Breaking good

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Mr Dazzle is at last having a plenary. “Hard work makes us ever more successful,” he concludes. Wasn’t Goebbels a fan of this stuff? You wonder how you’re going to survive until Easter. Maybe Walter White, the chemistry teacher from Breaking Bad had the r

And now you’re losing all volition to live in yet another infinite keynote speech. Mr Dazzle, deputy head, is talking in tongues about “big pushes”, “significant interventions” and “keeping the pressure up”. Again.

The New Year seems to be breaking bad. You peer through the bleak midwinter murk and ponder some of the more recent educational Babel voices. The Mail online, the Gove off head, Sir Michael Soshaw on heat, waging wars on anything he hasn’t hitherto waged a war on.

Gloom descends ... the pusillanimous incoherence of Labour party, the bad faith of the Lib Dems, the fashion for very ugly genetics, Mayor Boris’ mantra that “greed is good” again, the PISA league tables, of very doubtful provenance, which reveal our pupils to be pretty rubbish. Well, whoopy doo! By what criteria? Do we really want to them to emulate the children of Shanghai or Singapore?

To become merely serfs in a digital global marketplace? Shouldn’t we rather be pleased that they are high in the Happy League? No doubt the Gove will soon hatch a pogrom to raise Misery Levels Across the Curriculum – a GCSE in Status Anxiety. 

Mr Dazzle is at last having a plenary. “Hard work makes us ever more successful,” he concludes. Wasn’t Goebbels a fan of this stuff? You feel ever more grim and wonder how you’re going to survive until Easter. Maybe Walter White, the chemistry teacher from Breaking Bad had the right idea, but, wehey, Ofsted probably takes a very dim view of making crystal meth.

Gloom descends some more. Well, help is at hand. I have the dotard wisdom. Simples. Go back to your classroom and pupils and the Babel voices will be snuffed. Why? It is a richer and kinder and better universe. Our pupils’ wit and mischief might just be blind resistance to a soulless world, a moribund curriculum – even the presently dysfunctional Sidney. 

This is not sentimentality or the dread “down with the kids” nonsense. But, ultimately, you are working for them and not answerable to those banshee voices. 

The classroom is a sacred space, volatile, funny, shifting, scary, fast, visceral and much else. It is yours. Not theirs. There’s nothing like it. You know this. When it’s good, it’s the best. Forget the rest and this New Year could well be breaking good. 


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