'Two Jags' refuses to rise to class bait

9th May 2003 at 01:00
MEMBERS of Parliament have responded with varying levels of enthusiasm to suggestions from teachers that they should come and work as classroom assistants.

As reported last month, teachers in The TES's online staffroom have been debating which MP would prove the most useful at mixing the paints and helping slow readers.

One popular choice was Ann Widdecombe. "She would certainly be a good disciplinarian," one teacher wrote. "She could also teach healthy eating after her appearance in Celebrity Fit Club and she might even meet a nice man on the staff."

Unfortunately, Ms Widdecombe said she was unlikely to switch career. "The only subject I could teach would be Latin, so I would not be in demand," she said.

Most popular MP was deputy prime minister John Prescott after his infamous thumping of an egg-throwing protester. "I'd put him in charge of the pupils most likely to wind him up, then watch with glee as he got into punch-ups on a daily basis," one teacher wrote.

A spokesman for Mr Prescott said he was "flattered that teachers hold him in such high regard", but had no plans for a career change.

More likely to take on the role was Glenda Jackson. Teachers suggested that the former actress would be excellent at reading out stories and running drama sessions. Ms Jackson said: "I would love to be a teaching assistant, although it is not something I am planning right now because I have only just been re-selected."

Ironically, neither Conservative education spokesman Damian Green nor fellow Tory Michael Portillo were suggested, even though they have both worked for a week as teaching assistants.

Valerie Davey, a former secondary teacher and MP for Bristol West, said she felt politicians were hopeless in the classroom. "MPs shouldn't be inflicted on schools," she said. "We speak too much and we listen too little."


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