Sunday, April 04, 2010

Lambs not to the slaughter etc.

Here is the news:

After a determined campaign by headline writers up and down the country, I'm glad to report that Andrea Charman is back at school, (no doubt planning to boil the school hamster even as we speak).

The 45th strongest teaching union, the ATL have complained about teachers being interviewed and rated by the kids. Whilst I'm just slightly sceptical about the teacher who claims that she didn't get a job because a child said that she wasn't as pretty as the other candidate, it does draw attention to something I moaned about at length in my book; ie 'the tail wagging the dog'. This is the growing practice of consulting the pupils on every decision made in the school, which was enthusiastically supported by naive teachers up and down the land. My own suggestion, for which I couldn't think of a suitable analogy; is that the pupils should sit still and keep quiet whilst the Senior Management makes a decision and then carries it through. (That last bit had to go in italics because it is a revolutionary concept in many schools.)

Another of the 476 teachers unions, the NASUWT; has declared that they are completely opposed to the idea of letting parents or companies set up their own taxpayer funded schools. Conservative Michael Grove has challenged them to run one themselves and show us all how it should be done. They didn't like that idea, which is fair enough I suppose; as they aren't really in the business of running schools; but bearing in mind that Mavis the dinner lady could do a better job than many heads, I don't think that the idea should be simply dismissed.


Anonymous said...

I was interviewed by pupils for a job I didn’t get-don’t know if it was anything to do with this. Some of their questions were silly: “When we are raising money for charity, we like the teachers to be humiliated. Tell us how you would humiliate yourself for charity?” I ducked the question and feel I shouldn’t have been put in this position.

Asking pupils to interview prospective teachers is like asking turkeys to interview prospective new owners of the turkey farm about their views on Christmas.

wellic said...

What the? I'm a student but I'd be seriously disturbed if the school started asking any of us for our opinion on who to hire, who to fire, even just an explicit opinion on the quality of lessons. I remember a teacher came in to a Science class once, and we all thought he was there because the teacher was so darned bad that they were forced into doing a check-up. The teacher started taking students outside to interview. And I was sitting there thinking, who on earth could he interview who would tell the truth and no more? On the one hand, you had the students who were so outspoken about the teacher's 'badness' and purposely riled him up, while on the other hand you had the students so quiet they couldn't offer you anything but a murmured deference.

Turns out he wasn't there for that at all. I can't believe pupils are actually interviewing prospective teachers. That is worst idea I have ever heard & it must be horrific for the interviewees. It really must undermine the teacher's authority as well if students are continually aware that they can always one-up the teacher.

I mean, children's opinions on a teacher are so volatile. Give them detention and they'll hate you for a week; give them a free lesson and maybe they'll like you that day. You can't seriously invest anything in that.

Dack said...

Gove claimed, kinda, that he wanted to nationalise private schools - though I suspect that was due to so many of them going under as a result of the recession. Cripes - wasn't bailing out the banks enough?

Actually... that's an argument for nationalising pubs. Hmmm...

Lilyofthefield said...

edumacated, I would give the last ten years of my life to have roomful of students like you.

Unless of course I am due to die within nine years.

Anonymous said...

I've considered going into teaching after a couple of rewarding decades as a chartered chemical engineer.

I can say with certainty that if any recruitment process required me to be interviewed by children, my response would be calmly to decline to answer any of their questions, and to question the judgement of anyone who thought such a process befitted the hiring of a professional.

One might just as well ask criminals to interview barristers or mentally ill people to interview psychiatrists. Professionals judge each other, because they are the only ones qualified to do so.

Among much other evidence, the fact that teachers get interviewed by kids is just another indicator that any pretensions they have to being a profession are delusions.