Teachers- what kind of reality judge are you? Voice or BGT?

'I'm not feelin' this Ofsted.'
A hundred years ago there used to be a Saturday night humiliation-fest called Blind Date, where gormless ninety-somethings (in IQ) would volunteer to tenderise their dignity on the pounding board of prime time. It was a somewhat more coy version of Take Me Out, although to be fair, most things are more coy than TMO (motto: let no entendre go un-doubled).

I was, of course,  a participant. I don't like to talk about it.

It was hosted by Cilla Black, who in those days was hotter than Simon Cowell, Graham Norton and Alan Carr in an enormous Human Centipede of light entertainment and populist whimsy. It was on just after Gladiators, in which I also harboured a dream to participate (my battle handle was going to be 'Plato', who incidentally was a wrestler before he realised the big bucks were in moral cognitivism).

It was an early precursor of the tsunami of cheap humiliation fare we currently describe as reality TV. Joe Public is cheap, unsophisticated, and liable to do something stupid to appear interesting. It's a long way from Masterpiece theatre, but there we are. One picker *points to self* would ask three smart-bomb questions to to the three lovelies on the other side of a sliding door, and true romance would be determined in this way. One of the most common questions would be something like, 'If you were a car, what kind of car would you be?' To which the normal reply would be something like, 'A Ferrari because....I go red and cost a lot of money,' or something. It was that kind of experience. I have wiped it from my data banks.

Nowadays of course reality TV has turned its Death Star laser sights onto people who essentially want to graduate, like favoured mortals in Greek myths, to the status of demi Gods by being selected by the Simons and Dragons: deification from what Bruce Forsythe probably still refers to as 'members of the public', revulsion and condescension dripping from his grizzled maw like Smaug. I love how easily the entertainers of my childhood would drop that phrase into conversations like everyone on Crackerjack was initiated into the Cosa Nostra.

Currently there are two Big Beasts rearing up against each other on Saturday prime time: Britain's Got Talent, Cowell's application letter for membership of the Illuminati, and The Voice, BBC1s kindler, gentler Next-Gen spin-off/ rip-off from same. As I watch them both- and this is a shibboleth for the teacher who wants lazy analogies to crowbar into his lesson- I am struck by the lessons these TV gauntlets can teach us about ourselves as a profession. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you....

Teachers- What Reality Show Judge Are You?

You can almost feel the chemistry from here
Simon Cowell- You are an authoritarian control freak. You may not have blood in your capillaries. You will dress in an odd manner, but no one dares to mention it. You turn up to your lesson late. Curiously, although you are dead inside and are merely counting the minutes until Satan claims the shreds of your soul for the pit of reaving and tears, your sense of invincibility can lead you to bravado feats of honesty. Namely, you don't give a shit what anyone thinks. This superpower causes people to comply instantly with your every whim. You may also have a fondness for relationships with women possessed of unusually large Adam's Apples and broad hands. Or you may not. *checks with lawyers* You do not.

Amanda Holden- You are the teacher who still tries hard to convince others that you are twenty-five. You fool no one, but some sixth formers are naive enough to turn up early because of your earnest attempts to dress as provocatively as staff dress codes permit. Another feature of this teacher is that they are possessed of no discernible talent whatsoever. Of course, in the topsy-turvy world of the classroom, this means that you are the one in charge of evaluating other teachers, who can barely conceal their surprise that you are qualified to do anything other than ask sailors if they need their 'tummies tickled'.

David Walliams- The kids think you are funny. They also think you are gay. If you are this teacher, they will ask you this openly; if not, they will merely write it on the desks in permanent marker. You will spend a lot of time having shy young men in drainpipe jeans and eyeliner leaving poems on your table 'accidentally'. Also, you are the kind of teacher who thinks that every kid is brilliant, and deserves- and gets- and 'A' for every paper. You may teach a Humanities subject.

Nicole Scherzinger/ Carmen Elektra etc- You are a supply teacher. You believe that the way to get the kids working is to inspire them, and being as positive as possible to everyone. Because they know you won't be around next week, many kids will ask, 'Who are you?' and 'Are you a REAL judge?' You often don't know how to reply to this question, although you are asked it twenty five times a day.

Alesha Dixon- You used to be one of the kids at school, and you came back a few terms later as an NQT. Secretly, you worry that there isn't enough distance between you and the kids you teach. You are often mistaken for one of the sixth formers, and not in a good way. Graffiti that YOU wrote is still visible in the school.

Form a queue, ladies
Tom Jones- You are a legend; a veteran of the school. Corridors hush as you enter, like Darth Vader, but instead of fear (see: Cowell) you inspire admiration and respect in even the most expellable of students. You may have had several affairs with the dinner ladies, but for some reason, you are only respected more for this fact. You have survived at least five head masters, and the SLT are too scared to cross you, so you operate in a pocket universe of your own. Your skin is darker than your hair.

Jessie J- You listen to phat urban beats, wear Skechers and Top Shop, and believe that you can use ghetto slang with impunity, because you imagine you understand the kids. Theh kids pity you for this. You scorn lesson plans, and encourage creativity; examinations are just a way for the system to disempower left brain thinkers. You are the teacher most likely to have a party and invite the students. You are also the teacher most likely to allow prize students to snort toot diagonally from your bum cleavage.

Prince Will-i-am. (Ed's note: check)
Will-I-Am. Similar to the Cowell-teacher, you are possessed of boundless self-belief. Children, you believe, should be taught in a blend of media. The Microsoft Kinect is your default teaching style, and all your homework is communicated through virtual learning platforms. Every Monday, your form group Skypes their partner class in Lithuania in the form of a rap battle. You once made a comment about toilet paper that dogs your reputation to this day. Behind your back, students discuss if you aren't a little bit old for multi-coloured leather jackets that say 'WIN'.

Danny O' Donoghue- You have boundless enthusiasm for every child in the Universe, and you want everyone to be on your team. Sadly, no one knows who you are. You may be an LEA consultant, a member of SLT, or an educational blogger.

Cast your votes. *warning- voting has now closed; your vote will not be counted but charges may still be made to your BT landline*


  1. A very funny read. Unfortunately/fortunately, I think I am none of these. I would quite like to be the Tom Jones one, although I may forgo the affairs with the dinner ladies, if that's okay. I may also be a Cilla Black teacher, because I put a lorra lorra love into my lesson plans.


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