Can’t touch this


I spent a lovely evening at the Waterstone's bookstore in Picadilly last night and enjoyed perusing Mr Jones' Rules for the Modern Man by Dylan Jones. As I read the table of contents, I noticed a chapter entitled "How to Fire Someone." Jones then outlined what he claimed was the complicated procedure of giving warnings--both written and verbal--and of notifying HR, recording bad behaviour, and keeping witnesses.

Little does he know how good he has it. According to a Times article:

Talking to one headmaster at a London school last week, he told me that his hands were tied. Getting rid of a poor teacher, he explained, was nigh on impossible. Even though parents had complained about one of his own members of his staff, he had done little because the process was long and arduous, created dischord in the school, and might not even work.

An anecdote from my own lovely education. My history teacher when I was 16 did nothing more than make us read our textbook. She never lectured, never taught--just told us to read. If someone spoke, she yelled. Our principal wanted to fire her, but was scared she would sue. After several years of poor performance, she assaulted a student. Finally the axe fell.

It should not be this hard! Are the students for the teacher or the teacher for the students? I love and respect the thousands upon thousands of truly excellent teachers. There is hardly a more dedicated and altruistic bunch. But making it difficult to fire protects teachers at the expense of children.

As things are, if children get stuck with the poor teacher, they just have to accept it.