- Seeking Sir
- ‘Sir’ is a state school English teacher in a big city in the UK. Prior to this he worked with children with a variety of Special Educational Needs, particularly those with behavioural and social problems. His teaching has been rated as ´Outstanding´ by Ofsted which means he once did a great job for 50 minutes. Save for a light dusting of fiction in order to protect the innocent (and indeed the guilty) anything recounted here is absolutely true. Otherwise, there will be some exciting political debate where everything Sir thinks is also absolutely true. Twitter: @seekingsir
13 October 2010
Tory Story II
It turns out that maintaining a blog or much of a meaningful life once the holidays ended was something of a pipedream. However, such was the media furore regarding the appearance of a certain ‘Miss Snuffy’ at the Tory party conference, together with her claim that the state system is ‘broken’ that I thought I should mount something of a riposte.
To be quite frank, though, I am not in the mood. Yet I am fortunate enough that my beloved pupils are more than capable of demonstrating the effectiveness of the state system. I draw your attention to the following trio of literary gems which have recently surfaced in my exercise books...
1. James, year 7, in an autobiographical piece: ‘I wake up early every morning. Then I have a shower. Then, at 7.15, I cream myself.’
2. Michael, year 8, in a descriptive piece based on football: ‘I step up to take the free kick… I am a bag of nerves. I look at the ball and then at the goal. I am so nervous I am shaking like a vibrator.’
3. Jenny, year 9, in a role-play piece in which she was writing as a teenage girl whose family were becoming homeless: ‘It’s really tough. We used to have such a great life; trips, holidays, nice cars… we had it all. But since the house was repossessed all of us have had to sleep around every night, even my gran...’
As you can see, dear state teachers, we are far from broken: James’s use of a chronological narrative cannot be faulted; Michael’s deployment of simile is both apt and strikingly contemporary in its imagery whilst Jenny’s character empathy even goes so far as to suggest how a family on the edge might seek to generate much needed rent revenue.
I can’t help but wonder, though, whether this string of painful innuendos is something to do with my teaching. At least I managed to get Jenny to use a semi-colon correctly. It would seem that your children are being educated by a Freudian-slipping grammar pedant.
The point is, however, as the above excerpts clearly indicate, that there are countless state schools that are enjoying extraordinarily rude health (pun sadly intended). We would do well not to forget this if debates about education are to have any real credence.