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.


Anonymous said...

my kids are great and their teachers are great, too.
but they're only in the second year at infants and their school is in a nice little village.
some friends who send their little girl to a school in a nearby city have been rather shocked to hear kids of four telling each other to fuck off outside the school gates, though

Anonymous said...

And you can bet your life that very few parents will say anything, nor will many teachers try to stop them when they use this language inside the school gates.

Unsworth said...

What about Governors?

Anonymous said...

keene, that's because the parents teach them that language.

Saw one mother with her two young children. One boy (about 3) dropped his bottle of chemical-filled squash (which had a sports cap) and she laid him to him with a stream of f-words and abuse.

The kids seemed quite pleasant, but I guess a few more years of being told to fuck off by your mother (no sign of a father, not sure if there is one), and they will turn into evil thugs

Anonymous said...

I just think that children pick up so many bad habbits from school.

Litter- I taught my kids to pick it up, however the school is full of it and nobody dares tell the kids to pick it up.

Bad Language- I certainly didn't teach my son any swear words, but he says that other children shout them at each other in class and the teacher does nothing.

It's not that teachers don't have the powers they need, it's just that we don't have enough strong teachers.

Anonymous said...

it's got to be Medium Dry Merrydown for me !

Anonymous said...

Magners FTW

Anonymous said...

I've said it before (and probably will again) arguably one of the main problems within our society is that we are now scared to discipline our young people, either for fear of being reported, having the kids retaliate or because we don't want to restrict their personal development and creative growth.

Young people today have far to many adult freedoms, privleges and expectations. Whereas in our grandparents day there were clear boundaries for when you could be thought of as an adult, nowadays those boundaries have become blurred. Consequently, kids and young people are encouraged, or feel they have the right to look an adult in the eyes and think of themselves as that adults equal. This should never be allowed, children are not equals to adults, they are the children and whether they like it or not, until they reach 18, they should be thought of as children and be made to do, as our grandparents were.

It's no excuse to say that times have moved on and you can't treat kids like that anymore, because the world is different, it's different because we have allowed it to be so, therefore we can put it back again. I agree it would be very hard and would probably be unpopular with our young people, but if we stand firm and are allowed to have tough discipline from our politicians, then it can be done.

I admit I'm old school and my views might be unpopular and out of date, but I firmly believe in the idea that children should be seen and not heard and ruled with a rod of iron, but at the same time crucially, shown love and support when they do well.

If we want to have polite, respectful young people we as adults need to have a backbone and put children back in there place, which is to say that from an early age they are taught that apart from extreme circumstances, they do not question the word of an adult. They simply do as they are told

Anonymous said...

My offspring (14, 11 & 5) are not perfect but no more or less imperfect than most.

Their teachers have been varied. Some have been excellent, some very poor, one (imo) psychotic, most of em though are somewhere in between.

I have however come across some pretty rotten headteachers. To date, my children have had nine headteachers in five different schools and only three of them, in my view, have been any good. In fact four of them were removed from their jobs by the education authority.

A quick summary,

Head 1: (state infants school) Clearly mentally ill and anorexic, staff refused to talk to her after a few weeks and she gradually retreated further and further into her self (and became thinner and thinner) until she had a breakdown and left. Seemed a nice enough lady though.

Head 2: (same school) replaced Head 1. First act was to spend a good chunk of her budget fitting posh shelving in her office upon which she displayed her collection Beany Babies (really). She also purchased a number of laptop and desktop computers which were confined to the office and not made available to the children or staff. She spent most of the rest of the year whinging to the staff, pupils and parents about waste and the cost of materials before being sacked. She took two of the laptops with her apparently.

Head 3: (head 2s replacement, same school) Control freak. When standing in for a teacher she bawled out one gifted 6 year old so badly (because he could do the sums in his head and didn't need to write them down) that he cowered under a desk for the rest of the day (his mother found him alone in the classroom at the end of the day) started peeing the bed. The parents removed this kid from the school as a result and when told she calmly asked them if they wouldn't mind waiting till after the SATs so that his results would count towards the school figures. This bitch was also given to shouting at staff in front of the children, and on occasion to rowing loudly with parents in the playground. She is still in the job although is frequently (ie most of the time) absent with "stress" and appears (fortunately) to be seeking early retirement.

Head 4: (different school - state primary) Tweed upholstered old fartess with deep piles of dandruff on both shoulders. Obsessed with girls wearing skirts and not trousers (sent out frequent letters about this) but wasn't able to stop half the teaching staff regularly dressing for work in jogging bottoms. Was also a bully.

Head 5: (another different primary school) An absolute blinder, really good, this school was constantly high achieving during her 20 years as head, regularly topping the local league tables. Sadly she retired and was replaced by....

Head 6: Religious fruit cake who banned Halloween because it was "a pagan festival", wouldn't allow any depictions of witches, broomsticks, pumpkins etc on school premises and prevented the PTA from staging a Halloween themed event. She also managed to take this previously excellent school into special measures in under two years (a record?) along the way losing 7 out of 8 of the teaching staff (two of whom had been there for 20+ years). She refused to resign and eventually had to be removed from her post by the LEA.

Head 7: (a state secondary school) Excellent. Truly outstanding. This woman should be used to train up new heads imo.

Head 8: (independent school) A nice man. Very low profile, perhaps a bit shy even, but the school improved dramatically under him and he was liked by children and staff. Has just retired.

Head 9: (just taken over from Head 8) Early days but so far has shown an unhealthy obsession with the length of boys hair and the length of girls skirts. Wants all the boys to have short back and sides (and is making a fuss over this, although, so far, with very minimal success) and wants all skirts to be no shorter than knee length. Insists that girls hair be tied back at all times. Is also having a crusade against kit bags with any form of logo on them (why?) and insists that ties must be "waist length". Prowls the school with a clipboard noting the names of kids who's uniform or hairstyle doesn't meet the standard as defined by her. Has also insisted on the locking of all the pupils toilets during lesson times (clearly doesn't trust her teachers to decide if someone needs to pee or not) and so the poor old caretaker has to run around locking and unlocking them several times a day. Am beginning to wonder who's running the school while she's obsessing about all this.

Is this typical?

J. Wibble said...


(I'm a uni student, do I still count as a pupil?)

Mr Cuthbert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'm neither a teacher, parent or studet.

I think most/all of the problems start in the Primary + Junior schools.
Your descriptions of 6 Primary heads are exactly like the heads and class teachers I experienced in 1980's Primary and Junior/Middle school. e.g Religious fanatics, mad ones screaming at kids b/c they can't spell. (But doing sod all to effectively teach them.)
I was told regularly, nearly every day by a couple of my form teachers for years that I was completely useless and no good. There was no getting away b/c they were my form teachers and in primary schools one teacher takes you for all the subjects, all day.

The teachers I came across at Secondary were much better, but I was lucky enough to escape to one of the better state schools.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous who said:

"If we want to have polite, respectful young people we as adults need to have a backbone and put children back in there place, which is to say that from an early age they are taught that apart from extreme circumstances, they do not question the word of an adult. They simply do as they are told"

This is the most patently ridiculous thing I have heard in a long time. I do not want my 2 boys growing up afraid to question blatant stupidity when they come across it. Kids should be taught to think for themselves and to speak up if they have a problem with something.

They should also be taught respect for other people - that is what is missing from many families these days - but it does not have to involve blind obedience!

To those interested I would recommend "The war for children's minds" by Stephen Law.

Anonymous said...

The thing that struck me most about my two children's state education was the sheer mediocrity of it all. There were, of course, marvellous exceptions - including a couple of inspirational science teachers, one at school, one at sixth-form college.

At junior school, one of my children spent a whole year without being taught anything at all. How come? The teacher was a middle-aged alcoholic, who was retired on the job. Day after day he would set the kids to do anything so that he could sit back and read or just "rest". The headteacher had to know about this, but did nothing. We didn't learn about it until years later, unfortunately.

I think the most pernicious theory at work is that children from "troubled" backgrounds can somehow be civilised by exposing them to children from "nice" families. Needless to say, what happens is the opposite of what is hoped for - the badly brought-up kids make life hell for the well brought-up ones.

I think there should be a minimum threshold of behaviour for admission to proper schools. Anyone who fails to meet it, for whatever reason, should be treated as a special case and taught somewhere else until they are ready and able to fit in. That "other place" need not be nasty: indeed, it could be better-funded and have a lower pupil-teacher ratio than regular schools. But it should be dedicated to the needs of children who, for whatever reason, are not ready to fit in, listen quietly in class, and treat other children in a civilised way.

Anonymous said...

I am happy that I will be leaving this country at the end of December. A large percentage of the kids are rude and disgusting. There are no manners. They just yell and scream and do what they want.
I was in Ireland on holidays and saw a English family pleading with their 4 year old daughter to start moving. She just sat there and they said to her. 'Okay. Once you finish your ice cream we will move.' I don't know how it ended as I was so disgusted with their parenting and letting this child treat them that way. Who was in control in that relationship?

Anonymous said...

My kids are amazingly tolerant, and so are their teachers. There's a handful of kids in each class that are complete dickheads, they totally take over, my kids hate them (and maybe so do the teachers) and can't understand why nobody can control them.

The head teacher is next to useless - thinks that by getting everyone to wear school uniform *exactly as specified* and rebranding the school to have a tendy slogan ("The Time Of Our Lives" - sheesh!) it'll improve matters. Sigh. Whatever happened to common sense?

alanorei said...

Re: common sense.

I have heard it said that sense is not common.

Regrettably, I believe that this observation has a lot of truth in it.

Anonymous said...

The Annon, who said "children should be seen and not heard," I've read your posts before and completely agree with your summation. Young people today do have far too many adult freedoms, expectation etc. Perhaps I wouldn't go as far to say that they should never question authority, as there are times when this does need to be done, but I take your point and I think I know what you were getting at.

I sympathise with teachers because nowadays they have their hands tied behind their backs when it comes to disciplining the little shits, what can they do, give them lines, put them in detention? Wake up people that will not work. For a punishment to be affective it needs to be so awful that you never want to have it happen to you again, plain and simple.

I'm in my mid to late 60's now and we would never have dared speak to our elders the way this young generation do...If we did we got cained at school and then probably much worse when we got home for getting into trouble in the first place. Whether that's right or wrong it taught us children our place. Like the other Annon said until we reached 18 and were seen as adults we had no choice but to do as we were told wether we liked it or not and you didn't argue...we may have muttered (silently) under our breaths but we still did as we were told.

It might have been a hard and possibly cruel way to bring up children, but I'll tell you what in the majority of cases it damn well worked. Adults had the power and us children knew there wasn't a thing we could do about it. I for one am glad I was brought up under those hard conditions, it taught me manners and respect for my elders and betters and I don't feel like I was deprived or held back in my development because of it. In fact I learned more because most of the time the class sat in silence, which meant we had to listen whilst the teacher was talking and trying to teach us something.

I'm sorry but I agree with the aforementioned annon, we the adults do need to put children and young peple back in their place and simply make them do, by as I said having deterants that are so nasty the kids wont want to get them again. Be it right or wrong.

Ask yourselfs this question, beore we started letting children have so many rights and freedoms and abolished corpral punishment in schools...was their this level of bad behaviour in our schools from children so young? If you answer no, I would ask you to think what did we do differently then and what needs to be learnt and brought back from those days. I believe that the ends justify the means and if that means using a little force and punishments that hurt a little so be it. The fact is in the majority of cases (admittedly not all) but in the majority it worked.

Anonymous said...

Before I start I'd just like to say that I'm 15 and my school isn't perfect.

"Pupils: what is your preferred brand of cider?"

I don't drink cider. Or any alcohol. Or smoke anything. I don't go to a private school and I'm certainly not upper-middle class.

I *do* go to a grammar school in Liverpool, but that's beside the point.

My main reason for posting this comment is to ask just one question; Do you really think any pupil of the type you've been so unashamedly bashing throughout this blog (Ok so it's mainly the SMT... Sorry if the acronym is wrong.) would read this type of blog? Or any type of politically motivated text for that matter?

Ok so a couple of people posted "*Brand name*", but I doubt they've read the entire blog and/or post.

@ Comments about being scared of disciplining the children in today's society and not being able to do anything, my school has a large array of techniques to combat, all of them are effective. If a student is disruptive they get a detention, if they don't turn up they get put on a 'card', they stay on the card for a fortnight (50 X 1Hr lessons), after each lesson if the student has met all targets on the card the teacher signs it, if they haven't they get an 'N/S' for 'Not Satisfactory' (No we have no teachers with the initials NS.) If they get 2 of those in a fortnight they get internally excluded, I.E. put in a room near the office with a pile of worksheets for predetermined amount of days, usually 3. That usually works, and as far as I know, no permanent exclusions have taken place in a long time... Ok so this requires strong teachers/strong policies, but it proves that society is not scared of retalliation, physical or beaurocratical.

As for corporal punishment, erm excuse me? That may be all well and good for the (50s?) but not in 2007... Should the teachers keep some bamboo shoots to put under the nails of those *really* irritating pupils? If I remember rightly, which I probably do, in the 50s/60s NEWBORN babies were left outside with the back door CLOSED on their own for 5 and 6 hours at a time! Would you do that to your, or anyone's newborn child?

I also agree with Mike Nicholson, to a degree.

Now I've got those semi-rants out of the way... I'll answer the question intended for parents, sans the kids part of course.

The teachers are great.

The time is 2:54 AM. Please excuse any spelling mistakes/poor grammar/limited vocabulary.

Sorry for being so off topic ^^.

I do agree with most of the points in the blog however.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot, daniel m, for your very reassuring post. I know perfectly well that there are plenty of pleasant, civilised, articulate young people in the UK. But when we keep hearing about the opposite type of teenager, it is easy to start getting a one-sided view. Please keep posting here, when you can!

Anonymous said...

Daniel M, if you really are a 15 year old school boy then I'm so very glad you wrote in, it is nice to see that there are still some lovely young lads out there.

However, by the way you write and articulate yourself, which I will say is exceptional young man, congratulations - you've demonstrated that your life experiences and values are sadly a million miles away from the scrotes and inbred chavs that I teach. Sadly, your experiences of punishments and deterants that you say work in your, obviously middle class grammar school, would not have the slightest impact at the schools I've worked at. As much as I'm saddened to say it the majority of the kids I've taught are nothing but mindless, cruel thugs.

The kids I've taught have no interest in school, so they wouldn't give a toss about being put on report or fact that's what most of them want so they can go out stealing and such.

The sorts of punishments you talk about are far too mild for my students... As some of them have said to me on their more candid moments "Sir, these punishments are fuckin' shit, they don't scare us, they don't hurt us and we know you can't hit us or nofink so we just do what we fuckin like, innit."

I agree with a previous poster, the only way we are going to brink kids back into line is by having deterants so awful and possibly painful that they never want to have it done to them again. A punishment is only effective as long as it creates a sense of fear in the persons mind.

As much as I hate the idea, I would support corpral punishment being brought back (although sadly I doubt it will be) because then we might have a deterant that works. Something which is physically painful is a far better deterant than writing out lines or detentions.

CFD Ed said...

I must put in a bad word for one of my son’s teachers. She ‘taught’ English some years ago at an otherwise quite reasonable school.

It had become to us that our son’s English, particularly spelling and grammar, was falling short of what we knew would be enough to allow him to hold his own with difficult civil servants and bank managers as an adult.

We tried to explain it to him but got the result that Mrs --- said that spelling didn’t matter as long as you were creative. We pointed out that one of the points of language was to communicate and if people did not take your communications seriously then you were likely to loose out. But he was un convinced .

My wife and I arranged to speak to Mrs --- about our concerns. She was unsympathetic and pointed out that a child’s poor vocabulary often reflected a home environment where the vocabulary they were exposed to was limited.

I refrained from demonstrating the true breadth and depth of my vocabulary and submitted a written complaint to the headmaster. It did not really resolve the issue.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe people are advocating corporal punishment here.

Yes, many kids can be (to put it extremely mildly) unruly. Does that give us the right to cane them? What about a public flogging? We don't even apply corporal punishment to murderers and sex offenders and yet people are advocating it's use on children !!

I know there is a great deal of frustration about how to handle these cases. The problem would seem to lie in a few places:

1. The parents. Not much the teachers can do about them.

2. Poor teachers (please don't become apoplectic and tell me there's no such thing). At school I had excellent teachers, I also had a couple that were a complete waste of space. To solve this though is only partly the responsibility of the school, it is also the responsibility of the government to provide better funding. More funds = higher wages which means that a better quality of teacher will be attracted. At the moment we have the "dedicated" teacher, who does it for the love of the job, and the "I'm not capable of doing anything else" kind of teacher, which needs to be rooted out.

Which brings me to

3. Suitable powers to punish and exclude. Keeping continually unruly children in school punishes the other children. I would agree with the poster who suggested "special" schools (possibly better funded) for these kids where they can get the help they need without disrupting regular classes.

I know there is also a huge fear of fake cries of assault and abuse if a teacher dares to restrain a child. This should not be the case, even if (sadly) it involves CCTV in the classroom and the hallways to validate the teachers account of any incident. Physical restraint should be acceptable if it is to prevent vandalism or assault on another pupil (or teacher).

That does not mean physical retailation (corporal punishment) is acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Power to punish and exclude - agree. However, if exclusion is not a punishment, and only physical pain is for a number of pupils - which it is, trust me - how can you object to corporal punishment?

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher in an inner-city high school. I read this blog because it makes me laugh, and is often very accurate! However, the school I work in is great - staff are supportive of each other (including the SMT who are very active in the school), the head is inspirational and subject departments are, on the whole, well run. My personal experience is that, with well defined boundaries, appropriate activities, clear rules and consistency of application, even the most unruly groups can behave well in class, irrespective of influences outside of school.

As for punishments, I challenge anyone to tell me that the 'IEU' is anything short of brilliant (for those not in the know, it's Internal Exclusion Unit). I had my phone stolen last year; the pupil was caught and placed into IEU (with parental support). Basically this meant being brought into school at 8am, sitting at a table in the middle of a 6x9 copying out of a textbook. Dinner was served in the room, and the pupil was released to go home at 4pm, after the room had been thoroughly inspected and the level of work monitored. Less than 25 pages copied? That's another day in IEU. Graffiti on the table? That's another 3 days in IEU. Caught swinging on your chair? That's another day in IEU. No mercy, zero tolerance.

Safe to say no further phones have gone missing, and these days the mere mention of Mr Smith, the head of IEU has been known quell even the most boisterous...

Anonymous said...

To respond to anonymous, who said:

"Power to punish and exclude - agree. However, if exclusion is not a punishment, and only physical pain is for a number of pupils - which it is, trust me - how can you object to corporal punishment?"

Well in many cases it's possible that torture is the only way to obtain information from suspects. I wouldn't agree with that either.

The country needs a better way of handling youth crime, and crimes which are committed within school premises shouldn't be exempt. If there is a threat of incarceration or enforced community service hanging around (depending on severity) it might start putting people off.

There is always more than one way of handling things - beating children should not be one of them !

Anonymous said...

"Safe to say no further phones have gone missing, and these days the mere mention of Mr Smith, the head of IEU has been known quell even the most boisterous..."

Excellent!! More of this! I imagine it's also far more effective than physically assaulting the students.

CFD Ed said...

So then IEU = borstal at least 9-5.

Anonymous said...

IEU is called ISS (in school suspension) at the schoole where I teach...and the kids LIKE it. I have literally had unruly students walk in and say to me: I'm not going to behave to day, so can you just write me a referral now so I can go to ISS?" Of course, at my school, there are about 15 students in the room on any given day, and they usually sleep all day, or pretend to be doing school projects on their laptops while actually surfing on Myspace all day, etc. The assignments we send for them to do are almost always sent back marked "student refused to do assignmnet, grade accordingly." As if my students cared about their grade! I have yet to think up any punishment that is actually a punishment for my students, including IEU. So,any other suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Favourite cider? Well, I suppose it's a toss up between Hobgoblin's Green Goblin (about £1.50 per 500ml, look for it in Tesco, it's a green bottle), Thatcher's Katy (also available in Tesco, similar price, very drinkable) or Sheppy's Bullfinch (£2.50 a bottle in most Wetherspoons, and definitely worth the money). As always, if it's not in a glass bottle, it's usually not worth drinking, it's worth spending some time trying most of the 'proper' ciders in Tesco to see which is your personal favourite. I'd say that Bullfinch just edges it for me, but Katy's cheaper and more readily available, so it's my go-to cider, when I want to take my mind off the fact that Further Maths is doing my sodding head in.

Anonymous said...

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