Picture a good face for radio

1st October 2004 at 01:00
Have you noticed the hierarchy of columnists in your TESS? Guests and those on the top of this page merit a photograph, while those of us down the side do not.

John Mitchell doesn't get a photo either, but everyone in education knows what he looks like anyway as, at some point in their careers, he'll have tried to flog them a set of textbooks.

Somewhere in the paper's archive, there may be an image of me but, being 10 years or so out of date, it will be completely unrepresentative. It was taken at a "do", where I was snapped, on the instructions of then editor Willis Pickard, holding a wine glass. The glass was full of apple juice, something that doubtless could not be discerned in the final image. Were this to be used, you might get the impression that I was some sort of bon viveur. With hair.

I don't want a picture anyway. (Aye, you're jist sayin that because ye huvnae got wan.) When I see myself as ithers see me, I am invariably disappointed. I don't mind being thin and bald, but in my mind I am not quite that thin and that bald.

I was recently involved in a Learning and Teaching Scotland project that involved me being videoed at a meeting. "Who was that large-toothed matchstick man with the barely discernible dusting of down on his napper?"

I asked myself when I saw the finished result. I have resolved to keep moving so that it is harder for people to work out what I actually look like.

The video clips show three women teachers and two men discussing formative assessment. The credits to the project mention the nine females and three males who were most closely associated with it. Were you to take a photo of the team I work with just now, you would see that those of us in possession of Y chromosomes are in a significant minority. That is the way education is going. It does not worry me, other than the increasing lack of role models for boys.

Very much on the plus side, most of the training on projects such as Assessment is for Learning, Positive Behaviour and Cognitive Acceleration, initiatives that could potentially engage many more youngsters in their lessons, have been dame-driven.

Meantime, much more appropriate to this column than a photograph would be an Oor Wullie-style picture of me on a bucket. Often I would be leaning back, hands on the knees of my dungarees, laughing. Rarely would I be dark-faced with "beelin" written above my head. But, just occasionally, I would sport a scowl and a speech bubble saying, "Weemin! Bah!"

Gregor Steele was once told he was "not bald, just eggshell blonde,"by a sympathetic pupil.

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