Monday, March 16, 2009

In Like Flynn

Like David Flinn, I once had three girlfriends; but unlike him, it wasn't their demise that caused me problems. When they all happened to meet, following a series of extremely unfortunate coincidences; it was my own death that looked like being the most likely outcome.

Meanwhile, Alex Dolan teacher and journalist might soon be Alex Dolan, Journalist. She is in trouble with the General Teaching Council for exposing the fiasco that passes for education in many schools. She carried a hidden camera and filmed a few lessons for a Channel 4 Programme at the same time that I was writing my book. (I kept my real name secret because I didn't fancy my chances of paying my mortgage as Frank Chalk, Author.)

Another teacher (Angela Mason) did a similar thing for Channel Five and believe it or not, was actually condemmed by the teachers' own Union, the NUT. She was also suspended for a year by the GTC. So there you have it; keep quiet and keep your job.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I cannot give details for fear of identifying the parties involved, but...

My better half is a teacher. She is pursuing a grievance against a fellow teacher. Said colleague (Teacher A) is an NUT member. Throughout proceedings to date (almost four months now), I have repeatedly had cause to observe that the behaviour, advice and professionalism of the NUT representative to Teacher A has been everything I, a non-teacher, would expect.

Which is to say: inaccurate, time-wasting, unprofessional, incompetent and at times little short of childish. The teaching "profession" has the diabolically poor public image it has because it persists in selecting for its public representatives people who in any ACTUAL profession would be unable to fulfil the most basic of qualification criteria.

As a chartered engineer with friends practising medicine and law, among other things, I really would like to regard teachers as fellow professionals and respect them as such. One day, perhaps, they may begin behaving like them. Why are the unions permitted to behave in this way? (My own belief is that the majority of teachers simply don't care about their public image. They're in it for the holidays, or they're marking time until retirement. The good ones, though they are many, are a minority.)

MadOldBat said...

I am all for whistleblowing. I do worry about the individual kids. One of the children who was in my son's class a few years ago had already moved school several times to avoid a violent parent knowing his whereabouts(and yes, the grandmother who was raising him was a bit simple to confide in a perfect stranger the reason the kid wasn't in the class photo). Would a relief teacher know of these things?According to your book,Frank, they don't even tell you what class you're teaching sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I think far more whistle blowing should go on, the Government wont listen, our unions are weak and pathetic, so what other choice is there? Every teacher should do secret filming; then when the sheer volume of bad behaviour becomes apparent, that would give us grounds to strike and stay on strike until we got exactly what we wanted!

I've spent time in Australia, where there are only 3 teaching unions and you have to join one of them before you are allowed in a classroom. When one union goes on strike the other two automatically join. The best part is that these 3 unions don't do compromise and their members don't go back to work until they get 100% of what they ask for, and I do literally mean 100%

Consequently, the government now knows not to mess with these 3 unions and usually steps in sharpish to get any problems sorted before the dreaded S word is mentioned. Of course, the other big difference is that the Australian people/teachers have a backbone and wouldn't put up with a tenth of what English teachers do.

The answer, in my opinion, as shown by my experience in Australia is to not be so damn passive. At the slightest sign of really unnacceptable behaviour, threaten to strike, and MOST importantly stay on strike until you get exactly what you want. The Aussies have shown that it does work.

Mr Natural said...

I have much sympathy for what is written here. I once worked as a teacher in a fourteen-form-entry comprehensive school that was cobbled together from a couple of secondary modern schools, lots of fibre board and two dozen third-hand Portakabins that no half-decent farmer would have kept hens in.

Among the teachers in this one department were a total incompetent, an alcoholic, a professional skiver, a dear old soul who was in the early stages of dementia and two women in their thirties who took a particular interest in fifteen-year-old boys. There were an equal number of very conscientious teachers who had to cover for this lot.

Trying to get the ineffective teachers dismissed was impossible; you couldn’t even arrange a transfer, and one was even the bloody union rep!

I resigned before my sanity was completely destroyed and moved to a private school which, although not perfect, at least had a better class of incompetent and far fewer of them.

Urban School Teacher said...

The comments by Anonymous #1 are idiotic and offensive. Of course teaching is a profession and should always be regarded as such. Yes,there are bad apples who sour the bunch but surely this happens to most sectors and indeed to most collective groups of people?!

The union reps are not necessarily indicative of the teachers they profess to represent.

Anonymous #1 - I do not care that you cannot see your way to regarding me as a "fellow professional." I would not wish to be assosciated with you and your moronic views in any way. With those opinions, quite frankly I am shocked and astounded that you are in a position to use the phrases "better half" and "friends" There really is someone for everyone after all!

Bridge said...

The BBC article is interesting - Leeds City Council failed to get an injunction to prevent the programme being broadcast because it was clearly in the public interest to see what was happening in schools.

However, the GTC being above the law, persists in persecuting any teacher who tries to blow the whistle on the catastrophic mess that is the modern education system. No doubt, the new code of conduct will make it easier for the KGB-fanciers in the GTC to persecute teachers for doing things that are 'legal but unacceptable to the GTC.'

Persecute away, arseholes, the second you do, I'm off to claim asylum in Australia.

Malthebof said...

My wife is a teacher. Why the Unions ever agreed to the GTC is beyond me, it is merely a non-accountable (read appointed by the government)quango for control of teachers, and they have to pay for it. Turkeys voting for Christmas comes to mind.

Lilyofthefield said...

I dobbed in our HT for trying to force us to cheat at coursework. The result? Sod all. I could have blown that whistle till the pea disintegrated and no-one would have given a toss.

WinstonSmith33 said...

Quangos like the GTC don't want the truth told as it puts the spotlight on the failure of the comprehensive system they advocate. All whistleblowers should be protected.

That's why people like you and me adopt pseudonyms when writing in the public interest. I can barely pay my bills on the pittance I make from looking after the underclass as it is without making myself unemployable over night.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that us Brits moan and complain about how unfair everything is, yet we very rarely do anything about it.

What this country needs is a backbone and some bloody unity. The only way to force any government or managing body to back down is through sustained and prolonged action. The government and GTC must be rubbing their hands with glee at all of us writing on these message bords and blogs. The reason being is while we are all moaning, we are not actually taking direct action, action which disrupts the flow of day to day life.

Yes, whistleblowing is great, and does highlight the problems, but that only has an impact maybe for a few days, whilst some newspaper editor gets a few good headlines.

Like second anon, I too have taught over in Australia and I have also witnessed the power and results that can be achieved by only having 3 unions. However, unlike over here their unions are not in league with the government, they are there entirely for their members. As Anon points out they sure don't do compromise, there is no backroom negotiations with the government. They get exactly what they want or they simply stay on strike, case closed.

It's time this country got a bit of grit back, instead of letting people walk all over us.

Lilyofthefield said...

Yehbut the children!!!! Won't anyone think of the children???

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Lilyofthefield said...

Yes, thanks for that. The clue to better communication that you appear to have missed is that the whole of the rest of this blog is written in English.
Go figure.

inspectorgadget said...

We are currently in trouble for making up the death of a newspaper salesman to get off work for a few months. Will it never stop?

Ranting Teacher said...

Whistle blowers are not listened to. I know this from experience. You could be blowing the whistle on bullying, poor practice from colleagues, bad behaviour from classes... it's just a big bubbling boiling pot but as long as "they" can keep the lid from blowing off it all, why adjust the heat at all? :(

Grim Rupert said...

I love your blog, Frank. Thank you!

I am doing some whistleblowing myself, about my experiencs in boarding schools. Very unhealthy!My children are nearly though the university system so what have I now got to lose?

Please visit my blog - it will take time to reveal everything I have suffered but it may be worth the wait!

Anonymous said...

does anybody know what's happened to Frank? Where has he gone?

Anonymous said...

I hope he's not dead again as somebody posted last time he had a break.
Even Jesus didn't rise twice.

seriousteacher said...

Missing you Frank.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

I think he just got an extended detention. Perhaps at his local pub?

Anonymous said...

Whoa! Things has gotten worst! Hopefully teachers will get the deserve rights cause we owe to them what we know today...

Quick Home Sale UK said...

I hope there will be fair understanding regarding this issue. And I wish that they realize how important teachers are...

Quick Home Sale UK said...

I could not get over this site! How come its not updated anymore?