A thick fog over ethics

20th August 2004 at 01:00
Here, absolutely free, is a riveting exercise for citizenship teachers whose teenage pupils claim it is a useless subject. "Are teachers: a) dishonest; b) mugs or c) too darn nice?" Evidence is on The TES website's staffroom, where all shades of morality are arguing it out. Prospective PGCE students who nick stationery (and toilet rolls) from their office jobs are rubbing virtual shoulders with teachers buying classroom essentials from their own pockets. In between, there is the burgeoning subculture of "expenses in kind" (translated as: if you won't reimburse me for the ink cartridge I'll have a ream of paper instead).

Two things shine through. First the immorality of schools taking advantage of teachers' goodwill. Second is the honour of the thieves. The student Fagins say they are redistributing stationery from big business to education, while unofficial "reimbursement" is the worst that happens in schools. The head's Andrex is safe, for the moment.

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