Moan, moan, moan: teachers

In Bill Everatt’s current Underground Edition I had a moan about teachers. I’ve reproduced it below (that’s the indented lot), and added another comment at the bottom. Here goes . . .

Teachers are a pusillanimous lot, aren’t they? Now there’s a word you don’t hear more than fourteen times a day: pusillanimous. Nice word. I first came across it when I saw a production of Look Back in Anger, as spoken by the main protagonist, Jimmy Porter. It means faint-hearted, lily-livered, timid, spineless – that sort of thing. But I digress. Teachers are a pusillanimous lot.

They’re complaining now about the fact that pupils send them cheeky text messages and phone images, insults on websites. Cyber bullying, it’s being called, and the teachers’ union are up in arms about it.

A survey quoted by the union claimed that 45% of teachers had received an attack by e-mail, 15% had received threatening texts – and that 10% had been upset by messages written about them on websites.

Boo-hoo, they cry. Oh, dear, don’t hurt us with words and pictures. Please.

Aw, diddums!

Before the age of mobile phones, text-messaging and websites – and it wasn’t that long ago – teachers just had to put up with insults chalked on the blackboard while they were out of the room or painted on walls by way of good, healthy graffiti. ‘Stinker Robinson is an arsehole.’ ‘Fanny Fotheringham deserves to die. Kill, kill, kill!’ And for the French teacher, ‘Monsieur Jones est merde

Ah, the good old days, eh? But did they go crying to their union about it? No, the head just gave us a good ticking off in assembly the following morning, no one found out who’d done it and life went on as usual. It’s what kids do. Get used to it.

The only difference then was that the kids doing it stood the chance of being caught, because it took longer to do it and you had to be there in order to perform this act of creative graffiti. These days you can do it from a safe and anonymous distance. That’s my main criticism. The kids are craven cowards.

Even so, it is a way for them to be expressive. If the teachers can’t instil into their charges more by way of the quality of their creativity, they deserve all they get.

But the world’s come to something when teachers are running away from words. Not that long ago they’d be telling kids who’d been subject to a bit of verbal abuse, ‘Remember, Sally: sticks and stones can break your bones but names will never hurt you.’

Yeah, right on. Let’s get some teachers with bones – backbones.

Since that broadcast (you’ll find it on this page till Bill records his next Edition on 15 April), I’ve discovered that a lot of these little arseholes – the kids, not the teachers – have been getting embarrassing phone pics of their teachers and posting them on YouTube. OK, that’s naughty and perhaps the kids should be strung up by their goolies, but now the teachers and at least one government minister want YouTube to ban the pictures. OK, you may think, till YouTube scratches its collective head and wonders which ones have been posted by pupils, whether any particular picture/video is of a teacher or a kid’s mate’s mum or the kid’s mate’s mum’s workmate at the pickle factory.

As for mobile phones in schools, well, doesn’t the discipline start there? Why does a kid need a mobile in school? They should simply be told that if they have a mobile they won’t be allowed through the school door unless they hand them in. If a parent needs to get hold of a kid at school, he/she can phone the school office, as was always the case.

And why on earth are teachers allowing themselves to be in a position whereby they can be videoed? Yes, video can be mucked about with to produce what wasn’t there, but that’s always been the case – and, as I say in the moan above, pictures of teachers have always been drawn and handed round. Why aren’t the teachers ensuring that the kids simply do not record video in school unless it’s part of the lessons – and then inspect it to ensure it’s what was required, not some quick shot of a teacher having a slash in the corner of the school playing field?

I wonder if there are teachers/pupils out there who have an opinion. But I think it still comes down to a lack of discipline, and that smacks of pusillanimity to me. (There’s that word again – in noun form!) Don’t forget to tune in to The Underground Edition from next Sunday onwards, where you’ll no doubt hear me moaning, moaning, moaning about something else. 


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About Andrew John

Andrew John is a writer, editor and broadcaster with Celtica, providing, among other things, a weekly moan on a topic in the news. He spends much of his life moaning and criticising, and is crap company at parties. But just humour him. He's not a bad bloke, really.


Moan, moan, moan: teachers — 2 Comments

  1. Yes, you will, actually – hear me moaning about something else, that is. I’ve decided that nutritionists might be food for thought. Interesting lot. Tune in to The Underground Edition after it’s updated on 15 April. You know you like to hear a good rant.