The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

You're not supposed to admit it but I will.

Inner London state school teachers don't have much respect for others in our profession.

We regard them as living some sunny daisy filled existence which knows nothing of the weary warrior glory of the brutalised classroom, the out-of-control mass riot, the early retirement - early death syndrome, or the staffroom mental breakdown roster.

We keep it to ourselves, naturally, but we tread the mean streets with some careworn pride in our sturdy ability to outlast the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

There are some cities whose teachers, though, we do bear some grudging respect.
According to all the horror stories, their schools are practically as teeth-clenching an ordeal by fire as ours.

Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester. (It's a moot point whether we allow the pretender, Bradford, into the ranks, but it's certainly on the waiting list.)
These are cities where staff turnover is high, student emotional / behavioural problems are rife, social expectations and support are low, and only rapid promotion - and thus a path out of there - seem to attract teachers of any real calibre.
(Temporarily. Two to four years is the standard drop out zone.)

Given this, it's an absolute pleasure to find a no-frills, honest teaching blog that hails from Liverpool. The author, Bloom, plays cards close to his chest, but the Joycean and Miltonian references suggest clearly an English teacher.

The writing is sharp, the wit steadily steaming, and my delight at discovering an English education blog utterly unfettered by policy wonkage, by pseudo social-engineering platitude, is unbounded.

Tales from the Chalkface.
Go. Read.