Mark Steel: Teaching? Anyone can do that

Share
Related Topics

Tomorrow's strike of teachers and civil servants should be one of the most enjoyable industrial disputes, now that Michael Gove has asked parents to pop into school to take the lessons themselves. That ought to keep teachers in their place, knowing they've been replaced by a French teacher who says, "Now listen, I've not actually done much French as such. But I HAVE delivered wardrobes for one of Norfolk's leading furniture suppliers.

"So to start with, let's see how you deal with a problem that might occur while you're on holiday in Brittany. You're on the beach, and suddenly remember you need to get a wardrobe delivered to your uncle's house in Great Yarmouth. You ring Terry at 'All Over Anglia' Ltd, who don't speak a word of French by the way, so how do you phrase your question to him?"

And teaching methods now are so different from when most parents were at school. So they'd leave the kids bemused, saying things like, "This morning we're learning the causes of the independence movement in India. Now as I understood it, the Indian is a basically happy chap but easily roused by troublemakers, so pad that out a bit and you should scrape an O-level."

And if anyone can pop along and help out, presumably somewhere a lucky class will be told: "Because of the strike, today you're very lucky to have your biology lesson taken by Mr Jonathan King."

The worry is the Government will decide all jobs requiring at least a couple of hours' training can also be done by whoever fancies popping in. Spirited members of the public with a spare hour can nip along and do some architecture, or heart surgery, or design an engine or fly a plane. That might make these cosseted workforces realise they're not as invaluable as they think.

The reason they're so determined to keep the schools open is, according to Michael Gove, the strike will "damage the children's education". Opponents of the strike also say the teachers are "taking out their grievance on our children". So it must be an extremely important day they'll be missing. Presumably Michael Gove was just as furious when schools were closed for the royal wedding, yelling: "How dare this ceremony condemn an entire generation to a life of miserable failure? Couldn't they have got married on a Saturday like normal people, for 20 minutes around tea-time so it didn't disturb their homework?"

Presumably there must be thousands of people whose life has been a wasted litany of drug abuse, because the school was shut for a general election in 1979, and on a day when they'd have learned about pollination as well, so they ended up a botanical idiot and now they sleep in the park. And to make it worse they can't even name the plants they're next to.

And in 20 years' time the most successful people in science, business and sport will be those who gained a huge advantage because their school stayed open tomorrow, so they were taught chemistry by a retired accountant, who may have spilt acid over a girl, but put the children before his selfish needs and that's the main thing.

Thankfully, with our children being so damaged by a day off, (and children across Britain do seem extremely upset by this), they're not so delicate about other trends in education. The fact they'll all be 50 grand in debt when they leave university, for example, doesn't seem to trouble them at all. And if fewer people are attracted to teaching because the pension scheme is worse, so there will be more schools where, in some subjects, the kids are without a teacher at all, that should be to their advantage, especially if it means they get taught instead by a biscuit salesman who sees a fight, barges to the front and yells: "Go on, Jimmy, SMACK him," and ends the day by saying "WAIT. The bell is a signal for you, it is NOT a signal for me. Oh bollocks, hang on, I've got that wrong."



React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ed Miliband created a crisis of confidence about himself within Labour when he forgot to mention the deficit in his party conference speech  

The political parties aren't all the same – which means 2015 will be a 'big-choice' election

Andrew Grice
 

Beware of the jovial buffoon who picks fights overseas

Boyd Tonkin
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all