Sunday, March 4, 2012

On Striking Teachers

If anyone wants to know why the Spanish education system doesn't educate children properly, they had only to look out of my window on Wednesday morning to see one of the important reasons. The teaching unions were on strike and they were massed below me, in a display so thuggish and infantile that a pupil who behaved that way would be suspended. They don't understand this. Giving a public display of your unfitness to do what is a very responsible job strikes me as rather stupid, but oddly enough it seems that most parents already know what sort of hands their children are in, they were not surprised and they accept it as the way things inevitably are, if not actually as the way they should be.
The unions, and the people they claim to represent, believe that schools exist to provide work for teachers. This is typical of public employees. They made it very clear on Wednesday, but I knew it long ago. When you are that wrong about something that is a major part of your existence, you will never understand the truth. Nor will education in this country be able to achieve what it should.
Why do these people, and the ‘perroflautas’ and the occupiers and the hippy/squatters and the others imagine that they are doing the world a favour by making a nuisance of themselves in public places? They seem to think, and there are those who agree with them, that they are some kind of heroes, drawing the world’s attention to the state of the country. This strikes me as nonsense.
I have no objection, neither in principle nor in practice, to peaceful protest. Governments of all colours need to be constantly reminded that, in theory at least, they serve us, not vice versa. A stressed and worried politician is by far the best kind. But no one in Spain needs to be reminded that the economy is in a bad way and that millions of people are having hard time. There are things that can easily be forgotten or pass unnoticed, but this isn’t one of them. The protesters are a combination of political opportunists and the usual inadequates looking for an excuse to break things. These are difficult times, and the cathartic magic of shouting on the streets is not going to solve anything.

4 comments:

Vincent said...

Agreed, nothing to add!

CIngram said...

In which case, neither have I :-)

Vincent said...

In which case I shall have another go.

On reflection I challenge your observation. The sight from one's window of any angry group does not answer the question why an education system fails to educate children properly.

Anyway, I think the question itself needs clarification!

CIngram said...

The sight from my window suggests very strongly that a large number of teachers are not fit to do the job properly. From far wider experience of teachers in the state system, I know this to be true. I said this is one of the reasons the system fails to work properly. And the fact that many teachers are not competent, that the selection process is not intended to identify competent teachers (as outlined in the following post) and that the children's eduaction is neither the starting point nor the final aimn of the way the education means that it's very unlikely to prepare them adequately for their future life. The huge number of children who do not achieve a fraction of what they might, is dispiriting to see. When you know that there are ways in which it could easily be improved, you find it very depressing.