The Tory candidate for London mayor, Shaun Bailey, *may* have lost a few votes this week.
Bailey hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons after Labour unearthed an interview from 2007 in The Times in which he said the following: “When I was a kid, there was none of that PC nonsense. If you were wrong, they told you so. The teachers were men, then.
“Our teachers were men, and we looked up to them. It was not a democracy. In today’s drive for children’s rights, we’ve forgotten to give them responsibility.”
Now, let’s pause for thought…
Secondary teacher Anjum Peerbacos put down in words what many of you may have been thinking after reading those comments.
“The reality is,“ she writes, “that good classroom management and discipline is not about the gender or the size or the age of the teacher. It’s about the relationships they form in the classroom with their students. It’s about the range of strategies that they have in their teacher toolkit.
“The idea that men immediately instil some kind of instant discipline is an absolute farce. I have seen tall men, short men, bearded men and the rest, struggling with a challenging group or student. To say that ‘men’ can instantly assume the role of the disciplinarian is just not true, Mr Bailey.
“I work in a boys’ school, I am a female, 5ft 4in on a good day with heels. Most – if not all – of my students are taller than me. I have broken up fights, helped students during exams and stressful times. I’ve been able to discipline students using the methods at my disposal when necessary.
“Discipline is not about your height, physical prowess or your gender. It is about the systems that are in place within your setting, and the relationships that are ultimately forged with the students.”