Yes, head boys must have the latest toys
THE EDUCATION revolution will be televised, if Philip Harte, headteacher of St George’s comprehensive school in Salford, has his way.
Such wonderful human interaction is facilitated by a microphone connected to the teacher’s earpiece that allows a watching panel of experts - that is, non-classroom staff - to control events in the class.
I’m certain Mr Harte finds playing with his joystick to zoom cameras around the room far preferable to carrying out those traditional but mundane tasks one normally associates with a rector’s remit - maintaining school discipline comes to mind - but it seems head boys must have their toys.
My hatred of CCTV can probably be traced back to that fateful day in the 1980s when a strategically placed camera in the local corner shop provided bald evidence of my ever expanding tonsure. To be fair, however, the televisual experiment is already reaping huge results for learning and teaching in the establishment. Take Peter Fisher, a teacher with almost a quarter of a century’s teaching experience, who, on watching the matinee showing of his performance, discovered something he didn’t know about his teaching style. "Because of the way I write on the board, I was ignoring the girl sitting to my right throughout the whole lesson. I have had this blind spot for 24 years of teaching. Maybe hundreds of children have been ignored," he lamented. Perhaps invoking the spirit of social inclusion, such feckless teaching methodology has proved no barrier to promotion; Mr Fisher is Deputy Head of St George’s.
I am saddened that spineless "professional" teachers are co-operating in this circus, happy to be classroom puppets, having their lesson strings pulled by Big Headteacher. What the extras, sorry, students, make of this nonsense, one can only imagine. How can learners respect their teacher when he has a flesh-coloured, plastic earpiece hanging from his right ear-lobe instructing his every move and utterance?
If this "Changing Classrooms" CCTV initiative achieves high ratings among directors of education, it will mean the end of teaching as we know it. There will be a ban on wearing stripy jumpers, for they cause on-screen havoc and dressing rooms will replace staff rooms, with flunkeys popping in to shout at star classroom turns: "You’re on in three minutes." With any luck, though, councils will provide green rooms for teachers to have a few drinks before meeting a difficult audience.
Of course, classroom surveillance is nothing new. Most classroom doors have a glass section - a Judas window in chalkie parlance - allowing management to surreptitiously spy on Sir’s lesson. I recall a headteacher, known to the kids as Batman due to his penchant for wearing a flapping cape. Unfortunately, some eagle-eyed kid would inevitably spot him and in Bodysnatchers style would point and shout: "Batman is at the windae!" On being outed, he would either bound to his cave or open the door and say: "Just passing by. Everything OK, Mr Reilly?"
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