As my long term readers are aware I'm not a fan of the teaching profession. I've met less than ten primary or secondary teachers who weren't either thick, socially inadequate, incapable of answering a resonable question or derranged. So I may be slightly biased.
Newsnight Scotland has just ended with an item about the next EIS general meeting where they will be putting forward a motion to ban the army from schools. It took a while to get the reason for this out of the teachers represtitive. He's lucky I wasn't presenting I'd have bellowed 'answer the question, you impertinant boy' at the top of my lungs and if that didn't work I'd have adopted a sarcastic tone and asked if he wanted to stand up and tell the rest of the nation what the teachers were whispering about. As usual I was not presenting Newsnight so I had to content myself with shouting at the telly.
It eventually emerged that the reason was that joining army carries a risk of death and if the army are allowed into schools it might appear that teachers are endorsing a career in the army. Why he didn't just tell the truth and state that it was a witless bit of anti-Iraq protest is beyond me. Lord knows I took a dim view of the Iraq war but I blame the government rather than the army who as far as I understand, go where they're sent.
I was also alarmed at the idea the nations schoolchildren are too thick to understand the risks involved in joining the armed services. One would have thought the teaching profession would be embarrassed to admit that despite all their hard work Scotland's teenagers are such numpties. If teachers are telling us that children who have been in school since early childhood are by their teens incapable of listening to a presentation, considering what has been said and researching the options open to them, then I would like to know how the teaching profession intends to tackle this crisis. I wonder if it's the evidently low opinion of those charged with educating them that as at least in part responsible for their alleged stupidity.
The army argue that they only go to schools where they have been invited and do not actively recruit but instead give general career talks and let the pupils make there own minds up. Good Lord conveying information and expecting people to think! What an innovative strategy, has anyone considered putting them in charge of teacher training?
Do the teachers imagine that the army are hypnotising the children? I used to attend every recruitment talk going, including the armed services who were never away from the school. I had no more intention of joining the armed forces than I did of turning into a double bass. I was skiving and nothing said during any recruitment talk was going to alter that. Out of my year at school three people joined the armed forces which they'd wanted to do since childhood. No amount of reasoning would deflect them from their aim. As I recall it was two years of army life that convinced two of them they'd made a terrible mistake.
If teachers would prefer the pupils in their care not to join the army, then they'd be better to make their classes interesting and try to convey a sense of enthusiasm for a career in that discipline, rather than prevent their pupils from hearing one view of an army career.
Later in the week I intend to go mad about the appointment of a 'Respect Czar' and the plans to prevent under eighteens from viewing film that contain scenes of smoking in them.