Nice people are history;Opinion

5th February 1999 at 00:00
LET ME tell you my new year resolution. From now on this column is going to kick ass, as our transatlantic cousins would say. There will be no more Sean McPartlin-style feel-good heresy, no hints that the job can be enjoyable and rewarding, no squandering my chances of publication in a national broadsheet by saying anything positive about teaching.

Let's start at the top. Donald Dewar? He may be one of the most able, conscientious politicians in the country to some people, but to me he always looks like he's just bitten into a particularly bitter lemon. It's a pity his name isn't Ronald Dewar because then it would be an anagram of No Reward Lad, which is what we'll get from him.

Helen Liddell isn't even worth the effort of trying to rearrange the letters of her name. Where I come from she's rhyming slang for "second fiddle". Douglas Osler? Douglas Loser more like. Try teaching in some of the schools where I've been, Dougie, and you'll end up inspecting what's left of your teeth.

Even Judith Gillespie, of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, seems incapable of writing anything interesting for The TES Scotland without ripping off Phil Harrass.

But if we're going to kick ass we must remember that teaching, far from being a profession of lions led by donkeys, is a profession of donkeys led by donkeys. Most teachers are in the job because their qualifications don't allow them to do anything else beyond manning call centres for Sky Television. The only exceptions are physics teachers who could all have incredibly well paid jobs in the electronics industry but choose to teach, which makes us even stupider than the rest of you.

Little wonder parents are united in the belief that they can best assist with the development of their children's education by suing local authorities if their moronic, truanting, designer-wear-obsessed Lara Croft or boy-band-loving brats fail to get five A-band highers - exams that are incidentally 20 times easier than they were when I was a boy.

I blame the banning of the belt, Standard grades, Harold Wilson, Brian Wilson, the seventies guidance explosion, Australian soap operas, the demise of the grammar school, food additives, foreign restaurants, Mrs Thatcher, people who foisted home economics on boys and techie on girls, Donald "Lemonsucker" Dewar, Nissan Sunnies and the disappearance of the traditional tweed jacket with elbow patches worn by men who all have their own chairs in smoky staffrooms . . .

Gregor Steele breaks his resolutions just like everyone else. Oh, what a surprise, nice man.

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