Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Temple of Idiocy

This afternoon I am sat in the Temple of Idiocy_ my own name for a place that has had its title changed from the Punishment Room to the Emergency Room to the Exclusion Room and finally to the Inclusion Room in order to remove the slightest suggestion that being sent there is in any way the fault of the pupil.

I cast my weary eye over the customers in front of me: 90% are familiar faces who spend more time in here than in their lessons, the others are hangers on, flirting with the edges of naughtiness.

Let's consider the front row; Safraz, a Somalian has constantly misbehaved for so long that I would actually be suspicious if he was to suddenly start being good. Yesterday he used the immortal line:

"Why should I do what you say?"

To which I replied that I couldn't think of any good reason why he should do what I said as he could do whatever he liked in school because the Head will never throw him out. Even if he attempted to, Safraz's parents need only turn up with a solicitor and cry 'Racism' and the Head will simply back down. Safraz thanked me politely for my advice but assured me that he already knew this, as his friend Faisal pulled off the same trick a couple of months ago.

Sitting to the right of Safraz, Liam was born without any brain cells and yet is dumped in mainstream education where we cannot (and frankly don't want to) cope with his nill attention span and constant shouting out, running about and production of animal noises. He needs to be regularly beaten with a stick and given a course in social skills. After all with social skills he could at least get some sort of job. At the moment he cannot talk to an adult at all without smirking, sniggering, glancing around or making a noise like a monkey. Unfortunately we have no plans to give him either his beating or his social skills, neither will his mother; therefore he will drift into petty crime, live on benefits or most likely both.

To Liam's right we have Sherry, who will undoubtably be pregnant soon because she has never been told that perhaps she should not have sex with every boy in year 9. That is not to suggest that the other years at our school contain any more suitable males for her to copulate with.

Lastly, may I introduce Dwayne. He is the most mature of the group and runs a successful business selling counterfeit DVD's and cannabis. He is quite able to hold a normal coversation (as long as the topic concerns illegal activity). His grasp of basic mathematics is good and he is quite capable of converting from Imperial to Metric weights. He also has a good grasp of fractions. I might suggest to the Head of Mathematics that we consider using drugs and counterfeit goods as a central part of the lessons.

There is a knock on the door followed by its immediate opening and another member of our client base arrives. His method of introduction is to shout 'I'm here!' in a dramatic fashion whilst grinning wildly and waving his hands in the air like a pop star (or a gibbon). This is rapidly followed by a greeting of 'Oh no it's him!' upon seeing me.

I chuck him out without a second thought and let the Special Needs assistant follow him in order to pander to his every whim.

It's a depressing place all right and it brings home to me the fact that we have deliberately let down every kid in this room. Their parents are useless; we are the only things standing between them and lives consigned to the Underclass; crime, drugs and prison.

Dwayne and co. have no respect for us at all and I don't blame them. We don't give them any reason to. Our punishments are a joke. 'Verbal warnings' that are ignored or openly laughed at. Written warnings that have no consequences. Endless second chances, 'Fresh Starts', 'Behavioural Contracts'; anything to gloss over our inaction.

We send letters home to parents who could not care less. Endless differently coloured Report Cards are given out, where bad comments have no significant effect. Detentions where non attendance is punished with another one which can similarly be skipped. One, two or three day holidays (sorry exclusions). It is all window dressing to make it appear that we are trying our best. In reality we are failing them miserably.

If you want to know what I'd do then buy my book (In fact buy it anyway, even if you couldn't care less what I would do!)


Anonymous said...

This was a hilarious and yet heartbreaking post which mirrors my own dissatisfaction with our school's disciplinary policy. And you're so right -- we ARE failing them, by not illustrating to them real life consequences for fear of (in my school) parental complaint. I'm so enjoying your blog. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

My first child is due in 7 weeks. Just the thought of them being around some of the utter scumbags dragging their arses through school these days makes me shudder.

Anonymous said...

'Oh no it's him!'

Would you have kept him if he'd shouted 'Oh no it's he!'? Good grammar deserves a second chance, don't you think? But then I am more cynical than almost everyone I meet, and that includes policemen and teachers.

Anonymous said...

and you wonder why I spend 5k a term to send my children to a private school where they are not surrounded by socially inadequate chavs dragging down those that wish to learn . Either by their own bad behavior or the extra attention/staff/time required to help them 'achieve' (nothing) . Why don't they all get lumped together in the 'thick' class ( lower stream) , where they can laugh/swear/fight & breed together?

Anonymous said...

And that is why my entire salary is spent on public school education for my own children.

They have a better class of drug dealer there, you see, plus the very real chance of being molested by a monk.

Far better than suffering New Labour social engineering as an alternative to discipline.

Anonymous said...

By the way, the plural of "DVD" should not have an apostrophe.

Anonymous said...

My wife is from a 3rd world country with cheap boarding schools. As soon as our children - if we have any - are 11 they are going there because we can not afford private schools in the UK.
Isn't that a sad state of affairs that such a course of action seems reasonable ?

Anonymous said...

Love it Mr Chalk

Anonymous said...

Mr. C writes:

"This afternoon I am sat..."

'Sat' is the past participle.
Should be: 'This afternoon I am sitting...'

Anonymous said...

i think that if smt or slt whatever they are now called! dealt with discipline better in primary schools you and other secondary teachers wouldnt have half the trouble you do.

but then im only a parent so what would i know!

Anonymous said...

and let the Special Needs assistant follow him in order to pander to his every whim.


I am one of those people who pander. I hate it. Parents hate it. Kids hate it. BUT..... admin LOVES it. So there I am taking my cues from admin as the child slpas and kicks and bites, and they "celebrate" their listening (translation: not beating the crap out of someone) for five SECONDS!!!

The driver of this kid says that they are beating kids on the bus. But.... by law he is aloowed on the bus , AND no restraint can be used if the parent objects.

Yeah---- I love my job.

Anonymous said...

Some months ago I was asked to cover the 'behaviour unit' key skills session 2 hours a week after school, it was a sessions designed (so it said on the cover worksheet) to 're enforce keyskills, literacy, numeracy and ICT for persistant truants.

I looked around the room, I had half a dozen scruffy dogeared books a stack of printer paper, some crayons and a whole wall of pull out worksheets carefully coded for Key skills units. (No computer so i guessed ICT would be tricky). Carefully and dutifully I bagan to go through the resources. I rated them from offensively patronising to mildly insulting. I began to wrack my mind for a more worthwhile way to spend the next two hours. I devised an interesting number game using the paper and crayons, some word cards to pin up on the notice board to make poetry and simple sentences.

Half an hour later I realised my mistake. I had just been sent on the Teaching equivalent of the 'tartan paint errand' or 'auditioning for Godot'.

'Persistant Truants'... Should have seen it coming...

None of them showed up...

They didn't show up for the next three weeks either.

I dutifully filed the cause for concern forms, knowing full well they would probably be punished with more key skills sessions to 'bunk'.

Anonymous said...

We now have 3 rooms. A withdrawel room for kids chucked out of lessons. An inclusion room for kids chucked out of multiple lessons. A 3D room (god knows what that means) for kids chucked out of every lesson! The 3D room is so good that other schools send their high flyers to it.

I did suggest that the way forward was to buid the rooms on top of each other. Pupils could then work their way up. On reaching the roof they could then jump off.

This idea was not taken forward.