Hot under the collar? Don't go shirtless

27th June 2008 at 01:00
As a teacher you have to be pretty confident, or pretty desperate, to resort to removing items of clothing in order to get the attention of your class

As a teacher you have to be pretty confident, or pretty desperate, to resort to removing items of clothing in order to get the attention of your class. (All the more so when, as a 57-year-old man, you are not necessarily desperately pretty either.)

Sadly, in the case of supply teacher Martin Rouse, you feel it was the latter that led him to take off his shirt in front of a rowdy Year 9 class at a school in Suffolk.

We may not have supply teachers as such in FE, but many of us have felt that sense of dread when called on to cover for a colleague who's gone off to have their nervous breakdown elsewhere. Inevitably, there's a reason that they can't face their class any more. And if you're an outsider, the chances are they'll see you not as a purveyor of wisdom and knowledge, but as fair game.

But stripping off to win them over - that's a high-risk strategy, and one that certainly didn't pay off for the hapless Mr Rouse. Not only was he shown the door at Sudbury Upper School, but headteacher David Forrest promptly had him banned from teaching at any other school in the county too.

In practice, that may mean his not teaching anywhere else either. Once, such antics might have been treated with a slap on the wrist and a warning against doing it again. It would have been the talk of the school for a day or two and then promptly forgotten.

In the age of the camera-phone and the YouTube site, and the voracious appetite for "boobs" of all varieties, such anonymity can no longer be guaranteed. Martin Rouse gets his 15 minutes of fame and all the rest of us get a good laugh at his expense.

However, whether many heads will be minded to risk sticking him in front of any of their classes in the future remains to be seen.

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