Poems about British teachers

This video from Britain says about itself:

15 January 2014

Christine Blower, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, warned that teachers do not need more tests on top of the “hurdles at every stage of their career”.

By poet Attila the Stockbroker from Britain:

Today’s lesson: why a good teacher is better than any banker

Thursday 3rd April 2014

ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER salutes the NUT for standing up for education

I like teachers a lot. OK, I’m biased – I’m married to one and two of my stepchildren are in the profession as well. But I simply cannot understand the attitude some English – and yes, it really does seem to be exclusively English – people have to the profession.

The sneers about short hours and long holidays which simply demonstrate a total lack of understanding of what the job entails and, worst of all, that aphorism.

You know the one. “Those who can do, those who can’t teach.” One of the favourite cliches employed by the average Tory-voting, Daily Mail-reading resident of the quaint Worcestershire village of Bell End.

Teachers are precious and their role in society is so obviously and absolutely vital that one good teacher is worth all the bankers in the world put together.

And because I like teachers, I don’t like Michael Gove. I know you don’t have to like teachers to dislike Gove, it’s a natural human reaction, but it helps. I was very happy to be invited to address last Wednesday’s NUT strike rally in Brighton and had my lesson plan fully prepared.

It went like this:

Oh Michael Gove
please come to Hove
and stick your head
in a gas stove.

On second thoughts
I just don’t care:
feel free to do
it anywhere.

A poem which was received very well indeed. Solidarity with the NUT – good to see trade unionists properly standing up for themselves. You don’t need me to tell you that it doesn’t happen enough these days.

This weekend I’m up north again. Brighton [football club] are away at Barnsley and the perennial mission to coincide gigs with the fixture list has worked brilliantly.

Friday night I’m at the Swan in the Rushes pub, a real-ale heaven in Loughborough, and after the match at Oakwell on Saturday I’m heading to Edlington Top Club just outside Doncaster to do a short set at the Edlington NUM National Unity Day marking the 30th anniversary of the start of the miners’ strike. Incidentally, I heard that Barnsley fans unveiled a big “Coal Not Dole” banner during their match against Nottingham Forest a couple of weeks ago. Nice touch.

Then on Sunday at 2pm I’m on stage at one of my favourite venues ever, The Adelphi in Hull. It’s one of the last remaining independently run alternative music venues left from the 1980s, a hollowed-out terraced house with a WWII bomb site as a car park and toilets which until a recent refurbishment were legendary. Owner Paul Jackson is a veritable unsung hero of rock n roll. Cheers Paul.

To finish, here’s another one for the NUT and especially for my primary school teacher stepdaughter Rosie. Gove apparently wants to force teachers to return to the days of rote learning. OK, here we go:

He wants kids to learn poems –
Well, teachers, here’s a start
And every five year old
Should know these words by heart.
‘Oh, shut up, Michael Gove!
You haven’t got a clue!
Where most folk have a brain
You’ve got amoeba poo!’

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10 thoughts on “Poems about British teachers

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  6. Time magazine’s latest cover blames teachers for the problems in America’s schools.

    This outrageous cover doesn’t even reflect Time’s own reporting. While the cover article looks critically at tenure, it also questions the testing industry’s connections to Silicon Valley and the motives of the wealthy sponsors of anti-tenure lawsuits.

    The articles inside the magazine present more balanced view of the issues. But for millions of Americans, all they’ll see is the cover and a misleading attack on teachers. Our educators deserve better treatment.

    Please tell Time to apologize to America’s teachers for the misleading and hyperbolic attack on your November 3 cover.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik

    Dear Activist,

    Time magazine is about to use its cover to blame teachers for every problem in America’s schools. On Monday, Nov. 3, this cover will be in every supermarket checkout line and newsstand across the country – and it’s already online.

    When I saw this today, I felt sick. This Time cover isn’t trying to foster a serious dialogue about solutions our schools need – it’s intentionally creating controversy to sell more copies.

    Tell Time’s editors to apologize for this outrageous attack on America’s teachers.

    The millionaires and billionaires sponsoring these attacks on teacher tenure claim they want to get great teachers into the schools that serve high-need kids. It’s a noble goal, but stripping teachers of their protections won’t help.

    In fact, this blame-and-shame approach only leads to low morale and high turnover, making it even harder to get great teachers into classrooms. Just today, constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky wrote a fact-based argument 1 that tenure protections help recruit and retain high-quality teachers! In fact, there is a strong correlation between states with strong teacher tenure and high student performance.

    And Time’s cover doesn’t even reflect its own reporting. The Time article itself looks at the wealthy sponsors of these efforts. And while it looks critically at tenure, it also questions the testing industry’s connections to Silicon Valley and the motives of these players.

    But rather than use the cover to put the spotlight on the people using their wealth to change education policy, Time’s editors decided to sensationalize the topic and blame the educators who dedicate their lives to serving students. The cover is particularly disappointing because the articles inside the magazine present a much more balanced view of the issue. But for millions of Americans, all they’ll see is the cover and its misleading attack on teachers.

    There are serious challenges facing our schools – tell Time that blaming teachers won’t solve anything.

    When we work together instead of pointing fingers, we know we can help students succeed.

    In places like New Haven, Conn., Lawrence, Mass., Los Angeles’ ABC school district and many others, union-district collaboration is leading to real change2.

    Instead of pitting students and teachers against each other, these districts are showing how we can build welcoming, engaging schools by working together to give kids the education they deserve. As a result of this collaborative approach, once-struggling schools all over America are turning around.

    When we collaborate, we’re able to recruit AND retain high-quality teachers, and reclaim the promise of a high-quality education for every student.

    And when we work together, we can also change tenure to make it what it was supposed to be – a fair shake before you are fired, not a job for life, an excuse for administrators not to manage or a cloak for incompetence.

    But instead of a real debate, Time is using the cover to sensationalize the issue so it can sell magazines.

    Tell Time magazine to apologize for blaming teachers in order to sell magazines.

    We need to have a substantive, facts-based conversation about the challenges our schools face and the real solutions that will help educators and kids succeed.

    Help us tell Time that blaming teachers isn’t the way to help struggling schools.

    In unity,

    Randi Weingarten
    AFT President

    1 “Teacher Tenure: Wrong Target”
    2 “Four Solutions to Public School Problems”


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