I've been watching a spot of TV this week. My interest was caught by the Channel Four show about the illiterate children.

Talk about fizzing mad. I was so angry I nearly hopped on a train to start a staff room massacre at the school. Firstly there was the shocking fact that roughly about 7 out of every 28 pupils in a class could barely read, which unsurprisingly causes them to become disruptive. Disruptive! -they have every right to become murderous. No jury in the land would convict them if they tore their teachers limb from limb.

Of course the teachers were full of 'oh it's a deprived area' as if that lets them of the hook. Surely that's all the more reason to try harder to teach the children to read so that they can grow up not to be deprived or at least be deprived and able to express themselves without throwing things. Honest to God if I couldn't read I would have killed someone years ago.

So it is just as well for the teachers on that show that I can read. Their attitudes stank to high heaven. There they sat as if a school full of illiterates was nothing to do with them, whining on about having police and social workers on the phone for various pupils which apparently meant there was limited time to spend on extra tuition. As if any of it couldn't be put off until out with teaching hours. A surgeon wouldn't go interrupting operations to take calls from social workers, I don't see any good reason for a child's education should be disrupted for phone calls of all things.

To be fair once the proper teacher they'd brought in started getting results they became very enthusiastic but until then the sense of priorities in the school was demented.

I seem to recall people at my school being made to repeat years if they weren't managing and in one amazing case of kiddie intellectual fraud, an utter buffoon being put forward a year for being clever. Has that stopped? If so, why? What is the point of dragging children through years of school when they haven't mastered the basics?

Many of the children in the school featured come from pretty horrible circumstances. Surely it is only humane to give them the means to escape. Sadly the 'it's a deprived area' mentality is very much in vogue. People who know better are always excusing all sorts of things with the 'poverty' and 'toddler on a pot' facial expression. I suspect that they mean to look compassionate and clever rather than punchable. I recently complained about a client calling me a cunt and a bitch for no real reason, only to be told I was working in a 'deprived area' as if that explained or excused his ill-mannered outburst.

Mind you the person that gave me the 'poverty' bit is and I am not making this up going to sleep on a church hall floor this weekend eating nothing but rice and dal to learn what life is like in a third world refugee camp. I don't understand it myself, all I can tell you is that you should not exclaim 'oh it's like Marie Antoinette pretending to be a shepherdess' if anyone you know indulges in this type of thing. It vexes them something awful. You shouldn't tell them that you adore rice and dal either, they'll only think you're taking the piss.



Binty McShae said...

I spent some time in Kerala, India, and whilst that is undoubtedly one of the most well off states in India the living conditions are still, by UK standards, pretty piss poor. Yet they have a near 100% literacy rate (the highest in the country). And for many that's literacy in at least two languages.

Garth said...

...as do Cuba, Venezuela et al
Don't get me started on teachers - bunch of self righteous wasters who would be far happier if they didn't have to deal with children.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

About time people staring saying this, you go girl! There is a long held tradition of whining in teaching (I come from a family of teachers) though I think the deprivation as an excuse is a relatively new thing and is a pathetic excuse for not calling a spade a spade, although not a cunt, however desperate one may be.
Don't start me on those wankers who want the whole self righteous poverty experience while the ignore people freezing and starving on their own doorsteps!

Rory Maxwell said...

Oh the whole thing was infuriating. I particularly loathed that obnoxious fat one in the England rugby shirt (as an aside - I remember teachers wearing suits, but that's for another time). "I have my own methods" she whined. "I hate being told to conform" she bleated.

Why did nobody say "Your methods are clearly failing so why don't you shut your cake-hole and do what you're being paid to, you lazy, fat slag?". Or words to that effect involving fewer expletives and more reference to terms of contract.

Anonymous said...

Is it me or has there actually been more than one program on the subject this week? I seem to recall a factlet in another program that many children are virtually illiterate when they leave junior school. I know I'm showing my immense old age here, but my junior school was very, very keen on the 3Rs. Okay, so I was never very good at Rsums, but I was a big fan of both Reading and Rwriting by the time I left...
I'm not quite sure what my point is - but I also have to ask why the parents aren't encouraging their children to Read and Rwrite and do Rsums - surely they also have a part to play in the education of their offspring?
Sorry, I'm ranting aimlessly, aren't I? I'll stop now.

Katy Newton said...

I had a part-time job in a department store with a lot of girls who were studying for teaching and I'm telling you: the reason kids can't read and write is because a lot of the people who are teaching them can't read or write either. (Not all of them. But a scary percentage of them.)

Standards are declining across the board. I work in the legal profession, where clarity of expression and verbal fluency are supposedly highly prized. Ha. If I didn't want to work for a living I'd send 90% of the documents I get from other lawyers straight back with red pen all over them.

I thought I'd be at least 45 before I started saying things like "in my day", but in my day standards were definitely higher.

Binty McShae said...

Thanks Pisces. Nice generalisation. Until very recently I was a teacher. I quit because the ever increasing red tape and paperwork left me with very little time to actually teach and the job had a serious detrimental effect on my health, to the extent that I was briefly hospitalised. But if you want to brand me a self righteous waster, be my guest.

Incidentally, I never hated the kids. They were about the only thing that made me actually want to go to work each day.

Clairwil said...

Binty I suspect your situation highlights a problem with the teaching profession, in that anyone who wants to do something as wacky as actually teach finds it so unbearable they either get out or give up. Leaving behind the idiots and child haters.

Binty McShae said...

Exactly Clairwil. The last school I was at are haemorrhaging staff, and it's all the decent ones who are leaving. Those that are left are the pen-pushers and the brown-nosers who are helping to turn schools into businesses rather than places to learn.

Clairwil said...

It's as I thought. A terrible shame that in effect is child abuse. Still we live in an age where anything that does not make a profit is regarded as worthless so what do we expect?

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