Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I'm gonna make you a star!

This is probably something you wouldn't want to happen to you, nor is this. They neatly illustrate what is certain to be the next big problem in teaching.

Type in 'Teacher' on Youtube and you will be amazed (hopefully) to find that there are about 13 000 videos. Some show teachers being beaten up, some show teachers purportedly drunk, losing their temper or doing the sort of things that people do. Others just show teachers teaching and some are probably faked.

This has all the signs of a future nightmare. Cameras on phones are constantly improving and becoming ever cheaper. It's very easy to post stuff on Youtube but virtually impossible for the subject to know if they are on there.

Requesting that material be removed should be fairly straightforward (especially now that they have been bought by Google) but if you are unaware of its existence then you will only find out that you are a film star long after your entire school has; maybe when someone kindly mentions it at Parents Evening for instance.

Any school that doesn't at least try to ban mobiles is utterly mad and has only themselves to blame.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Book Review

There was a review of three teaching books in the Times yesterday (Sat Oct 28th), one of which was mine. The reviewer described it as 'vituperative'! Far from dictionaries or the internet, I spent the whole day in blissful ignorance of whether this was good or bad.

You can now read it here

I have no idea what 'narrative drive' means either, but apparently I have less than one of the other authors. Mrs. Chalk believes it is due to lack of fibre in my diet so I have bought one of those new fangled breakfast cereals and will keep you informed of the results.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Half Term

I'd like to wish all those readers who are teachers an enjoyable Half Term, as I won't be posting until Monday 30th October. If you've not got a tonne of marking to do, then why not relax with a copy of my book (or work yourself up into a fit of righteous indignation)

If you are one of the Conspiracy Theorists who believe that David Copperfield and I are the same person, then I'd advise you to buy both my books just to make sure.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

'Veilure' Is Not An Option.

After reading this, I immediately ordered Mrs. Chalk to cover up in preparation for work tomorrow and am rubbing my hands with glee at the prospect of an £1100 payout. Hoorah!

I would also like it noted that I was the first to refer to this debacle as the 'Veils for Cash' scandal.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Non Uniform Day

Dear Parent/Guardian/Dreg of Society

On Friday October 20th we will be holding a 'Non Uniform Day' in order to raise money for the new School Burgervan (in partnership with Koshushko's Fast Food) To allow your child to attend school without its uniform, you should ensure that they contribute 50 pence to their form teacher before this important day. Please do not claim that this is too much money as we all know that it is but a tiny fraction of your weekly expenditure on illegally imported cigarettes and alcohol.

Those of you who do not have the faintest clue what our uniform consists of should consult the School Handbook. No doubt you will have lost this valuable booklet that we provided at great expense, but try looking for it under that vast glowing rectangle that you worship in the corner of your living room. If having found the Handbook you are still unable to decipher it, then frankly we give up.

Those of you whose offspring pay no attention whatsoever to our regulations will be glad to hear that in accordance with the School's general policy on rule infringements; no sanction will be applied to any pupil who does not hand over the money.

Last year, the majority of parents allowed their daughters to come to school dressed as prostitutes. Boys should dress as Rap stars and spend the day speaking as usual with a bizarre Los Angeles accent. As it is 'Non Uniform Day' there is a tradition for standards of behaviour to be even lower than usual. Just about anything will be tolerated in the name of a good cause.

And a Good Cause it is indeed! We take this opprtunity to announce that the contract for the future provision of school meals has been awarded to local favourites Koshushko's Fast Food Emporium. As an example of their gourmet cuisine, they do a partly organic deep fried pizza with free range chips and a choice of brightly coloured drink for only £3.50

Please fill in the form below so that we can estimate demand.

My foulmouthed child will be:

a)A proud guest of Koshushko's Food Emporium

b)Queueing at the new school burgervan

c)Roaming the streets engaging in petty acts of vandalism.

Yours Sincerely

Mr. Morris
Headmaster, St. Thickchilds School (Sponsored by Koshushko's Fast Foods)

Monday, October 16, 2006

In the News

The Police have far more good bloggers than any other profession. Along with many other things, I do not know why this is so.

Anyway, thanks to PC Bloggs (who writes at http://pcbloggs.blogspot.com/) for pointing out the article below:


I'm sure that there will be more to this story than meets the eye (just like Shanni Naylor a few months back, who turned out not to have been quite the angel that the Press initially portrayed her as)

However if no violent incident took place; then by involving the police, the school has certainly managed to make themselves appear ridiculous. This was the same borough where a few months ago a ten year old was brought to the courts after being reported by the Headmaster for 'using racist language in the playground'

The danger with all this is that the public will start to think of teachers as pc obsessed lunatics, not to be taken seriously. We seem to be ignoring the serious stuff and obsessing about the trivia.

Here's the classroom assistant Aisha Asmi who's been sacked for being utterly incomprehensible.


When she was interviewed (by a man) for the job, she 'forgot' to wear this highly important veil. How delighted I am that my taxes will be paying for her to take the school to an Employment Tribunal.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wasting Police Time

Just a quick post to let you know that David Copperfield's book 'Wasting Police Time' is out today. If you like my book you'll like his. Indeed, he might add that you will like his book even if you can't stand mine.

You can get it through the link on my blog, or in your nearest bookshop.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Good Man

This was sent into me by the parent of a pupil at the school concerned. Cut and paste it into your browser as it is a long link which causes prob;ems and I don't know hoe to'wrap' it yet. Many thanks to Liam for taking the trouble to write in and tell me how to rescue my sidebar.


Mr. Hoare has acted beyond his jurisdiction and interfered in the lives of his pupils outside the school gates. According to a barrister I spoke to; he will almost certainly be overturned if the pupils' parents decide to take the school to court, so it could turn out to be a very rash action.

However, in my opinion he has done something that few are brave enough to do. He has taken a stand for what he believes to be right and acted accordingly. He could have taken the easy way out and simply ignored what they had done and minded his own business, but he did not. He actually did something himself.

He gets my applause for what it's worth. I only wish the Headmaster at my school had been more like him.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


The Times Educational Supplement (TES) website is the largest UK teachers website and it has a forum which is extremely popular. Type "Teaching Forum" into Google and this is the top UK result

It has over 150 000 members and between 4 and 7000 posts daily. I spent a couple of hours skimming through it last week and although some of the posters are obviously highly articulate and there is much high quality debate, logical argument and intelligent comment, I couldn't help but feel sad at the large number of personal attacks, mud slinging and mindless insults between posters, most of whom are presumably teachers.

Like it or not; this is the image of us that the outside world sees and can freely access. We should stop and think about this.

The phrase "Don't hang out your dirty washing in public" is more relevant today than ever. Anything on the internet can be saved, stored and referred to indefinitely- it doesn't just go away.

I don't moderate comments to my blog and I've been amazed at the quality of those that I've received. Thanks for this.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

'Behind the Times'

Several readers have sent in news items recently, so I'll try to do a regular News post. 'Behind the Times' seemed an apt title as they are often a week old. Please keep on emailing them to me.

First of all Olive Rack (who gets a mention in my book) has been found not guilty. Her case is a tremendous example of modern madness and should put anybody off running a nursery.

Thanks to Mick J for this story about a teacher who probably won't be giving up any more of his time to take kids out on Duke of Edinburgh trips. I had to read it a couple of times before I could work out what he'd actually done.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Don't Abuse My Name!

You can abuse my name all you like, but this post is actually about the excellent campaign by Sec Ed http://www.sec-ed.co.uk/cgi-bin/go.pl/campaign/index.html to give teachers accused of all manner of things the right to anonymity in the press. (Just like their accuser usually has)

At the moment pupils can feel free to make up any accusation they wish; knowing full well that the teacher will be thoroughly investigated, hounded by the local press and suspended from their job whilst enquiries take place. There have been cases of teachers having their cars damaged, houses daubed with paint and threats made against them and their families by the local halfwitted vigilante group.

When the whole thing is found to be completely untrue, there is no comeback on the pupil. (And let's face it, 99% of these stories turn out to be absolute rubbish.) The teacher concerned is left with the worry of never knowing just what has been recorded about them and kept on file even when they have been shown to be innocent.

The current situation is an open invitation to disgruntled, bored, troublemaking pupils or ex pupils to seek revenge on any teacher they dislike. (ie the good ones)

Download their A4 poster from the site above and stick it on your noticeboard, preferably on top of the latest idea from SMT.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's Not The Critic Who Counts...

The quote below is one of my favourites. It's part of a speech Theodore Roosevelt gave on citizenship at the University of Paris in 1910.

'It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worth cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.'

Theodore Roosevelt 1910

I'm sure that they had speech writers even then, but somehow I can't quite imagine Tony coming out with anything like that...

Once when some bangle wearing Advisor from the LEA came to talk to us for an hour about the latest methods for wasting time in the classroom; I pinned up a copy on the wall just behind where she stood. The irony escaped her, but it entertained one or two in the audience.

Mind you, I think my old English teacher might have had something to say about the length of his second sentence...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Giant Sandwich (only less pleasant)

If you think of Education as a sandwich (for no good reason) then Secondary Education is the filling.

As all my experience is in Secondary, I am keen to hear more about the bread:

Primary (where they don't seem to learn the basics i.e. how to read, write, sit still and listen without talking or making animal noises) and Further Education (where it seems they go on to study daytime TV)

If I had a pound for every time a teacher asked me the immortal question:

"What the Hell are they doing with them in Primary School?"


"What on Earth are they going to do when they leave here?"

Then I would have enough to buy you all a sandwich.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Chalk's Fourth Law

Chalk’s Fourth Law of Teaching:

"No situation is ever resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved."

Eg. Kid a hits Kid b

A trivial punishment (eg. a day's exclusion so that they can relax at home, secure in the knowledge that no record of this will ever be kept or passed onto a prospective employer) is given to Brat a whose Parent c comes racing up to school (daytime TV permitting) to complain about long history of Wretch b bullying Wretch a

Dreadful Child b is then punished also, perhaps with a detention which they need feel no obligation to attend, followed rapidly by phone call from their Parent d in a rage because of Future Prison Inmate b receiving the same punishment as a when they 'weren’t doing nothing wrong.'

Lying Witnesses e,f,g and h are then interviewed by Head of Year who wearily listens to four conflicting stories and concludes rightly that no sense whatsoever can be made of the whole incident and instructs both parties to be nice to each other in the future. No further action taken.

Next day: Horror b punches Horror a and the next episode of this sorry saga begins.

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Click on the link above to view his website and arrange a viewing