A bad hair day

Something we neglected to mention earlier. In the course of her comments about her best teacher (TESS last week), writer Liz Lochhead recalled the time when she was an art teacher.

"I went to the hairdresser and, as I was over the basin getting the shampoo rubbed into me, the girl said: `I mind you: you were that daft art teacher that used to dye her bras in with our batiks.'

"That wasn't true - I only used to do that at lunchtime, in my own time."

Roast from Pancoast

US management guru Malachi Pancoast (TESS last week) tantalised Scottish heads and deputes with the Holy Grail of school management. If they followed his golden rules, they could be at home twiddling their thumbs while other heads - fools! - waded through mountains of paperwork.

These turned out to be dis-appointingly prosaic, amounting to: clear your office so that it looks like a sterile IKEA showroom, and make your secretary do all the work.

Pancoast, speaking at a week-long school leaders' shindig, had a neat line in flattering analogies to get everyone onside. Heads were like Alex Ferguson and, just as Fergie's appearances on the sidelines put rockets up the posteriors of idle playboy millionaires, so they should sit at the back of classrooms and raise teachers' performance by the sheer force of their presence.

Other analogies served as thinly-disguised scorn for those who doubted the wisdom of his methods: they were like the blood-soaked hospital staff who scoffed at Louis Pasteur's suggestion that a wee bit of a wash might stop the patients dying.

Sick, sex, sacked.

A cautionary tale for teachers, from the United States: after phoning in sick, don't discuss your sex life on a radio show listened to by millions.

Connecticut infant teacher Marie Jarry, who featured with her husband Aaron on the Ugliest Guy, Hottest Wife contest, organised by infamous shock-jock Howard Stern, had a good start: she won $5,000 (Pounds 2,500) for her trouble.

But within days, the local media got hold of the story, parents declared themselves shocked and Mrs Jarry was forced out of her job.

Even Mr Stern was reportedly outraged - telling listeners the teacher should not have had to go because she did not take her clothes off or say anything controversial.

She actually did appear in a bikini, with pictures posted up on Mr Stern's website to prove it, and talked about her sex life.

But, according to school officials, neither offence was the reason for her departure. It was the fact that she had taken a sickie and gone to the studio on the same day. Mrs Jarry was obviously not convinced: she is suing the board of education, school officials and union.

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