From the forums - 'Spying strolls', joblessness and burning questions

5th November 2010 at 00:00
Corporate speak and unemployment have some fired up - but not lighting up

Do you consider yourself a learning facilitator or a lead learner? Do you cascade your discoveries from CPD sessions back to your school's global community to ensure additionality for the client group, going forward?

If any of those phrases have you thumping your head against your interactive whiteboard, you are not alone. The education world has always been awash with jargon, but in recent years the level of business-style babble has undergone a, erm, paradigm shift.

The latest to infuriate the TES online staffroom is "learning walk", where a member of the SMT takes a "casual" walk around the school to observe what is happening.

"I suppose 'Learning Walk' had to be so named since 'Spying Stroll' (which is what it is) sends out the wrong message," notes manc.

The head at anteater's school is similarly fond of a good "learning walk". "Funny, I thought it was the children who were meant to be learning, not the head," grumbles anteater.

Other phrases that annoy manc include "I have been in post" and "pro-formas" instead of forms. FurryCanary, who worked in the business world before becoming a teacher, finds "this tendency to employ business speak in educational circles to be utterly bewildering".

FurryCanary goes on: "Rather than dressing up what we do in the pretentious and inappropriate language of business, why don't we just call it what it is and be proud of it? I'm a 'teacher'; that's quite good enough for me."

Workplace jargon may be an irritation, but it is a lot less upsetting than not having a workplace at all. As we are coerced further down the tunnel that is the age of austerity, more posters may end up discovering the "unemployed teachers" forum. One of the most popular threads in it poses the simple question: "How are you coping?"

Pinknailvarnish describes her experience of sitting down on her sofa in tears, "feeling really down and depressed". We would not recommend all the advice she was offered (particularly the suggestion that she should lie about her past teaching experience to get a new job), but it is hard not to be heartened by the forum's solidarity. Durgamata, stumbling upon the discussion, wrote: "I guess I knew in theory that there must be others in the same boat - but it's so reassuring to hear you all talking about the same thing."

Spool looks on the bright side: "I think life has never been better. Insurance companies know that work is detrimental to your health - and I completely agree."

Vice has a habit of interfering with vocation, for politicians and teachers alike. After Nick "otine" Clegg got in trouble for admitting his smoking habit, teachers discussed: "How do you react to the 'Do you smoke, Miss?' question?" Middlemarch is adamant that the reply should be "the same as for any personal question: 'None of your business'", while Blazer's response is: "Only when I am on fire." Jonha takes an altogether more damning view of the situation, recommending that teachers use themselves "as an example of what addiction means".

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