Monday, July 31, 2006


After receiving some very interesting recent emails comparing teaching in different parts of the UK, I've agreed to do a survey.

I need you the readers to send me your horror stories (not as comments on the Blog, but via my email link under the book adverts for reasons of confidentiality).

I'm interested in reports of the kids' behaviour, attitudes of their parents, the abilities of yur SMT and also of the new teachers compared with the older ones. Violence, sex and drug abuse along with anything else that you can remember.

Give the County or City that you are from but any more location detail is up to you.

Many thanks in advance

Frank Chalk

Wasting Police Time

I've put up a link for David Copperfield's book 'Wasting Police TIme'

I read it (as it's also published by Monday Books) and it is a shocking expose of modern policing. His aim, like mine; is to bring to the public's attention the bureaucratic nonsense, political correctness and lack of leadership that has become as commonplace in the Police Force as it has in Teaching.

He provides a humorous and revealing insight into what your average Bobby actually does all day. He also writes the Coppersblog at which is well worth a read.

ps. If anybody can tell me how to get the advert to appear next to mine rather than underneath it, I'd be very grateful.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

How it all works part 2

Apparently in some schools the title 'Senior Management Team' is no longer allowed, presumably because it has the word 'man' hidden within it, which is deeply offensive to women.

Now it’s 'Senior Leadership Team'.

With the foundations of the Education System crumbling beneath our feet, it’s good to know that time and effort is devoted to dreaming up new names for things. As we all know, the best way to improve something is to change its name.

It’s been a long time since you were allowed to say 'blackboard' in school. (It has the word 'black' in it, which must be extremely upsetting to anybody whose skin is black.) I sympathise, because I burst into tears and had to go home a couple of weeks ago when another teacher humiliated me by referring to a 'whiteboard'

Imagine how un PC you would be if you were the 'Blackboard Manager'

Let me know of any other name changes that haven't yet arrived here at St. Thickchilds.

Oh and marvel at the swish new link to my book on the sidebar.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

How it All Works

A recent email pointed out that not all readers of this blog are teachers and asked if I would explain a few things rather than assume that everyone knows what I'm on about.

So here goes...

Ok. We have State and Private schools. State ones are free, Private ones you pay to attend or get an increasingly rare scholarship.

State Schools consist mainly of Comprehensive Schools, with a few dozen Grammar Schools and Academies. All Comprehensives have been told to apply to become specialists in a particular subject, eg. Performing Arts, Science, IT, Business Studies etc. About two thirds have already done so.

Moving on to the staff. Headmasters and Headmistresses are now called Head Teachers due to political correctness which is the most important part of modern teaching. Competence at your job is of no relevance whatsoever.

There will be one or more Deputy or Assistant Headteachers, depending on the size of the school and possibly a few extra bodies with titles such as Head of Upper School or Head of Lower School.

The Group described above make up the Senior Management Team (SMT) They make all the executive decisions on the running of the school.

Most children start Secondary Education at the age of 11. Their first year is called year 7, despite the fact that it is their 8th year at school. They take their GCSEs in Year 11 and if the school has a Sixth Form the two years are called year twelve and thirteen.

Each Year group usually has a Head of Year and a Deputy Head of Year.

Each Department eg. Maths, English or Science will have its own Head and Deputy Head of Department.

All of the above will usually do some teaching as well.

Then we have the ordinary teachers who do most of the teaching in the school. They may pick up additional points by taking on various responsibilities such as Key Stage 3 Co ordinator (in charge of the work done up to the end of Year 9 including the SAT tests) which gain them extra pay and headaches.

This is a broad outline, for the benefit of those outside Teaching. I'll add to it soon, but in the meantime, please feel free to let me know if I've missed anything out.

(Read VoteFranco's excellent comment below, which corrects my statement that State Schools are 'free')

Monday, July 24, 2006

Another Shocking Incident

Last Wednesday we had another serious incident in School.

Without any provocation whatsoever, Kylie from Year 8 marched up to Mr Blunt and said ‘Thankyou’ after the school day out to Scagton.

Mr Blunt fainted dead away and had to be revived by the school nurse. On coming round, he remarked that he had never heard such an outburst before. There were several witnesses to the event, all are said to be receiving counselling.

"We are not used to hearing this sort of language from pupils." Said Mr. Green, still obviously in shock. "Kylie may need to be moved to another school where they are more used to dealing with this sort of behaviour."

Kylie's mother Mrs Scraggins, told us:

"Our Kylie hasn't learnt that kind of talk in my 'ouse, I can tell you that. It's since she started 'anging about with that Jennifer; she's nothing but well behaved, she is."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Spammers, Scammers and Other Pests

This morning I received a flood of spam comments to the blog. They are all by 'anonymous' and usually say something like "Great site. Will be visiting again real soon!" (So you could easily think that they were genuine)

I've left a couple up (Spirit of Ecstasy-last comment) They were from various loan companies, gambling sites etc. I replied to all of them, informing them that they had won first prize in my site competition and all they had to do was send me a cheque for £25 for 'verification purposes' and they would receive a unique signed first edition copy of my book worth £10000 (estimated value)

Feel free to send them any promotions of your own, virus infested emails or 20 gigabyte video attachments that you think they may be interested in.

In the meantime, thanks for reading my blog and may I wish you all a very nice Summer Holiday.

Mr Chalk

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Desperately Sad

I knew Mr Green was angry by the way he threw his briefcase on the staffroom floor, kicked it and shouted "The f****** tosser!"

I'm like that, I can sense people's moods.

He did not need much questioning to tell his tale; basically it will be one you have all heard a thousand times before.

Dwayne was mucking about in his lesson; being a pain, distracting the others. Mr Green told him to move, Dwayne refused, he threatened to call for the SMT and the kid shouted "You think I'm f****** bothered!" To be honest it happens so frequently it's almost tedious to relate.

Anyway; Duty member of SMT turns up, Dwayne loudly refuses to go with him for the benefit of his mates, duty SMT begs and cajoles, promising all sorts of things. They both leave, nothing further heard. Mr. Green sees Dwayne leaving at home time along with all his friends, laughing and shouting. He corners SMT chap and asks why he's let him go and what's his punishment going to be. SMT explains that he's had a good chat with Dwayne and he's not such a bad boy at all once you get to know him etc...

Mr. Green has taught for twenty years and is a far better teacher than I could ever hope to be. He is perfectly capable of giving out his own punishment to Dwayne and is not one of those teachers who constantly pester the SMT with minor problems. What he needs, like all of us, is a bit of back up when Dwayne decides that he doesn't want to do what the classroom teacher tells him to.

As he was clearly upset, a few of us went for a beer with him after school and after some more ranting we ended up laughing about the futility of it all.

It wasn't really the time for major questions such as what the hell is going to happen to these kids after they leave us? Never having been made to do what they're told.

Or questions such as why, oh why do we have such weak leaders who are unwilling or unable to back up the staff?

Or why do we have to waste 29 decent kids' time whilst we pander endlessly to one badly behaved child?

No it wasn't really the time for those sort of questions, because we've asked them so many times before and given up hope of hearing a sensible answer.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Recent email

A recent email described my blog as offensive, poorly written, insulting and unimaginative. After careful thought I have to admit that this is absolutely true.

Oh and thanks to Hilary for pointing out that Mr doesn't need a full stop in front of it, because the M and R aren't next to each other in the original word. It's amazing what you learn...

24654th Bestseller

I discovered yesterday that 'It's Your Time You're Wasting' is the 24 654th best seller in the UK according to Amazon. See for yourself:

and scroll down to 'Product Details'

I was absolutely full of myself and had convinced myself that success as an author was just a few steps away. (Well 24653 anyway). I assured Mrs. Chalk that I would not be changed by the trappings of fame and promised to ignore the attentions of groupies.

Her withering look brought me back to Earth as she pointed out that the 7th best seller was a book on Astrology.

Astrology, for God's sake! How can anybody possibly be that stupid. (Visions of my Year 11 bottom set wander into my mind)

I imagine nowadays that it's probably a degree course somewhere.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Meet The Pupils

Let's introduce a few of our customers. We will start with the bottom set Year 11 group that I am currently facing:

Sitting in the front row with his mouth open, Jordan ponders life's many mysteries. Imagine a coin with 'clever' and 'foolish' on opposite sides. Now bring 'foolish' around to the 'clever' side.

Jordan’s face would be beaming at you from the reverse of the coin.

Jordan's friend Liam is also desktop material, but has a practical side to him. He is a dab hand with a screwdriver, using it to open car doors or if this is not successful; to write his initials on the bodywork. They say that procrastination is the thief of time but Liam is the thief of everything else. He would steal the air out of your car tyres where it not for the fact that your radio interests him more.

If the question is “Who ate all the pies?” then Tracey is the answer. She is so fat that she has her own gravitational field. You can actually see light bending around her. It is not so much a case of her eating the wrong things as eating all the things. Her figure is not helped by her lack of understanding of the concept of movement. If she was any more slothful, I could easily mistake her for a geological feature.

Jade is busy trowelling even more foundation onto her hideous orange face. Her hair is pulled back mercilessly into a tiny ball, presumably to make her head look like a giant sprout.

Kyle is Afro-Carribean and has worked hard to reinforce the stereotype of the troublesome black boy since the moment he joined us five long years ago. He was recently found in posession of a small amount of cannabis. Our school has a zero tolerance policy on drugs which means that if you are caught with them, then you get a severe warning about the school’s zero tolerance policy on drugs.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

It's Your Time You're Wasting

Lots of people have emailed me recently to ask about the book. The title is 'It's Your Time You're Wasting' which strained my punctuation abilities to their limits.

It's the story of a year at St. Thickchilds (actually I wasn't allowed to call my school St. Thickchilds in the book, I had to change it to St. Jude's) mixed in with my views on the current problems in education and proposed solutions.

Some of the stories will make you laugh, others will make you angry and one or two might even make you cry. I don't hold back; my own faults are there for all to see as well as those of others. My views are robust and often controversial. Characters from the book occasionally appear in this blog, although none of the material does.

It should be in the shops on September 4th to cheer you up (or finish you off) as the new school year begins. You can order it from Amazon and they may deliver it earlier.

I will do a post where you can submit reviews and anyone who spots a spelling mistake or grammatical error will receive a free subscription to 'The Quarterwit'.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Bad Lads Army

Following a recommendation, I watched ‘Bad Lads Army Extreme‘ on the TV the other night. This is billed as putting a bunch of naughty boys through 1950s style Army training. I was looking forward to seeing Wayne and Leon peeling a gigantic pile of potatoes or scrubbing the parade ground with their toothbrushes.

Alas the reality as with all TV was very different. If you didn’t like it, you simply threw a tantrum; stormed off telling everyone where to go and went home, without any comeback. The others have no doubt been bribed off-camera to play along in order to keep the series going, otherwise they would all walk out. Thinking about it, that's a bit like our school really. Also, why is everything called 'extreme' these days? The only extreme thing was the number of offences this motley bunch had commited without any real consequences.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Thanks to 'Anonymous' for telling me how to get extra spaces between words. Now for a real test...does anybody know how to put a little photo of my book cover in the sidebar?

The Temple of Idiocy

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

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

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

"Why should I do what you say?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Replies and comments

Thanks to all those who've left comments on this site and please keep them coming. They make me feel that I'm not just talking to myself. (Not that I'm judgemental about anyone who does do that, I hasten to add; before the Society of Self Communication Therapists comes after me...)

Some of them are very funny, some are informative and others are critical but to my amazement, (and this really will tempt fate) none have been abusive. (I have the mighty power to delete comments but haven't needed to yet) I've worked out some ground rules and they are as follows, so pay attention:

No swearing. We can hear that at school.
No mindless abuse.
Really good ones will be pilfered, reworked and incorporated into future writing.

ps. Due to popular demand, I have stopped using these _

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Self Control_A forgotten Idea

Kids shouting out in class constantly demanding attention, drunks fighting in the street, hysterical outbursts at the slightest perceived insult_ what have they all got in common?

"Lack of self control Mr. Chalk!" I hear you reply.

The non-stop sending of abusive mobile phone messages, the growing problem of obesity, alcoholism and dependence on drugs both legal ind illegal. The mountain of litter in our city centres and football players throwing childish tantrums.

"We've just told you Mr. Chalk_lack of self control! (And if you don't start listening we'll smash your...)"

Whether it's an inability to ignore and rise above a foolish comment, to stop eating, or carry a piece of litter 50 yards and put it in a bin; it all boils down to self-control, a forgotten idea but one that is overdue a comeback.

Whatever happened to quiet dignity? To facing adversity with stoicism rather than mindless screaming? To taking stock of a situation, perhaps realising that we may have partly brought it upon ourselves, and accepting some share of the blame rather than shrieking "I know my rights!"

Stoicism, dignity and fortitude. I'd like to spend more time teaching about them.

'The Quarterwit' (August Edition)

You definitely won't want to miss out on this month's special Summer Edition of 'The Quarterwit'

All the usual inane gossip plus:

Wayne tells us how to remove your Tag in order to make the most of the warm weather and Liam shows us the best way to climb up a drainpipe in order to reach those tricky upstairs windows.

Tracey and Chevaunne from Year 9 review the latest pirated DVDs

Free! Pull-Out Guide to the Top Ten High St. shops to pilfer from and Darren explains what to tell the Police if you are caught.

Feature Article_ Life After St. Thickchilds. We interview Lee, now at Downtown University; where he is painting the new extension to the Physics Department. Plus an exclusive interview with ex-pupil Coyne from his cell in Downtown Prison.

Exclusive pictures of Sherryann from Year 9 with her new baby, Chavney.

Turn your neighbourhood into a Summer Battleground with our Article: 'How to Make an Air Rifle'!

Every edition comes with a free spraycan in one of three exciting colours. Copies on Sale from July 16th.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Spirit of Ecstasy

The Spirit of Ecstasy is the name for the statue that adorns the front of every Rolls Royce. It was designed in 1911 by Charles Robinson Sykes and behind it is a story of forbidden love, social injustice and unrequieted feeling. It was modelled on a lady called Eleanor Thornton and you'll no doubt wish to read more at

The silver lady epitomises quality, craftsmanship and timeless elegance. Not to be outdone however, I am designing my own symbol to adorn our headed notepaper and the new school gates. I shall call it the Spirit of Idiocy and behind it is a tale of anti-social behaviour, foolishness and downright stupidity. In short, a celebration of ignorance.

It will be modelled on Shazney from Year 10, next time she comes into school.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


The latest fashion in Teaching is to be 'bullied'.

How on Earth can an adult claim with a straight face that they are being bullied at work? Have they got no self respect at all? What use is someone going to be in front of thirty hoodlums if they can't even deal with their own colleagues.

It's just another element of our increasingly cry-baby culture. Whatever happened to the traditional advice of 'Stand up for yourself'

Why has it been replaced with ''Just give up and take six months off'

Now that we are all trained to be victims from an early age, what was once known as workplace banter is now called 'bullying'

When I first started teaching, my Head of Department was always asking me to do things for him. He once handed me his entire set of reports and asked me if I could just add up the marks and fill out a sheet with the correct grades for each pupil. Always eager to please, I enthusiastically agreed and then the next day when he enquired if I had finished them yet, I regretfully announced that I had taken them all home and could not find them.

For ten days I made up an ever more ridiculous series of implausible scenarios including leaving them in the wrong pigeonhole, the theft of my briefcase, mysterious guests picking them up by mistake etc. By the time I eventually 'found' them, not having done a single one; he was at his wits' end. Other teachers were pestering him for his reports, deadlines had passed and the Head was on his back. Never again did he ask me even the smallest favour.

This was an easy and obvious way of dealing with a minor problem. There were dozens of alternative methods that I could have employed, ranging from polite refusal up to simply telling him to go and fornicate with himself.

Nowadays I'd be off with 'bullying' and he'd be off with 'stress'

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

My Identity

Several people have emailed me recently to ask whether I had considered the possibility of losing my job if I was to be identified. I am touched by their concern. (Until they attempt to blackmail me, anyway)

It's an interesting point. Technically I am probably guilty of 'Bringing the profession into disrepute' but then so are most of our SMT simply by coming in to school.

Only one other teacher knows who I am, and they have been sworn to secrecy using an oath that no member of the profession would ever dare break.

'I do solemnly swear that I shall not reveal Mr. Chalk's identity. Cross my heart and hope to cover Drama.'

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Secret Brotherhood of The Unilluminati

Scholars have long suspected that a mysterious and ancient Brotherhood had its base on the site of St. Thickchilds, here in Downtown. It is known as the Unilluminati and has remained a secret for many centuries.

The group has only one aim:

'To prevent the spread of knowledge and wisdom.'

Members of the group take elaborate precautions to keep their identity hidden, including the wearing of hooded garments (hence the word 'Brotherhood_ a shortened form of 'Brother of the hood') and the use of a form of handwriting which is impossible to decipher.

One clue is in the symbology of their name. If 'Unilluminati' is misspelt and written upside down in poor handwriting, it is impossible to distinguish it from the original word.

The group has lain idle for many years but is now being called to arms once again, for reasons that I am currently investigating.

Little is know about the society's origins except that they claim to be descended from St. Dwayne, Patron Saint of Foolishness, who was executed in 134 AD after he refused to publicly accept the existence of the six times table. Later, followers of the group fled to Britain to escape the flourishing of wisdom known as The Renaissance, leaving signs of their passing all across Europe. These however, are only visible to the well trained eye. Under the cover of an exchange visit, I am discreetly carrying out my research.

It can be no coincidence that Downtown is twinned with the small French town of Dole. Sitting outside a cafe with a glass of the local spirit (known as Benefi) I can see the clues all around. Just across the street lies the headquarters of the 'Association Societe Boulangers Ordinaire' whose initials convey a clear message of welcome to all Brothers. It reminds me that I am deep within the enemy's lair and must take every precaution to avoid being discovered.

More revealations will follow shortly...