COUNCILLORS had a big row over teacher recruitment the other night.
One lot said we needed to recruit and retain more good teachers, the other lot accused the first lot of effectively demoralising the good teachers we already have, and the recent bewildering Ofsted hammering was bandied about. Same old same old, in other words.
I really can’t think why there’s a recruitment crisis in teaching, anyway. Just look at some of the unique benefits on offer – benefits which even the brightest young graduates entering other professions couldn’t dream of securing.
Imagine, for example, a job interview for a role as an architect, a chemist, a project co-ordinator or just about anything apart from teaching: INTERVIEWER: Good afternoon and thank you for your interest in this job.
CANDIDATE: That’s quite alright. It seems right up my street.
IINTERVIEWER: You do realise that the role will include instructing others?
CANDIDATE: Yes indeed. It was one of the things that attracted me. I’m looking forward to being able to pass on my knowledge to a receptive audience who are eager to learn.
INTERVIEWER: Well, most of them are receptive and eager to learn. Some aren’t. A small number have never learned how to interact with others or to pay attention. An even smaller number are simply a bit rotten. They might not take too kindly to your telling them what to do. CANDIDATE: How do you mean?
INTERVIEWER: Some of them might sit around talking to each other while you’re trying to instruct them. Or throw things. Or walk randomly around the room, distracting the others. And if you try to stop them they might swear at you. Or threaten you. Or your family. Or hit you.
CANDIDATE: In that case I’ll just see they’re removed from the organisation.
INTERVIEWER: Oh no! You can’t do that! If you do that it might reflect badly on the senior management team. You’ll just have to deal with the problem in the room as best you can, and if it has an impact on your ability to instruct the others, that will be your fault.
CANDIDATE: I suppose I’ll just have to defend myself if anybody physically attacks me.
INTERVIEWER: Certainly not! That would be assault.
CANDIDATE: Err, I see. Well, aT least the company has a clear idea of its goals and the way it expects us to achieve those goals.
INTERVIEWER: Oh yes. Well, mostly.
INTERVIEWER: Yes, sometimes things are changed around a bit, and that can make our people unhappy. That’s what happened with the engineering department. We’d been telling them for years that the best shape for wheels was circular but then we told them the best shape was square, and that they were incompetent and lazy for using round ones. We also told them they were utterly stupid for using wire because hairy string was much better.
CANDIDATE: Square wheels and hairy string? Who came up with that idea?
INTERVIEWER: Experts sent by the Government.
CANDIDATE: Have these experts worked in our industry?
INTERVIEWER: Some of them worked in it for as long as three weeks as recently as 1987, so they know what they’re talking about.
CANDIDATE: Are there any other, er, benefits to this role you have in mind for me? Holidays?
INTERVIEWER: Technically speaking there are holidays, but you’ll spend most of them catching up on the work you don’t have time for during your contracted hours. And if you complain, a load of politicians will claim you spend about nine months of the year sitting on your backside on a beach, sipping Margaritas.
CANDIDATE: And the salary?
INTERVIEWER: It’s well under the national average to begin with and for at least the first few years. And probably well under minimum wage when you factor in all the off-the-clock stuff. When can you start?
CANDIDATE: I’ll… er… let you know. Is that the time? Must dash. Train to catch.
INTERVIEWER: Young people today are so ungrateful for opportunities…
Not such a hare-brained idea
WELL done to Arkells for taking part in the Cotswold Hare Trail and flying the flag for Swindon in the process.
The trail involves enormous model hares being painted in local themes, and the brewery’s is the work of its talented sign writer, Sarah Bromley.
Painted with appealing railway and beer motifs, it will be displayed outside the Bull Hotel in Fairford.
I just hope that if the brewery decides to site any more creatures near its establishments it makes similarly clear announcements.
That way I’ll know which ones are real.
Public money is easy to spend
THE electrification of the Great Western line has just been hailed by a Westminster committee as a sterling example of how not to deliver on major infrastructure schemes.
The project was initially budgeted in 2013 at £874m, but by 2015 the likely cost had risen to £2.8bn.
You may be among the many people wondering how this disparity occurred, and how such a gross miscalculation was even possible.
The answer is that the people responsible are (a) spending our money and (b) unaccountable to anybody other than their own kind. The chances are that none of them will be named individually in any critical report, and none will suffer any meaningful punishment.
These people could come to work dressed as Zebedee from The Magic Roundabout, spend every working day doing finger paintings on the wall with jelly and ice cream and still not have to answer for their failings.