|'I think I better MARK NOW!'|
At the 2012 TES School Awards yesterday, because Duck Confit with five-spice chutney doesn't eat itself, you know. The oddness of the hour was circumscribed succintly by the host, Rob Brydon when he said, 'It's always been my ambition to host a mid-afternoon award ceremony that celebrated educational achievement.'
Our romantic ideals are rooted of course in Oscars, Baftas, Tonys; garrulous, rather grimy back-scratching affairs where the neurotic and the desperate congratulate each other on their capacity to be unhappy in public. But at least they're dressed with the doomed and the beautiful. If you've ever seen (and I have) a Whitbread middle-manager awards ceremony, then reader, you possess the exact GPS coordinates of Hades. Christ have mercy.
The showbiz ceremonies shamelessly mug success, measured either by the slavish number-clicking of bums hitting cantilevered seats, or by the oligarchic decree of a self-elected inner cabal of critics and industry aristocrats. How Green Was My Valley scoffed Best Picture at the 1942 Oscars, which was hard cheese for the obviously rubbish Citizen Kane.
Rob Brydon, celebrity seasoning? Check. He brought something important to the affair: a soupçon of perspective. 'I told the organisers I'd only do this if there was an award for Outstanding Literacy or Numeracy initiative,' he said, neatly lampooning the nature of award taxonomies.
|Batman and Rotten|
Her work with disadvantaged children is superlative; her sentimental hand-wringing mantra of Will no one think of the children? ironically strips them of dignity; reduces them to helpless harbingers of their upbringing, and shatters the concept of moral responsibility upon which, er, our entire moral framework depends. Once you start succumbing to determinism, however well meant, you helter-skelter into nihilistic irresponsibility.
Until proven otherwise, I teach all my children, from hard homes or happy, that they are responsible for their actions; that what they do is important, and therefore has meaning; that they are masters of their own actions, even if nothing else. By so doing, I treat them like human beings, and not as irresponsible engines of destiny. Let kids believe that 'they can't help it' and see how much progress they make with their characters. As teachers, we don;t have time for such middle-class, pampered wooly-mindedness. The kids have even less time for it.
The people presenting the awards were the usual collection of industry grandees, sponsors, and others; I get a special, 50-shades-thrill in my saddle when I see Head Teachers (or Head Learners, or Principal Facilitators, or something Satanic) break out in hives as they realise they actually have to deliver something on stage other than a bollocking about Sports Day, or a pious chunder through Deuteronomy 23:1 (look it up, I beg you). Unanimously, they spoke about how proud they were of their teams, and of the children who had propelled them there, and it was hard not to feel quite a lot of pride.
|'You like me...you really LIKE me...'|