Charles and Charles

On the other hand. One letter to the Independent on the ‘Charles tells lower orders to stay in their places’ matter makes an interesting point.

How ironic that on the same day that Charles Clarke says that Prince Charles is out of touch for commenting that children want to be pop stars and the like without having to do anything to earn it, he chooses to announce that “every school must take its fair share of unruly pupils”. As a supply teacher in this country for the past two years, I think that, at least in this instance, it is Mr Clarke who seems more out of touch than the Prince. When was the last time Mr Clarke was in a classroom? There are many disruptive students who ruin it for the good children. From my experience, these disruptive ones fit the description given by the Prince, thinking that they don’t need an education as they will make it as pop stars or footballers in their teens and early twenties.

The letter-writer then suggests that disruptive students should be isolated so that no school would have to deal with them in their disruptive state, and he points out the burden those disruptive students are to both teachers and students who want to learn. Which is true. That’s a conversation I’ve had more than once with various friends who are teachers – the fact that they often have to spend more time being a cop than being a teacher, and how bad that is for the students who don’t need policing and would rather learn something, as well as for the teachers themselves. Teaching is teaching, not crowd control, not prison guarding, not military basic training. Teachers should be able to devote their energies to teaching their subject matter, not struggling to establish dominance. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and energy to make teachers do that, plus it’s a hell of a good way to discourage people from being teachers at all. If I ran the world, students would either act like students or leave.

However, Charles was talking about his adult secretary, not school children, and he’s still a prat.

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