If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Friday, 26 November 2010

Why Standards Are Falling

This item (BBC Wales) made me hoot with laughter when it was aired on the 6 o'Clock News this evening.

Denbighshire teacher banned for emotional abuse

A teacher found to have emotionally abused pupils has been banned from the profession.

John Hughes called children at Garth Primary School in Trevor, Denbighshire, names such as dumbo and twit, a disciplinary hearing was told.
Mr Hughes was also found guilty of:
  • poking pupils with a stick [1]
  • dragging them by their collars
  • throwing their work on the floor.
Bloody Hell. No wonder the miserable pussy was banned from the profession. Is that the best he could do?

In my schooldays, being called 'dumbo' and having your work dropped on the floor was a sign that you were in the presence of someone new to the profession. Before they had learned the real stuff.

Like carrying you to the front of the classrom by the little bit of hair in front of your ear. Which was not considered a serious matter, but a mild rebuke, such as for a spelling mistake.

Like throwing a board rubber across the room and hitting someone on the temple and rendering him temporarily unconscious, for talking [2].

Like hitting you a smart slap across the back of the head that made you bury your front teeth in the wood of the desk lid, for nothing at all ("Now wait until you see what you get when you actually do something.")

Then again, I never told a teacher to 'fuck off', I always did my homework, and I left school with a decent but unspectacular set of O and A-levels. So, a bit of a win there, I think.

We are in a world where teachers are facilitators and enablers and entertainers, not disciplinarians, so no wonder the guy was a bit of a misfit. Perhaps he was just a crap teacher, in which case they should have said so. But kicking someone out for calling kids 'Dumbo'?

I'd better report my wife for causing significant mental cruelty, then.

[1] See Monty Python, Self-Defence Against Fresh Fruit.
[2] Mate of mine, chemistry lab. He survived.


  1. Now we await the NUT response:

    "A pupil was found to have emotionally abused teachers, and has been banned from the school."

    That'll teach them. (Not)

  2. The NUT (I was once a member) would approve of this man's sacking, I feel. After all, where was his touch-feely nurturing, where was his diversity, where was his work for climate change? I think he would have been marked as a dinosaur and left to swing in the wind by his 'colleagues', I'm afraid.

    It's the NASUWT who are the Bob Crows of the educational world. I was a member of that, too, until I was thrown out for refusing to go on strike. Their loss, I always thought.

  3. My old French teacher used to be able to unerringly nail anyone talking with a piece of chalk right between the eyes, from a standing start facing the blackboard. Never did figure out quite how, but it's fair to say we learned quite quickly not to test his accuracy.

    We, too, survived, and even learned some French.

    Wonder what the pupils call each other, by the way? In my long-distant memories, I think "dumbo" would have been considered rather mild and poncy in a playground interchange.

  4. Every school would appear to have employed an Olympic-standard chalk-thrower. I think they had it listed in the person description for the job. "Must be able to achieve 15 ft/lbs of energy at the point of throw, and an accuracy of better than 90% on a 2" circle at 20ft." And funny how the skill at throwing the chalk was in inverse proportion to the chap's general level of intelligence.

    "Dumbo" wouldn't have been considered even a mild insult, just a description under the heading of 'fair comment' for most. In my playground at secondary school, it was the usual four-letter items, plus terms like 'bummer' and 'spaz', which have not aged well.


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