teaching, but what is depressing is that he appears to be a capable 'home' teacher, but appears not to have the 'crowd control' skills which seems to be required.

Is that his fault ? Or senior mgt ? Or the Government, for expecting our teachers to be a combination of police officers and social workers ?

I also find it singularly depressing that someone going by the handle 'schoolsneedstas' by which I think she means 'teaching assistants' cannot even spell the word 'definitely'.

But then you pay peanuts...

Anonymous said...

As a teacher I do a 60 hour week and it will be quite a few more years before I'm up to £34k. I can only assume the "average" included the salaries of Heads of very challenging schools.

I do, of course, have a choice and could leave if I wanted. However I actually enjoy the teaching bit and consider that the reward for the rest of the crap. Also, 60 hours per week is a lot less than I used to do in my former well-paid career.

Whilst the teaching wages don't exactly set the world alight, I don't feel that we've been "shafted" any more than other private sector workers. The strike probably did more damage than good. Glad I'm not in the NUT.

SchoolsneedTAs said...

Please excuse the typing/spelling mistakes, was not easy to type and concentrate with my 5 year old there at the time (as well as my autistic son stressing out because of the change to his routine cause by the strike.

I CAN spell and do not appreciate the insult from someone who clearly has no understanding of the job taeching assistants do.

SchoolsneedTAs said...

Oh and by the way I also mistyped SYMPATHISE, you missed that one.
Sorry for leaving the bracets open on my last post too.

Anonymous said...

Can I just point out that teachers are not the only people on strike. The coast guard is but that’s ok because saving peoples lives isn't important but god forbid people have to look after their children for a day.
The general public can whinge all they like but perhaps they should consider how many teachers leave the profession (50% in three years now). We don’t need to strike over pay because so many teacher leave that they are going to have to start paying better because of the shortage.
Of course the real problem is working conditions but those in the 'real world' have no concept of this (going to school and working there are two very different things).

"Whilst the teaching wages don't exactly set the world alight, I don't feel that we've been "shafted" any more than other private sector workers" - every private sector worker I know has received a pay rise equal to inflation (that includes Northern Rock workers!!)

"It's an absolute disgrace when they are already getting more than the Police. No wonder you teachers have become a joke" - I think you'll find the police get a higher wage and can be less well qualified. The average person with 4 years of higher education can expect a far higher wage than teachers get.

Anonymous said...

http://education.guardian.co.uk/ofsted/story/0,,2276896,00.html

"Schools may be judged on teenage pregnancy and drugs.."

That should give the teaching unions something to think about..

Anonymous said...

Just a little thought on the whole 13-week holiday etc. thing: I would be hard pressed to think of anybody who works harder than a good teacher, or for that matter is more valuable as a person, but there is also the other side, the can't-be-bothered teacher, who does not attend his "professional development" classes etc. and just churns out the old crap every year, who leaves his job at the school door (don't mention prep work etc. - think of countries without centralised exam boards, think of the amount of additional work teachers do there). Anyway: good teachers, great - give'em more money, it's a disgrace to earn that nonsense with proper academic qualifications. Bad teachers, well... Suggestions?

Anonymous said...

This is the link for the above - http://education.guardian.co.uk/ofsted/story/0,,2276896,00.html

'Schools will be made to keep records of teenage pregnancy rates, pupils' drug problems, criminal records and obesity levels under government plans to give parents a true picture of children's lives'

I was just reading over this document and in my view it’s truly hilarious.

I believe that there is a mountain of educational research that argues that 'education can not make up for society's ills'
Clearly the government wants to ignore this, just as they ignore the research on class sizes etc.

What I particularly like about this story is the 'true picture of children's lives' that this data will give. Just I thought parents might actually know what they're kids are up to and would not need to rely on school data and millions of pounds in bureaucracy to tell them.

Secondly the students who need the most serious level of attention are usually the ones whose parents couldn’t give a toss about them. Do we really believe these parents will pay any attention to what the school says or is it more likely that they will blame the school because their son or daughter is on drugs and so clearly the school hasn’t done its job properly?

Finally I notice that the article does not put any blame on parents, obviously they can't be expected to have any influence on a child upbringing. If a child is obese that is the school's fault because they are responsible for feeding a child, or perhaps not. Also the government seems to have removed blame from itself, surely if the government stopped drugs coming into the country, banned schools from serving junk food etc. schools wouldn’t need to set targets to tackle these things.

Anonymous said...

This is the link for the above - http://education.guardian.co.uk/ofsted/story/0,,2276896,00.html

'Schools will be made to keep records of teenage pregnancy rates, pupils' drug problems, criminal records and obesity levels under government plans to give parents a true picture of children's lives'

I was just reading over this document and in my view it’s truly hilarious.

I believe that there is a mountain of educational research that argues that 'education can not make up for society's ills'
Clearly the government wants to ignore this, just as they ignore the research on class sizes etc.

What I particularly like about this story is the 'true picture of children's lives' that this data will give. Just I thought parents might actually know what they're kids are up to and would not need to rely on school data and millions of pounds in bureaucracy to tell them.

Secondly the students who need the most serious level of attention are usually the ones whose parents couldn’t give a toss about them. Do we really believe these parents will pay any attention to what the school says or is it more likely that they will blame the school because their son or daughter is on drugs and so clearly the school hasn’t done its job properly?

Finally I notice that the article does not put any blame on parents, obviously they can't be expected to have any influence on a child upbringing. If a child is obese that is the school's fault because they are responsible for feeding a child, or perhaps not. Also the government seems to have removed blame from itself, surely if the government stopped drugs coming into the country, banned schools from serving junk food etc. schools wouldn’t need to set targets to tackle these things.

Anonymous said...

http://education.guardian.co.uk/ofsted - actually just use this link the above doesnt work

Ranting Teacher said...

I really can't believe how short-sighted some of the whingers on here are. Not being able to see beyond the end of your own nose does seem to be a modern post-socialist malaise though.

Here's what I wrote about the strike when the penny dropped for me - read more at http://rantingteacheruk.blogspot.com/2008/04/there-is-power-in-union.html

"We NEED to strike. ALL of us. Every public worker who is put upon by the government, who has to accept violence in the classroom or ambulance or casualty ward, who is told they can't have a pay rise despite politicians awarding themselves huge bonuses and furniture from the John Lewis list - we all need to stand up and show the government that there is power in our unions, and that we have the right to reply and to protest. And if we don't, then it's true: the government will see that we've all fallen asleep and don't want to stick out our necks and raise our voices for what truly matters.

Then consider the future. Unions with no influence over anything any more. Workers of the future with no right to ask for better working conditions and pay. And a government rubbing its hands with glee because another corner of democracy has been eroded away."

Oh and PLEASE don't believe such myths as the average teacher earning 34k - find out how that average has been worked out first. Plus there's the 13 weeks of holiday myth - perhaps substitute "several weeks of home-work" plus "lost weekends for the majority of the time".

And finally, after the day I've had, of trying to teach hyperactive inconsiderate ungrateful children, I'd say that not one of them bothered to do the fun-yet-educational worksheets I made them last week for them to make up for them missing a lesson on strike day.

Lilyofthefield said...

Our main value to the workforce is as unpaid childminders. Having a one day strike is a minor inconvenience even if you do it two or three times a year. Most peple can take one day off or foist their offspring on parents who choose not to work during their children's childhood.

A fortnight strike however would be a bitch. Even if both parents are still around, taking a whole week each out of your annual entitlement to revel in the company of your children, or indeed to not be able to take it at all, would be a prime piece of leverage.

And so what if everyone hates us? It would be a change from despising us.

SchoolsneedTAs said...

Oooh angry one there.
To be fair not everyone is able to afford to stay at home with their children, some HAVE TO work.
On the other side, not everyone can afford all day childcare, I know I can't and of course not everybody is lucky enough to have grandparents who will/can help with childcare.
BUT I do take your point that a week long strike as much as it would be a nightmaer, would have more of an effect than a one day one.

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