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.

Teaching Unions

Every year at Easter time the various Teachers Unions hold their annual conferences. The purpose of these meetings is to provide the Daily Newspapers with stories which convince their readers that teachers have completely lost the plot and should not be entrusted with the education of children.

A couple of posts back we looked at the ATL doing their bit to make us look like a bunch of clowns by suggesting that kids need to be taught 'different ways of walking'. This set a high standard for the NUT to follow but they rose to the challenge. Baljeet Ghale, the union’s president refused to be beaten and promptly declared that teaching pupils British values is racist.

The NASUWT were in serious danger of being left behind until their general secretary Chris Keates, scored the winner by declaring that the TV Series 'Life on Mars' was Public Enemy No. 1

In a joint effort, everybody condemned selection by academic ability, claimed that teachers were being constantly bullied by each other and fainted dead away at the idea of paying good teachers more than rubbish ones. The newpapers all sent letters of thanks to each Union for once again providing first class entertainment.

Meanwhile all the normal teachers stayed at home and enjoyed the unexpected sunshine.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Leroy's 'Hands on' approach

Hope you all enjoyed the Easter holiday.

If you should happen to get called into the Head's office tomorrow, better hope that they've not been taking a leaf from Leroy's unique management style. The poor chap apparently misunderstood the idea of a 'Top Down' approach and is hopefully suing the Illinois Department of Education for any embarrassment that he has suffered.

Mind you; unlike many Heads he certainly can't be accused of being 'distant' or 'out of touch' with his staff.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Daft Bats

Thanks to 'Nick' for the PFI story. Basically there seems to be three rules of Private Finance Initiative (the modern clever way to build schools)

1) You don't get what you were promised.

2) It's made of cardboard.

3) Nobody takes the PFI company to task for not doing what they originally promised.

Anyway in Nick's school they've found bats nesting in the roof so no further work can take place as the building company risk a fine of up to £3000 for every bat death which can be shown to be down to their work. The Council have sent the 'Bat Lady' to compile a report. She stays overnight in the building and listens carefully for evidence of the little fellows and searches for bat droppings (I'd started laughing by now, too). My question is this:

If she does come across a bat poo or manage to record nocturnal bat noises, does she phone up the Council on the bat mobile?

Hope you have a nice Easter. No posts next week as I'm away.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Strange Powers

The Law giving teachers magical new powers came into effect yesterday, but as we're on holiday we must wait awhile before getting completely carried away.

It sounds like a step in the right direction, but as with all things, let's look at the reality. ie what difference will it make when Ashley doesn't turn up for his detention for the 20th time?

Because many journalists are bone idle, the extent of these powers depend on which paper you read. To prevent you from inadvertently giving Wayne a detention on Christmas Day, I have had a look at the bill itself and discovered the following:

Basically you can give a detention after school or on Saturday or Sunday during term time. (Great!) BUT you must still give 24 hours written notice to parents (and if they are crafty they could appeal that you haven't taken into account their travel needs)

You can also use 'reasonable force' to prevent Shane from doing anything particularly naughty. (as long as it's on school premises or somewhere where you are in charge of him ie a school trip). You can't give him a clout as a punishment however.

You can also tell Shazney to hand over her mobile phone although there is little guidance on how to handle the ensuing refusal.

Have a read for yourself here (if you are finding it hard to sleep) Download and click on 'Behaviour, discipline and zzzz....) None of it seems much different from what you can already do. I can't find anything that backs up some of the wilder claims in the news.

Or buy 'It's Your Time You're Wasting' for details of an alternative discipline policy.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The ATL Comedy Conference

Silly me; wrong again. I had naively thought it would be a few days before the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' Conference gave me something funny to write about.

They have hit the ground running; proposing on Day 1 that that children should be taught to walk in different ways. This is great stuff. I'd always thought that people who went to these meetings were either having affairs or needed to get a hobby, but now I understand the attraction. Martin Johnson is clearly a comic genius and if he can keep this standard up all week then he will have Peter Kay quaking in his boots.

Anyway if you want to join them, (and they all look very happy on the website) then here's the link:

Alan's Quote

Alan Johnson today:

'Ofsted has done a report on behaviour in schools and it states that in the vast majority of schools behaviour is good.'

I'd say that the vast majority of kids are pretty good, but the problem is that those who aren't know that they can do whatever they like.

Here's a bit from the Observer you might be interested in.,,2047510,00.html

ps The ATL Annual Conference starts today so there's bound to be something funny to post by the end of the week.