Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bah Humbug!

Stone the crows! I thought I'd return a few days later and see if anyone had come up with an answer to those three questions and by the timings on the posts it looks like I made the usual mistake of judging everybody else by my own low standards.

Chalks 7th Law of Teaching states that the intelligence of the staff is proportional to the intelligence of the pupils in their school. So clearly Mark Wilkinson does not work at St. Thickchilds. He wins because he was first to get them all right and even spotted my foolish mistake of assuming that the rule was proved after just four measly examples.

Oh I forgot; number 3 is the Monty Hall problem. I just tried to rewrite it slightly but as anonymous has pointed out it only works if I know which cup the diamond is under, so I can always choose to show you the other, empty one.

I do quite like problems like these as they demonstrate just how wrong common sense can be in unfamiliar circumstances. Mind you, I like beer more.

I'll have to think up a suitable prize now. Suggestions welcome

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Merry Christmas!

This time last year, you were no doubt glued to your computer screens each morning to see what lay behind the door on Mrs C's Advent Calender. As we got a bit giddy with all the excitement we've decided to give it a miss and calm ourselves down this year. Instead here's three puzzles for you. First correct answer in the comments box for all three wins er... something good.

1) We are at a Xmas Party exchanging merry banter and you happen to mention that at the last party you attended, it turned out that two of the guests had the same bithday.

Quick as a flash, I offer to bet you £100 that two people in this very room have the same birthday. We quickly count them and see that there are 48 guests. Assume that I have never met any of the guests before; should you accept my bet? (+explain why?)

2) Ignoring your reluctance to engage me in any further conversation, I produce a deck of cards and you notice they all have a number on one side and a letter on the other. I announce that the cards obey a simple rule: if a card has a number three on one side then it must have a letter 'H' on the other.

I throw down four cards onto a convenient table '3' '8' 'T' and 'H'. You have 20 seconds to tell me which of them you need to turn over to prove or disprove my rule.

If you have not timed yourself ruthlessly and submit an answer, I shall know.

3) Even though you are now sidling away from me, I refuse to take the hint and regain your attention by producing a large diamond and three cups. I place the diamond under one of them and shuffle the cups around so that you lose track of where it is. I announce that if you guess correctly then you can keep the diamond. After a brief pause you place your finger on one of the cups. Rather than turning it over, I actually turn over one of the two other cups revealing it to have nothing underneath.

Now I offer you a choice: you can either stick with the cup you have chosen or swap to the other untouched cup. What should you do and why?

The last puzzle is quite famous, so you can have a bonus point if you know its name.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Nativity Play

It is traditional at this time of year for all those with children of their own to decide to have an afternoon off to watch their child perform in a nativity play, whilst somebody else does their work for them. There will be no financial penalty for the play watcher or reward for the lesson coverer.

Those of you without children should think of it as an opportunity to say thank you for being allowed to cover for them during the year when they have been off because their children are ill.

For a change this year, I would like to ask that all those of you who are childless go into the Heads office waving an Ocean's 13 DVD and confidently inform them that you need the afternoon off to watch the film in the comfort of your own home with some friends. You need to leave school by about half twelve because you've got to pop in to the supermarket to get some wine and crisps...

Oh, do not under any circumstances complain in front of teachers whom you have covered for; as they have a well practiced but baffling argument along the lines that they are producing the workers of tomorrow and we should be grateful etc...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pay and Display... You Pay and I Display

Gavin Brazg emailed me today. He runs an internet site called The advisory which gives all sorts of advice about buying and selling your house.

Why am I going on about him and his site? He has offered to give £50 to The Myelin project.

Whilst it's true that for £50 I would probably recommend John Darwin's Travel Guides, I can say from my own experience, that his tip about haggling down estate agents fees is spot on.

So if you are buying or selling a house click on the Sidebar Link and see what he has to say.

Anybody else who wants to be in Pay and Display, just email me.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Listen Up!

If you happen to be buying your Christmas Tat from Amazon this year, do me a favour and click on one of the book icons on the right hand side of the blog to get to Amazons website. You don't have to buy my book, just go via this site and they send me a small commission on whatever you spend.

Contrary to popular belief, this money doesn't get spent on beer, dive trips to the Red Sea or even a new pair of skis. It goes to the Myelin Trust http://www.myelinproject.co.uk/ who finance research into curing MS.

I selfishly chose this charity because a mate has the disease. So far I've raised about £150 but when I've totted it up properly I'll get them to send a receipt so I can stick it up on the blog. (As I know perfectly well that you all think it's a scam!)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


After spending the last 24 hours in Liverpool, Gillian Gibbons has demanded that she be returned immediately to a Sudanese Prison.

Monday, December 03, 2007

At least She'll have Lost A Few Pounds In That Jail

Gillian Gibbons today thanked the Sudanese President for his generous pardon:

"I am so relieved that this awful misunderstanding is finally over and I am very much looking forward to being reunited with the children I teach, my lovely colleagues and the school dog Mohammed"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

And So Is This...

Poor old Gordon Brown is under fire again today after claiming that he saw no reason to doubt the authenticity of a £2 million pound donation from Sharon Watts, checkout girl at Tescos.

Mind you, anyone who thinks the GTC is a bit harsh should get a job in Sudan, where ex-pat teacher Gillian Gibbons was recently interviewed on Kartoum Radio:

Ahmed: "So Gillian, how are you enjoying life in our wonderful country?"

GG: "Well it's alright, very sunni and warm, but I do think that banning alcohol is a bit much. I mean, I'm not really a big drinker; but you know what it's like after a long week learning the Koran off by heart... It's hard work and you need a drink, especially in this heat. Come on Ahmed, you must have a few contacts who could help me get lashed?"

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Don't Worry, This Is A One-Off

I was going to tell you about the latest revelation from Downing St. that Alistair Darling sent the bank details of 25 million Brits to a Nigerian email scammer who said he 'needed them urgently for good helping with a PhD Project'

but unfortunately The Daily Mash beat me to it. Hats off to them, they're always spot on.

Apparently the abject failure of eleven hopeless overpaid dandies last night is going to cause a collapse in the economy.

I'm too busy with the new book to post regularly (and in any case, sales of Frank Chalk went up as soon as I stopped!)

Mrs Chalk's department decided recently that pupils should be given projects to do rather than dull, old fashioned learning type homeworks. The result of this is that every 14 year old child in her class can produce a messy pile of gloop that they call a model of a cell; made out of plastecine, jelly and God knows what, but cannot name a single one of its parts.

That's what I call progress...

David Cameron wants pupils to stand up when a teacher comes into the classroom. I'm all for this, in fact I'd have them kneeling down and touching their foreheads to the ground. I can't say that I ever had any problems getting kids to stand up; it was getting them to sit back down again and stop running round the room shouting "F*** Off!" that used to stump me. I notice he didn't have much to say on that score.

Oh, Thanks to Random House- they are publishing It's Your Time in Australia from Jan 1st. That should put a stop to any more Aussie teachers coming over. I've agreed to be interviewed by Kylie in mid Jan.

Look after yourselves (and don't get a job in Los Angeles)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thank God He's Stopped!

I'm going to stop doing the blog for a while as I'm busy working on a new book for Dan Collins of Monday Books and being male, I can only do one thing at a time.

I'll leave it all up and you should feel free to continue to add comments (which are often far better than the posts).

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have read the blog, commented on the posts or bought a copy of 'It's Your Time You're Wasting'. I've thoroughly enjoyed doing them both. There might also be some news on the telly front soon, but we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, if you haven't read the book I'd certainly recommend it.

Apparently some of you are busy pretending to be me on the TES forums and upsetting people. This is an absolute disgrace and an insult to my integrity, so feel free to continue.

Oh, have a look at News from Monday Books for updates now and again.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

University Challenge

Far more 18 year olds go to University nowadays than in the past. The Government has decided (probably correctly) that taxpayers don't want to foot the bill for this huge increase in student numbers. There are two results of this policy:

1) Many students leave with huge debts which they will be paying off into their 30s.

2) There are lots of students who are as thick as a whale omelette.

Now you could argue that the economy needs more graduates. I'm happy with that if you mean Engineers, Chemists or Computer Scientists. But do we really need graduates with Mickey Mouse degrees in Media, Footballers Wifery and Celebrity Studies; or should we stop conning them into wasting three years amassing huge debts, before discovering that they can only get a job in a call centre?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Put 'Em Up!

Right let's have a fight.

Teachers: what do you think about the kids you teach and their parents?

Parents: what do you think about your kids and their teachers

Pupils: what is your preferred brand of cider?

Any other group such as Employers, Police, Doctors and Park Wardens should feel free to join in as well.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Osama Video 'Boring'

After receiving ‘hundreds’ of videos from Osama Bin Laden, the British Government has finally told the BBC to send him one of their own.

Cabinet Minister Alan Millington who asked not to be identified, told us today:

"We're all sick to death of Osama's videos cluttering up the office. I got a headache watching the last one because they couldn't even keep the camera steady. Bunch of bloody amateurs. That same old cave and rusty AK47. Doesn't he realise it's all about location, location, location. And as for that flea bitten robe he always wears…

Our first aim must be to try and get Osama to improve the quality of his films if he is going to keep on sending us the damn things. Personally I'd like to just tell him to stop, but the BBC has all sorts of quotas to try and encourage ethnic minorities into broadcasting.

Anyway, we've asked them to
send him some tips on how to make a decent ten minute presentation. You know; vary the tone of your voice, use proper lighting and a few basic special effects that can be done in a cave. We think that he could make the overall tone a bit less confrontational and they will enclose a few of their guidelines on being more inclusive- he never has any blacks, women, homosexual or disabled people playing lead roles, which as we’ve explained to him several times; is just not on these days. He should consider trying out PowerPoint also."

Head of Drama Productions at the BBC, Cedric Smythe-Wilkinson was more positive about the famous cave dwelling film maker.

"To be honest, I quite liked Osama’s early stuff, when he’d just got the camera. It was really atmospheric- you know, all those threats and cries for universal Jihad. The one where they’re having a yard of ale race in the cave and he called Tony Blair a puff was hilarious but we weren’t allowed to show it in case we got complaints of homophobia.

Trouble is nowadays it’s just his holidays and Christmas family get togethers, which always have load of karaoke- they’re all really into that. He likes to grab the mike, jump on the table and sing that old Gary Glitter “
I’m the leader" song. Thing is, if he listened to the news a bit more he’d understand that we aren’t allowed to play any Glitter stuff nowadays either, but he thinks we’re just picking on him.”

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Head of Sixth Form

I can confirm that This man has been offered a job doing the new teacher recruitment adverts. (Rather than the Government's new road safety campaign)

Actually he nearly blew the interview at the last minute, due to a misunderstanding when the secretary said "We're prepared to give you the job..."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Northern Rock

Good news at last for Northern Rock savers- the Nigerian State Bank has today agreed to buy the beleaguered building society for the sum of £108 billion.

Peter Hillditch, the General Manager confirmed this morning that secret negotiations, which had taken place over the last couple of days had been successful:

"Due to the extremely short timescale in which this deal has been brokered, the terms and conditions are somewhat unconventional. Lagos Bank will transfer £32000 of the money into each of our customers' accounts once we have sent all their details including addresses, passwords and mother's maiden name. We feel that this is a truly wonderful result for all our members."

Monday, September 17, 2007


David Copperfield has finally exposed himself.
He's a top bloke and I wish him all the best in Canada.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Teacher Of The Year

Well done to Susan Green who is the best teacher in Britain. The rest of you really should pull your socks up- she's only been teaching a year and uses puppets.

According to the article she was presented with a gold Plato. This is either a priceless statue of the famous Greek philosopher or evidence that the reporter could do with some spelling lessons from Ms Green.

Is there really a Minister called Peter Peacock?

Shameless Advert

If you liked my book, then have a look at the other titles published by Monday Books

If you didn't like my book (for example, if your child is called Wayne) then buy another copy and read it again. You might enjoy it more the second time.

The Man On The Telly

Those of you who subscribe to the conspiracy theory that David Copperfield and I are the same person will be able to watch me on Panorama this Monday at 8.30 pm.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Parallel Worlds

Have a look at this article

Replace the word 'Police Officers' with 'Teachers'. 'Constabulary' with 'Schools' and... well you get the idea.

The decline in the Police Force exactly mirrors the decline in Education. We face the same problems; weak leaders, endless Government meddling, lack of public respect or support and ever increasing, mindless bureaucracy.

They can't strike and we won't.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Go Away.

Here's a good example of a nonsense story:

Despite the headline, Mrs Horsman has not been banned from her daughter's school at all. They have simply asked her to make an appointment rather than just turning up if she wants to speak to someone. How outrageous. After all, if you want to see your doctor, optician or dentist, you can just barge in and they will see you straight away... Oh no, hang on a minute; they won't.

All manner of freaks, nutters and window lickers used to turn up at my school; ranting and raving, swearing, shouting and usually demanding to have Mr Chalk 'sorted out.' The Head was too weak to simply tell them all to clear off.

School Uniform

Parents- make sure your child has his kevlar blazer properly buttoned up for the new term.

Here's a link to the supplier of the new St. Thickchilds School Uniform. They offer a 10% discount for whole class orders.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Nasty Little Scrote

A far more suitable punishment would be to stick 925 000 volts through this wretch as he will probably be let out in two and a half years.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Department of the Blindingly Obvious

A recent study by Southampton University shows evidence that behaviour is affected by certain food additives.

Now tell us something that we didn't know.

The vast majority of the behavioural problems currently blamed on a variety of fashionable complaints are down to nothing more than poor diet, weak parenting and lack of exercise.

Oh sorry, I've said that nine times before.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Birthday Present (Well not present actually)

Here, for your amusement is the verbatim transcript of a telephone conversation which took place earlier today:

Bring, Bring! Bring, Bring!

Mrs Scuzzer (groggily):" Uh, 'ello?"

Mrs Chalk (brightly): "Good morning Mrs Scuzzer, I'm just phoning because your daughter Tequilla wasn't in school yesterday and we didn't receive any phone call from you. Is she ill?

Mrs Scuzzer (wide awake now): "No, it was her birthday!"

Mrs. Chalk (somewhat dumbfounded):"Er..well...erm..."


Why Not Scrap The Exam And Just Give Out The A*s?

2007 AQA Biology GCSE (3 modular tests, spread out over 12 months so you only need to revise a few topics at a time) 28 marks out of 45 (62%) on the first paper gets you an A* Grade. Subsequent papers are expected to be graded on the same basis.

1982 JMB Biology O Level Paper (Exams cover all of two year syllabus) 80.1% required for a Grade A, according to the examiners report.

Dumbing down? No, no, no. The pupils are just getting cleverer.

The two kids that I feel sorry for are:

1) The highly intelligent pupil who has worked hard and would always have answered 95% of the questions correctly. They receive no real recognition of their talent.

2) The kid who scrapes a 'C' Grade and is told how clever they are. They are encouraged to study the subject further and later discover after wasting much time and effort that they have no real academic ability whatsoever. They have been completely conned.

Oh, for non teachers- A* is the grade above A nowadays (Don't ask me why)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Those Who Can etc

The TDA have just sent me one of their latest adverts, which aim to try and persuade more people to go into teaching.

No it isn't

In response to those who emailed asking if this was me writing under another pseudonym; I'm afraid that it isn't, but I do like it.

Tough Talk but no Trousers...

Goodness, this is a tough, draconian measure.

Poor old Liam and Chesney will no longer be allowed to drink cider in the park, go on a shoplifting expedition, or hang round the school gates shouting out their opinion of the Headmaster's parents.

Unfortunately like all the other tough measures, there is never any mention of what will happen to Coyne when he simply ignores it. As you can breach your ASBO 25 times with impunity, or keep your child off school without any fear of the Local Authority taking you to Court, I don't think that expellees with a love of the great outdoors should worry too much just yet.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Shazney Smallbrain Has Just Graduated From Primary School, Age 26...

Primary School Teachers will no doubt be jumping for joy over Tory proposals to make kids who haven't learnt to read, write or do the odd sum; stay on for another year rather than go to Secondary School where they will have absolutely no chance of keeping up.

Predictably the Teachers Unions have described it as unworkable (forgetting that it works in the US, Germany and several other countries which I'm sure readers will name)

The average member of the public might well say: "Why on Earth can't they manage to teach kids to read in seven years?". After meeting Ashley or Dwayne and their parent, they would probably change this question to: "I wonder if I could get him to sit or fetch a ball?"

The professionals will twitter about self esteem and stress, but I can't help but think that we should teach Wayne to spell 'esteem' before telling him whether it is high or low.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What do you mean, any fool can go to Uni nowadays?

Didn't get on to your first choice course? Never mind, it's time to broaden your horizons.

How about a degree in Fashion Buying at Manchester Metropolitan University? Don't forget to buy an umbrella for when the deluge of job offers arrives in three years time.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Philip Lawrence's Murderer

I don't want to send Learco Chindamo (who stabbed and killed Headmaster, Philip Lawrence) back to Italy next year when he is released. I want to keep him in jail where he belongs.

CBI vs NASUWT -Seconds Away, Round One!

A poll of 507 employers shows that over half think that the English and Maths of school leavers is not good enough.

Chris Keates who is leader of the NASUWT, one of the many teachers unions; disagrees. He says that 'progress in Maths and English over the last ten years has been remarkable'

Who is right?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Level Results Shocker!

I was very disappointed by the A Level results this year. Mainly because the absence of the following pictures in the press cost me a £20 bet with Mrs C.

1) The group of pretty girls from a nice Private School and their young attractive headmistress, delighting over their superb results.

2) The twins with identical grades.

3) The Chinese boy who only learnt English last month and has got 20 A Levels.

4) Ashley from Scagton, who is the first member of his family ever to go to University.

These pictures were once the Gold Standard of exam reporting. You could depend on seeing them each year at this time. Their absence is the clearest sign yet that the A Level is in serious decline.

Postings will continue to be sporadic until 3rd September, when normal poor service will be resumed.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Here We Go Again.

The Professional Association of Teachers are holding their annual conference for teachers with nothing to do in the holidays.

They have kicked off by passing a motion, demanding the closure of Youtube, source of many a hilarious and/or death defying video, on the grounds that pupils use it to bully them.

The sad and depressing image of fully grown adults claiming once again to have been bullied by children should further convince the general population that we bring most of our woes upon ourselves. Unfortunately they are starting to think that all teachers are like this.

I wonder if Google, who have just paid a couple of billion dollars for Youtube will decide to close it down?

ps Hoorah for the sunny weather at last.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Disgrace

This article alleges that teachers are helping pupils with their Coursework. This is both illegal and immoral.

I can honestly say that I never gave any pupil unfair help with their coursework unless their parents paid me a decent hourly rate to do so. Teachers doing it for free are completely undermining the integrity of the profession. I have no idea how widespread this problem is but would be interseted in your comments.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

'A' Level Space Invaders

All this talk about qualifications being 'dumbed down' is clearly nonsense. A Media Diploma where pupils are expected to 'critically respond to a range of computer games and discuss why enthusiasts like playing them' is going to be every bit as challenging as boring old Maths, Physics and Chemistry. If you can master 'Printing banners for a party and performing a stand up comedy routine' then top Universities up and down the Country will welcome you with open arms.

Why is anything that contains the word 'Media' always so good for a laugh?

ps I foolishly attempted to drive to Hereford last Friday and ended up spending the night in the car park of a pub on the A44 just outside Worcester as the waters rose all around me. Any readers who've suffered in the recent floods certainly have my sympathies.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Here comes the Summer...

There will be fewer posts over the next few weeks as the last thing any teacher would want in their Summer Holidays is to have me droning on about schools etc.

If you are a teacher then make sure you enjoy your holiday.

If you're not... then that's probably worth celebrating as well.

Now go and buy three copies of my book.

All the best
Frank Chalk

ps There is no truth whatsoever in the rumour that Angela Mason and myself are standing for election to the General Teaching Council next year.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Reality TV

On Crimewatch the other day, half the villains were black, a couple more were Asian and one was white. I don't know how they get away with it. Don't they know that simply isn't allowed?

If the makers of Crimewatch bothered to watch some modern thrillers they would see how things really are, especially if the director considers himself to be 'radical' and 'cutting edge'. All criminals are thuggish looking white men with skinheads and Mr Big the crime boss is a well spoken white gentlemen. There will be a corrupt Police Officer who is easy to spot because he looks a bit funny and never laughs. He is also white with very little hair. There are definitely no Middle Eastern men running round shouting at Allah before going 'pop!'

If I was bald I would definitely sue the makers of these films for discrimination or something innit.

ps. The BBC have denied rumours that they are filming a tv adaptation of 'Tintin in the Congo'

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Daily Sport

I think this is a great idea. Five hours sport a week is just what many teachers need.

Oh hang on a minute, it's for the kids. Well, that will be a good thing too. I know I harp on about it, but exercise really does work wonders for their behaviour.

Mind you whether it actually happens or not is a different matter. Halfway down the article we hear about the 'Competition Manager' which sounds like another dodgy made up taxpayer funded job (yes, I have applied to be one).

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hmmm... Maybe not.

This wasn't quite what I had in mind as a suitable Summer Holiday activity to keep the brats out of trouble; but if you happen to have a train ticket to Grindelwald, an old pair of skis and a large kite, then it might be just the thing to while way an afternoon.

Incidentally about halfway through, you can just about make out a circular viewing window in the side of the mountain where the train stops and you can look out. Some people will do anything to avoid paying for a return ticket.

Finally, one top tip from a Health and Safety perspective- Don't forget to take Swiss Francs with you, as Switzerland is not a member of the EU.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler...What did they know?

The textbook for the new GCSE Physics syllabus has just arrived at St. Thickchilds.

I read the other day that only 20% of Americans realise that the Sun goes round the Earth. Apparently the figure is similar in the UK except that more people asked what a percentage was.

All you old fashioned 'Heliocentric' teachers should visit this site and brush up on your Astronomy. Here you can learn about geostationary satellites and here you can buy a mug to leave around in the Science Prep Room.

Brace Yourself!

Oh yes! It's that time again. Brace yourselves for the million kids who will shortly be roaming the streets and shopping centres looking for trouble.

Why are they bored? I reckon there are two simple reasons.

If you are over 35, go for a walk around the area you grew up in. Visit the fields and woods that you played in as a kid.

Oh dear, they have all been built over and are now housing estates, car parks or shopping centres.

The second problem is that kids have been spoonfed passive entertainment all their lives in the form of non stop TV, computers and video games, so they have never learnt how to amuse themselves. Therefore the Underclass kids hang round in gangs, setting fire to your garden fence and the Middle Class ones aren't allowed out at all by their over protective parents who firmly believe that a paedophile lurks around every corner.

No wonder the kids are bored. After school activities, 'Yoof Centres' and School Holiday Clubs are all very worthy but most are Dullsville Tennessee. I'd put a shedload of money into activities where kids can actually do things, such as coaching in a wide variety of sports (not just football, let's introduce them to something new) along with organisations which enable them to have a bit of rough and tumble, and get involved in organised chaos. ie Scouts, Guides, Air, Sea and Army Cadet Forces.

Unfortunately none of those organisations will be considered pc enough so I can only advise you to lock your door and keep an eye on that fence.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Boys and Girls

Girls outperform boys at virtually every stage in education nowadays. Why is this and does it matter?

Our entire education system has been altered in recent years to favour girls. There are virtually no male Primary Teachers and even Secondary Teaching is becoming almost a female profession. Boys therefore do not encounter role models or see male figures in authority. The advertisements to attract new teachers do not exactly encourage males to exhibit strong leadership, resilience, toughness or any quality that was once admired as 'manly' but is now seen as 'bullying'. They seem to be trying to attract Social Workers instead.

Behaviour that boys naturally adopt from a young age; ie running around causing mayhem, fighting and shouting is actively discouraged. Boys generally love danger and competition which are seen as taboo.

Girls tend to work conscientiously throughout the year whereas boys prefer to cram for an exam and perform better under stressful conditions. Therefore we have introduced Coursework which many boys don't even bother to hand in and modular courses with numerous minor exams which boys soon get bored with.

Government funded groups and companies such as L'Oreal actively advertise Women in Science. Nobody does a similar thing for men. TV dramas tend to show women in strong roles, triumphing over weak and indecisive men (who always have 'issues'). All in all it's a bit like the 1950s in reverse.

Still. no point in moaning, you can't blame a group for fighting for it's own interests. Maybe I'll start a male emancipation movement (If Mrs C will let me)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Oh My God! What's That?

It was the persistant barking of my faithful dog Humphrey that alerted me to the aliens presence. Shortly after lunch it appeared, a giant glowing ball hovering just above the apple tree halfway down my garden. It made no move to attack us, but I've always found it best not to take any chances.

Being fearless and worldly wise we panicked, ran upstairs and hid under the bed wimpering. Mrs Chalk found us; still cowering, on her return an hour later.

"What are you two doing up here when the sun's out for the first time in weeks?" She said.

ps I'm not sure whether to believe Hill who claims that his Head took down a spoof advert in the staffroom in the Glasgow Herald for a 'Second Hand Jeep Cherokee with a Charcoal interior.'

Friday, July 06, 2007

Bad Science, Great Sales Opportunities!

Having taken inspiration from the decline in Science Education and the site http://www.badscience.net/ I will shortly begin selling my patented WIFI radiation shields to schools across the land. I also hope to install my health giving 'Penta water' vending machines, homeopathic crisps and anything I can think of with the word 'detox' in it.

Heads are queueing up to avail themselves of my consultancy service where for a not so small fee, I can detect whether your school was built on a Ley Line. If this turns out to be the case then you will no doubt wish to invest in my 'Positive Ion Generator' which will counteract any ill effects.

One Science Department has already asked me to come along and demonstrate how I can re align my chakras.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Angela Mason Banned

Angela Mason has been banned by the General Teaching Council from teaching for one year. In case you had forgotten, she did some Supply work and secretly filmed the kids in her classes to show how bad their behaviour was for a Channel Four Documentary. The hand wringers argued that she had 'abused her position of trust and brought her profession into disrepute' or something like that and everybody else thought;

'God I'd like to whack some of these little shits'

Considering that she retired from proper teaching in the 1970s I don't think that she will be unduly worried, although she might be wondering just whose interests does the GTC represent?

John Smeaton

How can anyone resist a visit to the website of John Smeaton, pride of Glasgow Airport?

The arch enemy of Al quiada and Senior Ramp Assistant, Slugger Smeaton now has his own site; where well wishers have so far pledged him over 1000 pints of beer. (Approximately a fortnight's worth in Glaswegian terms).

The apprentice terror group known as 'The Sizzling Sons of Allah' have claimed responsibility for the attack.

ps. I've fixed the link now, sorry.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Remember Physics?

If you live in London and are involved in the teaching of what was once Science, then you might be interested in a meeting on Thursday 5th July at 7 pm in the Plumbers Arms, 14 Lower Belgrave St. near Victoria Tube station. It's purpose is to try and come up with some plans to fight the dumbing down of the subject, which has pretty much turned it from a difficult, rigorous fact based subject requiring mathematical skills into a politicised and knowledge-free debate on nuclear powered, global warming Ozone chemicals innit.

It's organised by David Perks, author of "What is Science Education For?" and contributor to "The Corruption of the Curriculum". Needless to say, I haven't read either book, but go along for a beer anyway.

Poor old Mademoiselle Bois

Thanks to Hill for this story which I missed last week. I hope Mme Bois gets nothing more than a slap on the wrist for being stupid enough to publish under her real name. As always in these cases, she will be criticised for 'using inappropriate language' or some nonsense like that. The Head will never ask the only important question; ie

Is what she is saying true?

It does illustrate the dangers of telling the truth about what goes on in your workplace or saying what you really think.

I'm On Fire

The initial conclusion was that the two nutters who drove into Glasgow airport whilst on fire were not from the UK. On hearing this, I immediately phoned the Head of Counter Terrorism to inform him that all the evidence in fact clearly pointed to a Science education in a British Inner City Comprehensive, as demonstrated by the complete lack of ability to identify and mix the chemicals necessary to create a decent explosion.

One of the pair was however able to debate the climate change implications of air travel with the Scottish Plod until a passing member of the public smashed him in the face. (Rumours that the passerby was the Head of the Glasgow Tourist Board are said to be unfounded)

As all the jails are full and nobody has thought to build a few more, the charred couple will now only be charged with 'Smoking in a Public Place'.

STOP PRESS: The two suspects have just admitted that they met on Friends Reignited

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Meet The Parents

Mrs C returned home on Monday to complain that her school had been flooded. Not by rain but by parents.

It had rained for several hours and by morning break an endless queue of children had driven the secretaries up the wall, demanding to be given permission to go home because they had 'got wet'. (Nobody had made them go outside, I hasten to add and it was perfectly warm and dry inside the school.)

When their demands were not met, many either stormed off the premises or phoned a parent who reacted with the usual outraged indignation, dropped whatever they were doing (whether daytime tv or employment) and drove up to school where they joined in the melee.

The sight of a fully grown (male) adult shrieking that they want to take 'their Jamie home right now' because 'his trousers are wet' is a sad one. Why has a whole part of our society become unable to cope with the slightest misfortune? Were such scenes common in the winter of 1963? The school was not underwater, all that had happened by this time was that some rain had fallen outside. The mobile phone however, enables a wildly exaggerated story to be conveyed to a parent stupid enough not to question it.

Did the Headmaster take a stand, tell all the parents where to go and send the kids back to class? I'll let you have a guess at that one.

However I wish I had been there to see Mrs. C helpfully suggesting to one dimwit that maybe they should make sure young Jamie is sent to school with a coat next time it rains.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Paris Bloody Hilton

I turned on the news this morning to see a helicopter flying over what looked like a swamp. Then the reporter was showing where an elderly man had been drowned, and saying that the body of a thirteen year old boy had just been recovered. Suddenly he was interrupted by the studio girl breathlessly announcing:

"Sorry John, we've got to go to Los Angeles where Paris Hilton has just been released!"

Have we, or have we not got things seriously wrong when the sighting of some halfwit celebrity is clearly considered to be more important than a tragedy?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Stuart Billington's Petition

A shame he didn't get together with Wellington Grey as we have now ended up with two petitions demanding pretty much the same thing.

Still it's better than no petitions, so if you agree with him (ie that science education is in serious danger of becoming a joke) then give him your support here

You can waste many happy hours looking through all the petitions on this site. I have no idea why this one was rejected, or this one either.

Gordon Brown

Here's Gordon Brown from his last ever Mansion House speech last week:

"I want a Britain where there is no cap on ambition, no ceiling on talent, no limit to where your potential will take you and how far you can rise"

I suspect that, just like like Tony Blair's 'Education, education, education!' this one will come back to haunt him. I also think that it will make the perfect back cover quote for my next book, provisionally titled "In The Company of Dwayne'

We Don't Need No Education

Ditching lessons is definitely the way forward; why didn't I think of that before? What we really need is more 'Cultural Understanding' and of course 'Diversity'

If you do visit the Government's e-petitions site, have a look at some of the funnier ones and sign up to get those toerags peddling.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wellington Grey's Petition

Having only two neurons, I was unable to remember to post a link to Wellington Grey's petition.

He is daft enough to think that Physics should be a rigorous, factual and mathematical study of the Laws that govern our Universe.

We know of course, that it should just be a mindless debate about Global Warming, Biofuels or Nuclear Power. But he seems like a decent chap so humour him and sign up.

One thing is for sure: they won't be teaching 'Science Without The Science' in China.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Dear Learning Facilitators and Students,

It is with great regret that I must inform you of the disappearance of the Science questions which we had hoped to use in this year's exams. We are at present unsure of their exact whereabouts, but fortunately we have been able to replace them with some Media Studies questions of equal quality, which we hope you will find satisfactory.

Once again, my apologies and I hope that you will continue to choose us as your 'Science Without the Science' provider in the future.

Yours Faithfully,

T. Lysenko (Head of Curriculum Design, AQA)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sit Still! (OK don't then.)

Teachers constantly complain (well I do anyway) about how pupils cannot sit still and keep quiet in class. The official reason for this is that our lessons are not interesting enough. The real reasons are as follows:

1) Some have realised that there is no discipline in schools and they can do pretty much what they like. We'll address this one in a future post.

2) Fed on a diet of sugary drinks and snacks throughout the day, many kids are in a constant hyperactive state. To excuse this, a whole load of medical problems have been dreamt up by drug companies eager to sell new products to the gullible. Every register is chock full of acronyms and excuses such as ADD, Bipolar Somethings, Aspbergers, Oppositional Defiance Nonsense and of course ADHD. Here's a handy tip: if your own child is naughty just send a letter to his form teacher with your own impressive sounding disease and his every misdemeanor will be forever excused. It's like the 'Get Out Of Jail Free' card in Monopoly.

3) If I am cooped up all day without taking any exercise I will cause mayhem and go mad. Funnily enough the kids do exactly the same. Many are driven to school and simply forget their kit or waste their time playing table tennis in PE. Nobody dares force them out to do physical activity and so they burn off their excess energy in our lessons.

Ask anyone who has taken a school trip somewhere involving lots of fresh air and physical activity whether there were any problems from the naughty kids after the first couple of days.

Private Schools realise this and make them do sport every day whether they want to or not.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Well done to the NASUWT for denouncing the pet idea of every weak Head. The interview with a couple of kids present as 'representatives of the Student Body'. I'm serious; people in education really do come out with stuff like this.

Just two posts ago I was declaring that common sense had prevailed and now I'm finding something good to say about a Teaching Union. What is happening to me? Maybe I should see a doctor...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Right or Wrong?

This is an interesting one, which raises a whole host of questions.

Were these two suspended for viewing non work related internet sites during work hours, a crime to which I plead guilty, along with just about everone else in the country or are they in trouble for viewing websites related to the BNP?

Would they be in as much trouble if they had viewed another British political party's website? Would the school suspend (or even question) a Muslim teacher caught accesssing the Hamas website, or Osama Bin Laden's own Blog for that matter?

What would happen to a Chinese teacher found reading a Chinese official newspage celebrating the anniversary of the Tibet invasion and the crushing of its populace? How would a Somalian caught reading the latest Jubba Valley Militiamen broadcasts be dealt with?

I wonder whether his Union would defend him to the hilt or abandon him?

What do you think your school would do in a case like this?

At Last!

Hoorah! After reading my post from last November, the Government is scrapping coursework done at home from 2009. Parents will no longer need to do their child's work for them or fork out £30 per hour to pay me to do it.

Common sense has prevailed. I can't believe I'm writing this.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Seems Genuine To Me

Today I was fortunate enough to receive an email from my new friend Mr Guei with some very good news indeed. Ive copied it below:

From:Master Kone Guei

My Good Friend, I'm happy to inform you about my success in getting those funds transferred under the cooperation of a new partner from Norway. Presently I am in Norway for investment projects with my own share of the totalsum. Mean while, I didn't forget your past efforts and attempts to assist me in transferring those funds despite that it failed us some how. Now contact mylawyer in Accra Ghana as I stated below follow his instructions:

Barrister George Okoye Esq.Email: barrister_okoye1957@yahoo.fr Telephone number +233-242-772479. Ask him to send you the check what of $750.000.00 which I kept for your compensation for all your pastefforts and attempts to assist me in this matter and I have appreciated your past efforts at that time very much. So feel free and get in touched with Lawyer Barrister George Okoye and instruct him where to send the check to you.

Please do let me know immediately you receive it so that we can share the joy together after all the sufferness at that time you trying to help me out. at this moment I am very busy here because of theinvestment projects which I and my new partner are having at hand, finally, remember that I had forwarded instruction to my lawyer on your behalf to receive the check, so feel free to get in touch with Lawyer Barrister George Okoye to send the check to you without any further delay and try to be honest with him because he is God fearing man.

With best regards,
Master Kone Guei

Being a successful author and dog walker; I don't need the money, so I am offering the opportunity of instant riches to my readers. George Okoye (LawyerBarrister no less) seems like a decent chap, so as Mr Guei says: please be honest with him.

Dedication and perseverance. An example to us all.

Commiserations to poor old Shiv and best of luck next year with your exams and finding the woman of your dreams (under 30 years old)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Why Try To Learn When You Can Shout Out?

The last three posts including the Creation Museum which has about half a million replies so far have provided the background for this one.

There is little point in having a debate on the pros and cons of nuclear power if we don't understand nuclear fission, half lives and radioactivity. Even less point if we don't have the faintest clue as to what an atom is.

Neither can we argue about Creationism without an understanding of Astronomy, Genetics, Physics and Geology.

If we try to do so, then we are simply giving worthless opinions. ie ones that are not based on any sound knowledge. This is what our modern curriculums are encouraging, with their emphasis on debate before learning.

The problem is that it is difficult and time consuming to study and understand these concepts. Learning from a textbook and practising questions isn't fun or fashionable so it will never be popular.

Far better to just blurt out the first thing that comes into your head and try to win the argument by shouting louder than your opponent or hurling abuse. That's what I've always found, anyway.

Increasingly Political

In a similar vein to Wellington Grey's plea in the last post for the safe return of his subject, here is a report which makes a good case for their claim that the curriculum is becoming increasingly political.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lost: The subject of Physics

Here's an excellent letter from a Physics Teacher begging for the safe return of his subject.

And I have found the missing 'j' from my title.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Noah'm Not Afraid Of A Tyrannosaurus

If I manage to flog my book to an American Publisher then you can rest assured that I shall make a beeline for the $25 000 000 Kentucky Museum of Creation. (I shall of course leave my firearms outside as per the conditions of entry)

I had never realised that 6000 years ago there were vegetarian dinosaurs all over the place who played happily with little cave children. (Or 'Children of Non Artificial Dwelling Homes' as we must now call them.)

If I've got time, I might also try to see the Grand Canyon which apparently was carved out in a couple of days by Noah's flood. He made a wise move only taking baby dinosaurs on his ark as a fully grown Brontosaurus might be a bit heavy.

I didn't know that all the fossils came from this flood as well, along with plate tectonics, volcanic activity, and all other geological phenomena. It's been a real eye-opener for me. And to think I was teaching it completely wrong for all those years.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

No Logo

If, like me you think the Olympic Logo is worth slightly less than the £400 000 the design company was paid (I can't even read it and since when has pink been our National Colour?)

Mrs. Chalk got her class to design logos a few weeks back and some were really good. One in particular stood out for reasons I could not pin down until I realised that it was unfortunately based around the digits '2 0 0 1 2'

I would give absolutely anything to have this as our Olympic Games Symbol.

Physics...Whassatt then?

Here's an article which shows what's happening to Science Teaching in the UK.

CASE (Campaign And Science Engineering) seem to have their heads screwed on and all credit to them for exposing the lack of properly qualified Science Teachers. I think they used to be called 'Save British Science' (BSS) Here's their website if you want to join.

I shall sleep soundly tonight knowing that we have enough Drama Teachers though.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Forlorn Hope

If you are born into the Underclass, doomed to attend a dustbin of a school, then a career in the Army might well be your only ticket out of the slums.

Yes, you might be shot by some toerag in Iraq or Afghanistan; but if you remain in the Estate from Hell, then you stand an equally good chance of being shot by a rival drugs dealer or ending up behind bars for most of your life.

The EIS would like to remove your only hope of escape.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Much More Fun

Sorry about the link on the last post, I can't get it to work. Never mind, you'll enjoy this a lot more. Stick it on full screen and watch Joe Kittinger's 1960 balloon jump from 102 000 feet.

Some of it is from the balloon camera, some of it is from his helmet. All of it is pretty outrageous. You can see the curvature of the Earth as he tumbles around. He was timed by radar at over 600 mph.

It was part of a series of jumps at the time of the Mercury project to see if the astronauts would have a chance of surviving a bailout if something went wrong just after takeoff.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Where, oh where do they get them from?

Look at this clown

Why is it that in times like this, when we are in desperate need of tough, no nonsense leaders who can face down parents, back up good staff to the hilt and rule with a rod of iron; all we get is the helpless and the hopeless?

Here's the link:


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cheltenham Races

Just to prove that I'm always behind the times, here's a story that's ten days old.

They spent £1624 of their training budget on a day out at the races. What an absolute disgrace. They should have wasted it on Inset training instead.

That money could have been used to hire a group of odd looking people from the Council to hold some 'Diversity Training'. It could have funded half a dozen experts with large earings and funny shoes to conduct a workshop on 'Gender Awareness', 'Behaviour Management' or 'Different methods of Learning'.

Instead they chose to blow the lot on the gee-gees.

I hope they had a great day out and well done to the Head for showing some initiative. If it had been me, I'd have spent next year's training budget on champagne as well.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Internet Recommendations

The internet is a vast and confusing place. Here are some sites that I've used and been impressed with. Send in you own recommendations or feel free to slate mine. Let's try and get a top ten list of sites which are really good.

Try Laterooms for hotel rooms (Worldwide) up to a year in advance. I've used it twice and you get a huge discount off the room rate. You can read reviews of the place which hopefully haven't been written by the management.

Confused.com will almost certainly find you a cheaper insurance quote for your house or car. You have to type in endless tedious details, but it's probably worth it. I renewed my house insurance for little more than half what I was paying before. If you manage to get a good deal, please be so kind as to send me a cheque for 10% of whatever you save.

ps I've now got my car insurance with them also.

Take a look on tripadvisor to see whether your 'quiet and romantic' hotel is actually above a nightclub or has a nice view of an oil refinery. There is obviously some debate as to the validity of the comments but I've found it spot on.

cdwow! have sold me cheap cds and dvds which actually arrived.

Flickr is a great place to find photos of just about anywhere. Print them out and pass them off as being from your last Round The World trip.

Google Maps is astounding. Zoom right in on your own house and...wait a minute- that's not my car in the driveway and who is that with Mrs C?

Bonusprint do online photo printing. I've used them half a dozen times and they are great. Top quality even for large blow-ups and very fast. Make up a nice calender and give it to Granny for Xmas (your Granny, not mine)

None of the above sites are paying me a penny for these recommendations, but I can assure you that they would get far better reviews if they did.

Friday, May 25, 2007

More Selection but Different

Several times in these ramblings, I've proposed creaming off the top 10% or thereabouts of kids, regardless of background and providing them with a decent education. (Grammar schools if you like) No mainstream political party supports this idea.

Here's another one they won't like either.

There is another group that we simply can't cope with, who are also deserving of special treatment. These are the kids who destroy every one of your lessons, are running wild at night terrorising the local inhabitants, and who are basically out of control. They vandalise and steal cars, burgle houses, mug people and generally cause mayhem. I could spend forever discussing the reasons why, but I'm more interested in getting them out of your classroom. (Actually the reason why they behave like they do is very simple; it's great fun and there is no reason for them not to.)

'Borstal' is one of many words that you simply cannot mention in polite educational circles. Let's call them something different then. Most 'initiatives' for naughty kids have extremely cool names invoking sport, fast cars and success. Let's call them 'Second Chance Turbo-Charged Rides For Winners' (feel free to suggest better names).

Heads would have to justify sending their little brats to these establishments but they should never be made to feel that doing so will count against them in any way. The regime would consist of early starts, lots of hard physical outdoor work, education and discipline. Exactly the same as basic training in the Army but perhaps we won't teach them to shoot straight though.

After six months if they have behaved, they leave, hopefully having gained the following

1) Able to read and write better
2) Able to make their own bed, keep themselves presentable and clean
3) Able to get to where they should be on time
4) Able to communicate with an adult
5) Maybe, just maybe discovered that they could actually do something for the first time in their lives.
3) Determined not to return because it was pretty unpleasant.

And you have had six months without them.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Somebody will be in trouble.

When I read this article I was appalled. Shocked to my very core.

How can anyone be so stupid as to leave such a valuable document lying around in the street?

A representative from the school today confirmed that they had visited Mrs Scroggins to apologise for describing her as 'quite rough' in the report and that she had accepted their offer of a large bottle of tequila and 200 fags as a goodwill gesture.

They added that the comment will be changed in future editions to 'very rough'

Sunday, May 20, 2007

No Escape For You, Ashley.

David Willetts, the Conservative education spokesman announced last week that his party did not support any kind of academic selection and that Grammar Schools were the instruments of the Devil. (Conveniently forgetting that he wouldn't have had a chance of ever getting his own job if he hadn't been fortunate enough to go to one himself.)

David Cameron (Eton) hurried to enthusiastically support him. He certainly doesn't believe that some children should have a better chance than others.

It's all about as convincing as me claiming to be off with stress. No doubt it is just some clever political move, as these announcements always are.

Read the third paragraph in this article to see just how bright this Willets bloke really is. If you happen to be a Head in a crummy school, nervously expecting a visit from on high, then simply hire a string quartet for the day, get them to wear your school's uniform and you will have no difficulty pulling the wool over the visitor's eyes. Money well spent.

Academic selection is the only way out of the slums for many poor but bright kids. It really is the only chance they will ever have. Academic schools attract academic teachers, inner city hell holes do not; they attract those who are very good at controlling unruly pupils and those who simply could not get a job anywhere else. Let's not pretend that anything other than riot control and baby sitting go on in these places.

I'm not big on personal anecdotes as they are rarely significant. However here's one for you.

In 1952 my father passed his eleven plus and went to a grammar school where he was given an education that was better than I received from my Comprehensive 25 years later. He was from a working class background as were many others in his school. If I had stayed in the same area my children would have to go to a school which is now far worse. This neatly sums up the decline over the last half century.

For 99% of people nowadays their future is sealed from the moment they are born. Infant schools now have behaviour problems unheard of thirty years ago which disrupt their efforts to teach reading, writing and basic sums, all that young children really need. A much broader curriculum which insists on them being taught unnecessary gumf further hinders the teachers' efforts. Therefore it is left to the parents to teach the basics, which further increases the divide between those with good ones and those whose parents couldn't give a toss.

The kids who are bright at 5, 8 or 11 would benefit from an academic education and ought to be given the chance of one. The ones who aren't should be given the chance to do non academic stuff that might at least hold some interest for them, rather than the present system of ever larger schools trying and failing miserably to cope with an ever greater range of abilities. However, it doesn't seem like anyone likely to get into power in the near future agrees.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sorry, We Cannot Take Your Call Right Now...

Bring-Bring, Bring-Bring...

"Congratulations for correctly dialling the number for St. Thickchilds School! Your call is important to us, so please select from the following options:

If you are unsure about the specific nature of your complaint, but would just like to moan, press One

If you are phoning to let us know that all the teachers are picking on your child, press Two

If you wish to make a false allegation against a teacher; press Three, or contact 'Ambulance Chasers' on 0870 565 8484. We will not be able to tell you which solicitor is best for suing us.

If you have a ludicrous excuse for why your child has been absent, press Four. Please note that we are unable to suggest one for you.

If you would like to know why your child is not allowed on the school trip to Scagton, press Five

If you would like to request a School Permission Slip to allow your child to spit on pedestrians whilst travelling on the school bus, press Six.

If you would like to verbally abuse a specific teacher; press Seven, or simply race up to school and demand to see them immediately.

If your child is socially inept and would like to change forms yet again, press Eight

If it is a crucial time in your child's education and you would like to request two weeks off to go on holiday, press Nine

If you are a parent who appreciates the efforts we make to educate and discipline your child then hang up and do not try again later."

With due regards to the teachers from Pacific Palisades High School, California

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Good Advice, even if I say so myself.

'Overly dedicated'
'Concentrates on every Detail'
'Works too Hard'
'Unable to let go.'
'Unwilling to Delegate'
'A Constant Worrier'
'The School is his Life'

None of these phrases have ever been used to describe me, I can assure you; but they are applicable to many teachers. 'Vocation' is a word used by employers to describe jobs that are poorly paid for the hours they demand and have awful working conditions.

When you are near the end of your life, will you look back and think "I wish I'd spent more time on my marking"? 'Course you won't.

Teaching is one of those jobs where you could work 24 hours a day for your entire career if you chose to, but when you drop dead of exhaustion, nobody will ever thank you.

My advice for what it's worth is:

Teach what's important as best as you can, do the odd 'out of school activity' and go on the occasional school trip. Get some exercise and fresh air every day and make sure you have a few outside interests or hobbies that are nothing to do with school.

Every so often look back on the last couple of years and ask yourself: "Do I really enjoy this?"

If the answer is 'No' then go and do something else. It's easy to get trapped in something that isn't right for you because change is always more difficult than carrying on doing the same thing. Life is simply too short to spend it doing something you don't enjoy and few people realise this.

If however the answer is a resounding 'Yes!' then remind yourself each day how incredibly lucky you are, put a big smile on your face and say a cheery hello to Mr Grumpy in the Staffroom.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Study Leave

In many schools the Year 11 leave this Friday on what is laughingly called 'Study Leave' but which should more accurately be known as 'Playstation Holiday' It is nothing more than an opportunity to make an early start on the summer crime spree.

As the great day approaches, teachers at the Nations Crummiest Schools face important decisions...

Do I take my car on the last day? Will Dwayne know which one mine is and take a horrible revenge for my attempts to instill some discipline in him over the last five years? How far from school should I park in order to hide it? Will the school pay for any damage? If Shane throws an egg at me, can I punch his lights out?

Take my advice and get yourself a wireless cctv camera from Maplins (the type Ashley installs near cashpoint machines to record your PIN) Have it watching over your car and recording any wrongdoing. That will certainly spoil Wayne's day when he ends up in front of the Magistrate to be let off with a caution.

To be honest your best hope is that it rains heavily.
Best of Luck!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Don't Say I Didn't Warn You Not To Do This...

Thanks to Nick for this story.

If your judgement is ever called into question, just reply: "Well it's not as bad as theirs" and you should be fine.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Teaching Instructors

I've been trying to find out the extent of this for a while.

Basically people are taken on by schools as 'Teaching Instructors'. They cover lessons but have the work set for them and do not mark it. They must have a degree but do not need any other qualification.

Here is an article about it (with some interesting comments at the end)

I finally met someone who was working as a 'Teaching Instructor' recently. He had graduated the previous year and was doing it as short term employment whilst he 'worked out what he wanted to do with his life'.

He said that the work was always set for him and he hadn't been asked to mark anything. He told me that the SMT bloke hiring him explained that he was basically a 'Supply Teacher but Cheaper'

He started off covering the subject he had a degree in but after a week, the school offered him work doing general cover. He was paid £95 per day and had been working for three months. He told me that "It's been interesting but there's no way I'd go into teaching". He was incidently, very impressed by the 'real teachers' he had met. (Except for me, I suspect)

It does raise a few interesting points:

1) How widespread is this practice? I think there are probably thousands of them, but I cannot say for certain.

2) Presumably the parents have no idea what is going on.

3) How different is this situation from having Supply Teachers? I regularly covered subjects that I knew nothing about for weeks on end.

4) How on Earth did this get to happen without the Unions doing anything effective to stop it?

5) Would you be happy going to see your doctor and hearing "Dr. Jones is away today but I'm a 'Medical Instructor'. What seems to be the problem?"

Hide Your Tape Now!

Here's something else you'd probably better not do today. I suspect the incident didn't actually resemble a Hollywood kidnapping, with screaming, threats and an entire roll of gaffa tape, but was probably a gentle and harmless bit of fun. It was nothing more than a light hearted way of trying to remind the children to sit quietly and listen. (Which is doubtless frowned upon nowadays anyway)

Needless to say the reaction is hysterical and you can already see one of the parents angling for the 'allergy' angle. No doubt 'trauma and distress' will soon follow, which can only be soothed by a large out of court settlement.

I have just come off the phone to my parents and we are preparing our own legal battle for justice over a similarly brutal event that has traumatised me since 1972. I knew education would make me rich somehow.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Teaching Toughness This Week

Have a read of this and try not to laugh (or cry when you consider the cost of sending all those teachers to the USA). It would be a hell of a lot better to teach kids that when you are told to do something, you actually have to. Sorry, that idea's a bit too radical.

You can only imagine the sort of guff Prof Seligman can come out with. I just wish Chalk Enterprises had come up with the idea first.

Hang on a minute. Weren't we Teaching Happiness last week? Just make sure you don't get them mixed up.

ps There's some new links on the sidebar to various 'Rate My' things

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Scrounging Gits

Two familiar problems are in the news again:

1) Kids making false allegations against teachers.

2) Scrounging parents pursuing compensation claims against schools knowing that it will cost them nothing with a solicitor willing to work on a 'no win, no fee' basis.

I went through a few examples in my book, but basically the problem as with so many others in teaching, boils down to 'lack of backbone'

Ask yourself the following:

1) Why do Local Authorities not adopt a policy of fighting every case in Court, rather than paying out almost automatically. It might cost something to start with, but long term there would be savings as spurious claims would dry up overnight.

2) Why don't Heads and Local Authorities insist on prosecutions of claims shown to be fictitious. This is perfectly feasable on the grounds of either 'Perverting the Course of Justice', 'Wasting Police Time' or 'Conspiracy to defraud'. Even if the CPS refuses, there is nothing stopping them taking out a civil case. Again, expensive for a very short while until after a couple of prosecutions, dodgy claims don't seem so appealing.

3) For something that can be done immediately- why doesn't every teacher in a school simply refuse to teach any pupil who makes an allegation later found to be false? Those in charge might bluster but they would always back down against a united staff.

The policy of 'Hit hard and you won't have to do it for long' has been known since ancient times. It's so much better than simply lying down.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Man on the Telly

After some high powered negotiations; (they make an offer and I say "What does that word mean?" I have managed to sell the TV rights to my book. Hoorah!

Now these things take a long time to come to fruition ('Life on Mars' took seven years!) but hopefully one day we will all be able to watch Mr Chalk on the telly.

Now I don't get to have the last word on what gets made, so I suppose we could all end up as a bunch of elves, or floating around on a space station. However, the production company seem like a decent bunch to me so I'm sure everything will be fine.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

No Playground? Where Are They Supposed To Have Fights?

Whoever came up with the idea of the brand new Thomas Deacon City Academy in Peterborough is mad in three different ways.

1)£46 million to build it. Someone's making a fortune out of that.

2)2200 pupils is far too big. We should be moving in the opposite direction; to smaller schools where the teachers can get to know every child. Kids just become anonymous in a place that size.

3) Building a school without a playground is the craziest thing of all. Boys especially need to burn off suplus energy at breaktime and lunchtime otherwise they cause mayhem in your lesson. The Head, Alan McMurdo has clearly lost the plot. He reckons:

"They won't need to let off steam because they won't be bored"

Hmmm... They will be the first kids in history then.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Step Away From The Refrigerator!

Miss Wade heaves herself out of her chair on the other side of the staffroom, wittering about how she has requested a new padlock for her store cupboard. "It's a padlock for her fridge she needs if you ask me" I foolishly mutter to the table I am sitting on.

Guardians flutter, hands wring and there is a hushed chorus of "You can't say that!" along with vague suggestions that some people who are absolutely enormous might have a medical condition. I'll say they do- compulsive bloody eating that's what.

It's not so much a case of spotting her out of the corner of my eye- she's filling my entire visual field. I can actually see light bending around her. As she finally manages to stand up, a tv remote falls out from where it had been trapped in a wobbly fold. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a kid stuck in there as well. She is clearly one cream bun away from a gastric explosion. When viewed from sideways on she appears to either be wearing one of those medieval hooped dresses underneath her straining trousers or have a shelf protruding from her waist. I might try and sit on it to get a free lift.

Believe it or not she is about to go and teach 'Healthy Eating' as part of PSHE (Personal Social and Health Education). There is a certain irony here; how do the kids keep a straight face? It would be like me teaching them Diplomacy.

Monday, April 30, 2007

No Windsurfing Allowed

Several years ago as a young teacher I knocked on the Headmaster's door, went in and sat down, exchanged a few pleasantries then asked if I could have Wednesday afternoon off to go windsurfing.

As his eyes widened I explained how I just could not get the hang of that turn where you move to the back of the board, pull the sail round and try to go into the wind. I just fell in every time. A friend would be free that day and with his help and a few hours practice maybe I could get the hang of it.

Think of it as personal development, I added hopefully.

Ignoring his look of utter disbelief, I explained that Mrs. Jones had been allowed an afternoon off last Xmas to watch her son take part in a Nativity play, Mrs. Smithson had been off last week to look after her daughter who was ill and Miss Wade was away pretty much permanently. I had never had a day off for anything, so come on, just one afternoon...

Mr. Morris told me not to be so ridiculous and chucked me out.

"You just can't" was his final reply.

What's the daftest thing anyone has actually been allowed time off for at your school?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Good Title Suggestions Welcome

Fadi has obviously heard that teacher recruitment is getting ever more desperate...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Another Great Day for Justice

It seems pretty obvious to me that poor old Mr D.D. is simply a keen plane spotter. Why else would he happen to have a map showing where secluded footpaths offer a good view of the flight paths out of Birmingham Airport?

Just because one of his brother in laws was involved in the Madrid Train Bombings and the other in the Casablanca ones, does not mean that we should jump to conclusions. You meet a nice girl and maybe her family seem a bit odd but...

When D.D. first arrived in the UK, his passport unfortunately had somebody else's name on it. Mind you, it's easy to pick up the wrong one by mistake. I've done it myself.

D.D. (we are not allowed to know his real name, as he isn't a teacher accused of touching up a teenage girl) has adapted well to life in his new country, enthusiastically taking up Website Design (admittedly they generally seem to be about martyrs and bombs, but we all have to start somewhere)

His friend A.S. is; like many pupils I taught, 'Picked on by all the Countries'

In his case, Italy and Libya would like to put him in detention.

Fortunately Justice Ouseley is having none of that and has let them both go free.

Shami Chakrabati of Liberty and Amnesty's Kate Allen will be out on the town with them later tonight celebrating another victory for Britain. Hoorah!

A Pig In A Poke

Have a read of this article. Good job it could never happen here...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Angela Mason

Angela Mason has made the fatal mistake of drawing attention to major problems rather than ignoring them. She must therefore be punished.

Long Live The GTC!

(Incidently the GTC, like the TES 'felt that they could not support' our petition for a bit of school discipline earlier this year)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rate My School

I've never been particularly bothered about the Rate My Teacher Site, I'm more concerned that we seem to be attracting too many under confident, over sensitive teachers who give a damn about the misspelt ramblings of disaffected kids with nothing better to do.

Have a look at Rate My School. It's only just got going, so there aren't many comments yet, but the ones I saw seem to have a common SMT theme...

Or simply vent your frustrations at my rather more modest offerings Rate My Pupil and Rate My SMT

Monday, April 23, 2007

Telling Stories

She's in trouble for telling her story. She's £100 000 richer for telling hers.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Hooray! Not only has the weather been lovely all week, but the new Centre for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) will soon be up and running with an annual budget of £70 million per year to spend wisely.

Inside the beautiful new Headquarters, recently refurbished at a cost that would make your eyes water, officials dined on caviar and rare quails eggs; whilst outside a spokeswoman explained to reporters exactly how the new organisation would work:

"Our primary aim is to come up with at least 23 new words ending in 'ism' by the end of 2007. Everybody in Britain today has a duty to be a victim of one sort or another (apart from white males in good health, whom we intend to crush beneath our feet.)

We also have a target of 200 phrases per year to ban. For example I could have said earlier that we 'intended to hit the ground running' but this would obviously be derogatory to anyone who is wheelchair bound; sorry 'disabled' I mean, 'differently enabled'.

Er.. anyway we are determined to introduce enough new legislation to drive every one of Britain's Small Busnesses into bankrupcy. Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave and Fraternity Leave- all will extended until you beg to be allowed back to work."

At this point a menial dashed out of the building and approached the speaker, clutching a note in one hand (and a champagne glass in the other.) She quickly read it and announced triumphantly:

"I told you we would hit the ground running, I mean wheeling. The first two new 'isms' have arrived.

'Sophorism' will be the act of discriminating against an employee who is always asleep." (Applause from inside the building)

"And from this day onwards; 'Nihilism' will mean discriminating against employees who have the misfortune not to exist.' The penalties for infringement will, I assure you; be severe.

Now, down on your knees and worship me you dogs!"

At this point the aide remembered an important appointment and she was hurriedly escorted back inside.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I Said He'd Sue!

It's not often I get anything right, so a big thanks to good old Leroy for helping me out.

'Coleman's lawyer, Raymond Wigell, said his client did not plan to return to the education field and was considering legal action against whoever planted the camera' - Chicago Sun Times 16th April 2007

Meanwhile a third teacher has resigned from the school after discovering that she had made a guest appearance on Leroy's DVD. She was quoted in today's Illinois Tribune as saying:

'I won't be taking this lying down.'

The paper also reported that a group of concerned mothers gathered outside the school gates to 'demand further action.'

I'm not quite sure what they meant by that, but I can only hope that it doesn't involve any more of Leroy's antics.

Here's a picture of the Principal with one of the few Illinois women he won't be sleeping with for a while.