Friday, September 28, 2007

How do we still find teachers to employ?

It seems, these days, every time I open a newspaper I am relieved that I did not choose 'teacher' as a career path. How our schools manage to find people willing to take on this job amazes me. I wouldn't take it if it paid a million a year. It pays far, far less than that.

Today, two stories caught my eye.

In the first, a headmaster was found guilty of neglect and fined £20,000 pounds (roughly $40,000) because a child died at his school. My first reaction was the same as yours, I'll bet. If a child has died in his care then he deserves all he gets, right?

I read on. The child was three. He was pretending to be Batman. All three-year-olds do this, every little boy has pretended to be Batman or Superman at some point, and all have tried to fly. Most of us learn the hard way that we can't. We get bruises, sprains, and sometimes even broken bones. This child jumped from the top of a set of four stone steps and injured himself so badly that he died.

It's a terrible tragedy, but he's not the first. Fortunately it's rare but it does happen. He won't be the last either. I don't blame comic books, or even the films that have special effects so realistic you'd 'believe a man can fly'. It's terrible to realise that while adults will marvel at the special effects, children will really believe they are watching a man fly. To them, what they see on screen is really happening. Still I don't blame those films.

Children do risky things. You can wrap them up in as many layers as you like but they'll still do them. The steps in the article were 'out of bounds' which means children were told not to go there. Children, being naturally curious, will be compelled to go wherever they're told not to.

Nobody pushed this child. He jumped. It was an accident. The consequences were dreadful but that doesn't change the fact that it was an accident. The headmaster had told the children to stay away from those steps. They, naturally, were drawn to this forbidden area. He didn't push this boy, he didn't send him to a place he knew was dangerous, he did nothing to put the boy's life in danger.

In this world, there are no accidents. Someone is to blame every time. No exceptions. There's always someone who can be punished, someone who can be sued.

At a school near me, all physical contact has been forbidden in the playground. It must make for some dull football games. I suppose 'tag' is out of the question too. This happened because a child came home with a graze and the parents complained. The school took this action because they are in constant fear of being sued. That’s right, over a graze. A scuff-mark. The natural inhabitant of any child’s knee, elbow, or anywhere else for that matter. Kids do that. It grows back.

But I digress. The headmaster was punished with a fine he’ll probably have to sell his house to pay. Did he deserve that? You decide.

At the same time, in another school, a five-year-old boy attacked another with a craft knife. He cut his victim several times. This was a deliberate and premeditated attack, the boy had even brought his own knife from home.

What was his punishment? He was suspended for the rest of the day and will be moved to another class.

If you’re thinking of taking up teaching, that’s the reality of it. Any child damaging themselves by accident will be your fault, whether you’re around when it happens or not. The children will not be punished for deliberately attacking each other—or you—with a weapon.

There’s not enough money in the world to entice me into that job.


tom sheepandgoats said...

Didn't Shakespeare say something or other about lawyers? Sounds likes it's the same where you are as it is here.

They have successfully convinced society that there is no such thing as an is always the fault of someone. Furthermore, money (of which the lawyers get a third) is the only way to remediate things.

The list of things we can no longer do becasue someone rightly fears being sued is endless.

ThatGreenyFlower said...

I live in fear of litigation, too.

And my three year-old is, right this minute, wearing a Batman outfit with a cape. I've been trying to explain that the Batman doesn't fly--he drives in the Batmobile. But in the absence of a palpable facsimile of a Batmobile, my wee Batman plans on flying.

The loss of a child is the most horrible thing I can imagine. I know that's not what this post is about.

Dr. Shedevil said...

Well put. People have lost all common sense and replaced it with an overinflated sense of entitlement. Tragic, really. I fear society will continue in this tailspin of the asinine as long as "The Stupids" are in charge. How do we remove them from power?

Scary Monster said...

No matter how much we desire the world to conform to our picture of if , itwill remain steadfast on being exactly what it is. Accidents happen. In fact they happen alla time. some are just worse than others. It is ridiculous to pin the blame of vagaries and happenstance upon another person.

How disgusting it seems to me to put a monetary value on another human being.

How foul and filthy Me would feel with such lucre in me pocket.

Keep On Stomping!

Southern Writer said...

The stupidity of the world still stuns me. Thanks for yet another example.

LizBurton said...

Good stinkin' goat cheese. Examples like these leave me despairing over the condition of our species. Children may do dumb things like jumping off forbidden stairs, but they can't hold a candle to the idiotic actions of adults.

Dr. Shedevil said...

Romulus, I've decided to travel to the UK next year. Any advice for an open-minded Texan abroad?

Somebody please take out the occuisb!

Anonymous said...

occuisb ????

Romulus Crowe said...

Tom - we have laws in the UK which have long since passed the state of 'silly'. You can actually be in trouble for looking at someone in what they perceive to be the 'wrong way'. I'm lucky my work doesn't involve contact with too many people and mostly takes place at night.

Romulus Crowe said...

Dr Shedevil -
The UK is now full of 'gimme' people. I'm entitled to this. I'm entitled to that. We need a government who will have the guts to say "if you want it, get off your arse and earn it."

They won't. The people currently in power are just as idiotic as the people they govern.

And just as convinced of their own entitlement.

Romulus Crowe said...

Oh yes - if you're visiting the UK and you get to Scotland, try Edinburgh's ghost walks. The underground ones are best. Some of the above-ground ones are good, others are theatrical.

If you get as far north as Aberdeen, let me know.

Romulus Crowe said...

Thatgreenyflower - anything, even a cardboard box, can be the Batmobile when you're three. Black spray paint will do it.

Are there still such things as pedal-cars for kids? If so, some body-filler and fibreglass can work wonders.

Just keep pointing out - Batman doesn't fly. Not unless he has something soft to land on.

Dr. Shedevil said...

That sounds like loads of fun. I'll definitely look into it. Thanks.

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