Further adventures of Phil Harrass Private HMI

16th February 2001 at 00:00
I'd been toying with the idea of chartering a teacher for the weekend when the phone rang. "Are you all right, Jack?" I asked into the mouthpiece, expecting the caller to be my new boss.

It wasn't. It was one of the union guys, and he wanted a meet.

He couldn't be seen talking to a private HMI in public, so we chose a new town multi-storey car park late on a Sunday.

"It's the McCrone agreement," he explained as we stood beside our cars."I still can't persuade some of my troops to accept it. They say it's just the son of the Millennium Review."

"So why have you come to me?"I asked.

"I thought the man who sabotaged the SQA's data-handling department to give the teachers the upper hand in negotiations with the Government might be able to . . ."

I grabbed him by the collar.

"Listen, Bub," I hissed,"you don't want to be listening to every two-bit god-damned conspiracy theory that's doing the rounds. The SQA fiasco was nothing to do with me! Savvy?" The sap nodded and I let him go. "You want to show them what the Millennium Review would have been like?" I asked."Be here tomorrow and bring a camcorder."

The following day, I drove him to Scottish education's best-kept secret, the pilot school for the Millennium Reiew. The staff had seen that deal as a chip-on-the-shoulder attempt by their employers to give teachers the same conditions as other council employees. So the teachers had chosen the employees they were going to emulate rather selectively.

We sat in the car park from 8.30. That was when staff began to arrive in Ford Transit pick-up trucks. They sat in these vehicles until around 10, drinking tea or Irn-Bru and reading the Record.

Eventually, they made their way to their classes. We videoed a pair of them taking a French lesson. In a previously unheard of form of team teaching, a principal teacher gave a treatise on irregular verbs from the top of a ladder, while his assistant held the bottom.

The union guy had obviously forgiven me for roughing him up.

"I've got to thank you for this," he said as we were about to head off on our separate ways. "This stuff is dynamite."

"Forget it, Bub, least I could do," I told him and began to walk away.

"Hey Mr Harrass!" he called to me as I climbed into the Favorit. "Wanna know something?

"That's the first time I ever heard teachers singing on the job."

I tipped my hat and drove home. It was time to read the next chapter of Become a Job-Sizer and Earn $$$$$$.

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