Smother Molotov with a Blanket;Opinion

15th May 1998 at 01:00
HAVING a teacher for a father was a cause of great concern during my childhood. Aged seven I used to worry that he would not have anyone to play with at breaktime. Aged 12, I used to pray that his classes were not as disruptive as mine - I did not want to think of my Dad reduced to tears like our poor Latin master. Finally, in the sixth form, I used to hope like hell that he would not be booted out for indoctrinating his pupils.

It was my mother who first alerted me to this possibility back in 1971. Idly browsing the exercise books one parents' evening she found that more than one pupil had written "Next week we all go decimal, which is supposed to be a good thing but Mr Mourby says it will be a Diddler's Paradise".

What the teaching profession forgets is that children do not distinguish between what is only the syllabus and what just happens to be on their teacher's mind. It all goes in and if it does not get written down it certainly gets reported back home. I wonder how many German teachers lived to regret expostulating to their classes about an absurd little moustachioed Austrian corporal becoming chancellor. And how many, for that matter, did not.

Fortunately we live in a more tolerant country where even today the national curriculum can schedule in such non-core activities as "Spleen-Venting" and "Putting the Country to Rights". I mention all this because recently I have been getting a lot of in-depth analysis about the dispute between teachers and government. The TES does its best, I know, but Sarah Jane's new teacher, Aneurin Molotov, is proving a mine of information.

According to what I glean from the walk into school there is this man called Mr Blanket and he hates teachers and they hate him back. Right? Mr Blanket's main interest in life is changing things around so that teachers like Mr Molotov will not know whether they are coming or going half the time. But the real reason they hate him, Sarah Jane says, is that Blanket waits until everyone's safely on holiday before announcing these changes. "Which is, like, really unfair Dad because they can't go on strike while they're on holiday."

I wonder if Aneurin Molotov has a son who frets, as I did, that every day might be his father's last in paid employment. He need not worry. I am telling no one. I know it is not easy having a blackboard revolutionary for a Dad.

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