Is it un­rea­son­able to ask teach­ers to work, like the rest of us have to?

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

THERE are no cer­tain­ties in life but death and taxes – and teach­ers whin­ing about their bloody hol­i­days.

This week the Govern­ment quite rea­son­ably sug­gested tak­ing a look at term times to see if the cur­rent sys­tem is – to use that hate­ful phrase du jour – “fit for pur­pose”.

Af­ter all, the cur­rent six-week sum­mer hol­i­day was de­signed not be­cause Sir or Miss needed an ab­nor­mally long time to re­cover from a school year.

Timeta­bles were in fact con­structed in this way so kids could help their fam­i­lies bring in the har­vest.

See­ing that as many kids th­ese days bring in the har­vest as they do work up chim­neys or down mines, clearly it’s an an­ti­quated sys­tem that sticks out like a sore thumb.

Or to bor­row an­other hate­ful phrase from the world of mid­dle-man­age­ment speak, “an ana­logue sys­tem in a dig­i­tal world”.

What­ever. Six-week sum­mer hol­i­days in th­ese mod­ern times are an anachro­nism serv­ing pre­cisely no one at all – ex­cept, of course, teach­ers.

On a ra­dio phone-in this week teach­ers bleated that they “need” this ex­tra­or­di­nary amount of time off af­ter the “pres­sure cooker” of work­ing a whole six weeks of three quar­ter work­ing days (in­ter­spersed by three week-long stints of half term PLUS a fort­night off at Christ­mas and Easter).

How they found the time to ring up the pro­gramme I have no idea – my teacher ac­quain­tances al­ways give the im­pres­sion that th­ese six-week su­per hol­i­days are crammed full of course plan­ning. One teacher caller even sug­gested that six weeks hol­i­day in the sum­mer wasn’t long ENOUGH – and that it was sim­ply “tough” on par­ents who had to find money for child­care.

“We’re not babysit­ters”, he whined. But the prob­lem is, sun­shine, ac­tu­ally you bleedin’ well are.

When our kids go off to school they are VERY MUCH in teach­ers’ care. There’s even a Latin le­gal term for it – in loco par­en­tis, or “in the place of a par­ent”.

No one is sug­gest­ing teach­ers should sit in with your kids while you go off to the pub for the evening. But is it that un­rea­son­able to ex­pect them to do their jobs full time like, you

know, the rest of us?

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