It’s not all like Hogwarts…

James Proclaims (4)

Today’s Writing 101 task was to expand on an insightful comment that I had made on another person’s blog.

All well and good, except I haven’t written too many comments on other people’s blogs in the last few weeks.

I’ve barely kept up with writing posts for this blog.

I know blogging is meant to be a form of ‘social’ media. Part of the deal for getting people to read and interact with my online offerings is to interact with other writers.

But I’ve been a bit of a blogging recluse recently. I’ve managed to churn out a few missives for these pages but I haven’t ventured too much into the larger blogosphere.

It’s not that I don’t want to. I actively enjoy reading other online journals, but time has not been a commodity I’ve enjoyed too much of lately.

So on the rare occasions I’ve read another blogger’s post, I’ve probably just hit the ‘like’ button to show my appreciation and moved on. I’ve rarely left comments and those that I have left have certainly not been worthy of expanding into a post for this blog.

But earlier today I read this on This British-American Life.

Go and read it now.


Did you see my comment?

OK on the off-chance that you didn’t go, the post is a lament (written with wit and panache) about how some Americans perceive the British Education system as being superior to that of the US system.

And my comment is how I work in a UK school , which is, in itself, proof that the British education system has it’s flaws…

I’m only half-joking.

I became a teacher because I graduated into a failing economy with a less than brilliant degree. After slumming it for a year in a dead-end office job I decided that teaching might be a bit more interesting than data entry.

Not the greatest motivation for joining the profession.

I started life as a French teacher. Because my degree is in French Studies.

I was a dreadful French teacher.

Somehow I managed to complete the training but I couldn’t find a job because most schools want teachers to offer two languages and I only offered French. I could have offered rudimentary Italian, but Spanish or German are the languages that most UK schools offer alongside French.

I contrived to end up teaching maths instead. How that came about is a longer story than I want to tell today but sufficed to say I wasn’t remotely qualified. I’m a little more qualified and a lot more experienced now, but my initial appointment was questionable to say the least, and that I was better at teaching maths than I was at teaching French was certainly fortuitous.

I’ve subsequently discovered a talent for working with the more disaffected kids within the system. There’s definitely a place for someone like me within education.

But the fact remains; I became a teacher because I couldn’t think of anything better to do.

I endure while record numbers of people who actually wanted to be teachers leave the profession in their droves. Is that the hallmark of a system that works?

  30 comments for “It’s not all like Hogwarts…

  1. Joules Nightmare
    September 16, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Interesting post. I will follow you to see where you are going. I love your “unconventional” life though!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 16, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      Unconventional is probably a nice way of putting it 🙂


  2. marysmirror
    September 16, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    I fear it is the same with Germany… We are often told that our school system is somehow nice (as often as our Health care services as appreciated- why?!) and its exactly the same. If not worse… A lot worse actually 😀
    Is there actually anybody who dreamt of being a teacher? XD

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 16, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      Apparently there’s quite a few. I just assumed that everyone would be like me when I joined the profession but some of them were actually fulfilling a life-long ambition. They did not like me at all…

      Liked by 1 person

      • marysmirror
        September 16, 2015 at 9:15 pm

        quite understandable but I fear they missed something 😀
        you seem quite good humored though being a dreadful french teacher – in Germany we say ‘Einsicht ist der erste weg zur Besserung’ (realizing it is the first step torwards recovery) so maybe you weren’t as bad as you thought you were 😉
        The teachers who weren’t planning to do it for their life seemed to be the most human and friendly ones (my aunt is a teacher herself- planned this all her life and is DREADFUL 😉 )

        Liked by 1 person

      • September 16, 2015 at 9:18 pm

        I wish I spoke German. Not so I could teach it, obviously. But you’re right, there does tend to be more humanity among those of us who ‘fell’ into the job.

        Liked by 1 person

      • marysmirror
        September 16, 2015 at 9:21 pm

        I spend 11 years in a german countryside school- it is weird… but our language is nice- maybe consider learning it… after you made it past the ‘der die das’ and all the tenses and personal pronouns things get easier and whatever you utter in German- nearly nobody understands when being in other countries so you may yell around a lot- people think we germans tend to do it all the time so… You would just fit in 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. September 16, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    haha I love this

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 16, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Thanks 🙂


  4. September 16, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    My husband’s cousin ended up teaching biology in the Bronx because she accompanied her friend along for her job interview. She has been teaching ever since, and she is fantastic.

    There is something to be said about Accidental Teachers.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. September 16, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Finding the time to comment is difficult…

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 17, 2015 at 5:48 am

      It is and if I can’t think of anything to say then I don’t want to comment for the sake of commenting…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. September 17, 2015 at 5:04 am

    Commenting is really not easy. 🙂 Nice post. So honest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 17, 2015 at 5:49 am

      Probably too honest 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • September 17, 2015 at 5:51 am

        That’s fine. We really have to be honest, unless we’re writing fiction. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. September 17, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Yes very interesting I read the Yanks article and wrote a comment but it is hard to see other peoples comments, I did not like school and was happy to leave. I enjoyed life after the navy just hitching around. I taught myself to cook and take pictures and I became a teacher to adults teaching photogrpahy and cookery. The nicest job was taking a class for a week of teenagers. They were all given a camera two rolls of film and at the end of the week, they all went home with black & white pictures. In the last class I took one girl said to me, Phil I’ve really enjoyed this course, I hope the next one is as good. I never taught the next one as it was digital photography.
    I now have the qualifications to teach but cannot teach as I have NO qualifications!! Oh I hated the teaching course!

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 17, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      Yeah the teaching course is brutal…


  8. September 17, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Ugh. I taught in a politically corrupt school system in the American deep south for nearly a decade. I was incredibly naive and it took me a long time to figure out what was wrong. At first I thought I was just depressed or maybe a bad teacher. But then I realized people were backstabbing, stealing, lying, cheating- and don’t get me started on the kids! It was a toxic environment with a near hopeless schedule (the arts are a 24/7 job) and near destitute level wages. The longer I taught, the less I cared. About myself, life, and everything. The system literally sucked the soul out of me.

    So glad I left, and I’m never, ever looking back. They ruined teaching and music for me, which is saying a lot. I think it’ll be years before I recover. I still have nightmares.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 17, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      The hopeless schedule I recognise all too well. It’s more endless bureaucracy than lying and cheating in my world. A lot of box-tickers making my life less tolerable than it needs to be. Which is tiresome.
      But your story sounds horrendous…

      Liked by 1 person

      • September 17, 2015 at 8:51 pm

        We had the box, ticking, too. Mindless paperwork in duplicate and triplicate. Because it totally helps kids learn. Totally.

        Liked by 1 person

      • September 17, 2015 at 8:56 pm

        Just this evening I attended a compulsory after school training session as a box-ticking exercise. The person leading the session had us watching a video and having group discussions, as if she was entirely unaware that everyone in the room was a qualified teacher and knows you only include stuff like that because you haven’t got enough actual content to make the session worthwhile.
        An hour she kept us for!

        Liked by 1 person

      • September 17, 2015 at 9:11 pm

        My favorite was when we had technology training workshops taught by people twice my age who couldn’t get the projector to work. Every 20-30 something in the room was resisting the urge to go up there and do the presentation themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

      • September 17, 2015 at 9:13 pm

        I sat through that one on Monday…

        Liked by 1 person

  9. September 18, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    I worked in schools as a speech therapist for close on to 9 years. Heaven compared to the teacher’s schedules, but all of us were in the same boat when it came to paperwork, mindless inservice programs, and some parents and some kids (usually same families) who seemed to wake up in the mornings determined to make your life a living hell. l admire anyone who teaches because they like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. September 19, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    James, you might have been nominated before …and if not it’s a crying shame! But I just nominated you for the Leibster Award. I truly love your humor!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. September 19, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    It’s always nice to be nominated, so thanks 🙂


  12. September 20, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Similar with my husband, went into teaching not knowing what else to do with his science degree at the time. After losing two public school teaching jobs we found ourselves back in graduate school, where he ended up with a Ph.D. in biology, but decided that teaching,not research, was actually his love, and has taught at the college level since. C’mon, really, how many people in the early 20’s know what they’re good at and what they want to do? So glad you are finding your element (YES!!! Your gift is sorely needed.) Now on to our Sunday night ritual of Doyle and Cumberbatch on the teley.

    Liked by 1 person

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