This is not a universally shared perception. Some deem them a bit thin on the self-awareness. Others that they are the bullies of humility, the scourge of the profession. Recent teachers’ blogs, young and old, express much anger against rubbish managements.
Now, managing is plainly a difficult job. It is infantile to demonise Them. They must be tough. It comes with the territory. Any management gurus will tell you – Sir Alex Ferguson, Caligula, Dracula, Govula, Kim Wrong-Un, Mao Tse-Tung, and of course, Machiavelli, who famously advised that leaders must be more feared than liked.
But some take this too far and seem like a hit squad of the Wilshaw Massive. They charge around like the Krays with their Empathy By-Passes and shark eyes and cancelled smiles and crucifying criteria and point their sharp suits at you in Briefings and classrooms, promoting migraines and breakdowns and impotent rage and blubbing and early retirement. Do they think they’re earning your respect?
Well, they’re so wrong. You’re not decking them, because the rent must be paid. That’s all. It can promote a siege mentality. You tend to end up complicit with your pupils. I used to ask mine – like Ronald Crumlin and Decibelle – to tactically pipe up in observations.
“My goodness, sir, your pacing and planning are, as ever, formidable!” Ronald would opine.
“Your subject knowledge borders on the awesome!” Decibelle would shriek.
A large bag of chips, with ketchup, was their reward. It’s called bribery.
It’s more difficult to fob off Line Management. I still remember my nightmare trysts with Nurse Ratchet. She used to lurk behind huge cacti. It was sometimes difficult to discern what wasn’t plant life. She would delineate, with testicle-shrinking froideur and in a meringue of gibberish, the number of targets I was presently not meeting.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Much management is excellent. What we want is proper support, not subversion – and an awareness of how complex teaching can be. And they probably need ours. They too are trapped in a rubbish system and a mortgage. It can’t be much fun. They too might need a bit of TLC. All we want back is a smile, empathy and a bit of that advertised “warmth”.