13 January 2023

Are schools bad for people?

Extract from chapter ‘Dozing in the staff room’, in:

It’s your time you’re wasting: A teacher’s tales of classroom hell, by Frank Chalk (pseudonym):
The group [of teachers] on the next table are discussing one of the ‘Please make me famous, I’m desperate’-type programmes that seem to be on the telly every night these days. When I first started teaching, and we’re not talking in the Dark Ages, most teachers were reasonably serious-minded people who wouldn’t have given a moment’s thought to this tripe. Now the staff room is littered with dog-eared copies of Heat, OK and Garbage (OK, I made the last one up). The group [of teachers] chatting about the show seem quite fascinated by it; at least, they show a working knowledge of the various characters and their moronic machinations.

I must admit I really cannot understand this mad desire to be famous, although I know it inhabits almost every single one of my pupils. I can understand people wanting to be rich, because it increases the options available to you and should, in theory, take away financial worries (although no doubt it brings its own problems). But the desire to be known by everyone strikes me as plain weird.*

* Frank Chalk, It’s your time you’re wasting, Monday Books, 2006, p.66.