Those who can, do …

… those who can neither do nor teach, run the NUT.

Today I’m glad I don’t have children, as the National Union of Teachers (one of several teaching unions) goes on strike over pay, and (according to the meeja, at least) lots of parents have to make one-off arrangements to take care of their kiddies.

Nothing new in that: they were messing us all about in my schooldays back in the 1970s[1]. That’s also when I firmly convinced myself of the truth of George Bernard Shaw’s famous quip (albeit out-of-context), when it was clear that most of my teachers were frankly not very bright at all. They remained amongst those who whinged the loudest throughout the Thatcher years, and … well, I haven’t paid so much attention of late, but they clearly haven’t grown up yet.

The NUT and others tell us that teaching is a profession, and teachers are professionals. Yet the NUT itself is, and always(?) has been, a complete antithesis to all that professionalism stands for. A professional may detest and despise the boss (c.f. Dilbert), but doesn’t take it out on the customer. Whereas a professional does the job and expects his/her hours will routinely exceed what he/she is contracted for, the NUT whinges and “works to rule” or even strikes. Nowadays our local bus drivers are clearly more professional than the NUT.

This time they’re striking about pay. Unlike the police – who have legitimate (albeit exaggerated) cause to be aggrieved – teachers have not been short-changed: it’s the full award of the independent review body they’re striking against. Historically, teachers salaries were below average for graduates (though their starting salaries were pretty good) but they made that up with excellent pensions and far more holiday than anyone else. Nowadays they still have the benefits, but pay has also risen very substantially in recent years. Those who don’t own their own homes even qualify as “key workers” for subsidised housing, which can leave them better-off than almost anyone in the private sector apart from a handful of celebrities and “city fat-cats”.

Guess who doesn’t have my sympathy.

[1] Even in my day, it was (some of) the inadequate teachers who participated in union-inspired disruption. The good teachers very definitely didn’t.

Posted on April 24, 2008, in education, rants, uk. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’ve never bought into this key workers nonsense when it comes to state-subsidised housing privileges. In my everyday life I’m far more likely to depend on the services of shop assistants, bank clerks, bus drivers and similar people than I am on teachers, nurses and other so-called “key workers” (albeit I agree that the latter groups do important jobs too). The key workers in my world earn far, far less than any of the groups defined as such by government, but they still deserve somewhere decent to live. Many of them have just enjoyed a real take-home pay cut too thanks to the scrapping of the 10% tax band by this feckless government, unlike the teachers who’ve done relatively well.

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