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Evil witch - or just poor inexperienced teacher?

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Ted Harvey
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Joined: September 10th, 2007, 4:41 pm

Evil witch - or just poor inexperienced teacher?

#1 Post by Ted Harvey » November 22nd, 2008, 3:20 pm

Am I the only one to be disturbed and disgusted at the current, near-hysterical, media witch hunt over the young Scottish teacher who seems likely to be the first to be dismissed for incompetency?

I wasn’t even aware of the case until I kept seeing her being covered in and out of her hearing by various TV and press journalists and persistent, rather hype-up, coverage over several days. I was particularly struck by how she was visibly shocked and unprepared for the baying media pack as she initially came out of her hearing.

I assumed that there must be some ghastly scandal afoot – then I found out that this unfortunate young women is simply alleged to be not any good as a teacher. The alleged public interest excuse is that this is the first such proceeding under a new teachers’ professional competence requirements.

Is this really something that merits her public hounding and harrying? Are teachers to become our new public hate figures? I thought it was merely alleged under-performing social workers that we British stereotyped and held as scapegoats to salve the public’s own shortcomings.

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Alan C.
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Evil witch - or just poor inexperienced teacher?

#2 Post by Alan C. » November 22nd, 2008, 3:53 pm

The story is
here.
Mrs Barnard, 55, had already been sacked by Perth and Kinross Council amid concerns about her performance at Coupar Angus, Comrie and Arngask primaries, between November 2003 and December 2006.
Mrs Barnard was born in Manchester but qualified as a teacher in New Zealand
Not the young Scottish teacher you think she is.
GTCS lawyer Robbie Burnett told the committee that "despite significant management support over an extended period of time to address areas of concern" in her performance, she failed to meet the standards required.
Not inexperienced either.
working in Scotland for the past 25 years.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Alan H
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Re: Evil witch - or just poor inexperienced teacher?

#3 Post by Alan H » November 22nd, 2008, 4:27 pm

Ted Harvey wrote:Is this really something that merits her public hounding and harrying?
Is it not just the media doing the hounding in their usual hysterical fashion?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Evil witch - or just poor inexperienced teacher?

#4 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » November 22nd, 2008, 7:28 pm

Where's the hysteria?

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getreal
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Joined: November 20th, 2008, 5:40 pm

Re: Evil witch - or just poor inexperienced teacher?

#5 Post by getreal » November 22nd, 2008, 7:57 pm

If one is a member of a profession, this imposes a level of competency which must be attained and maintained throughout ones working life.

Would society tolerate a poorly performing doctor continuing to practice?

If (school) teaching is a 'profession' ,which I agree, it is, surely it must adhere to this principle.
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Alan H
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Re: Evil witch - or just poor inexperienced teacher?

#6 Post by Alan H » November 22nd, 2008, 8:45 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:Where's the hysteria?
Perhaps hysteria is too strong a word, but the media looked as they were 'hounding' her. She is the first, so I suppose that's where the interest is, and I don't suppose the next one will get the same (or any) attention.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan C.
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Evil witch - or just poor inexperienced teacher?

#7 Post by Alan C. » November 22nd, 2008, 9:11 pm

I'm inclined to agree with getreal.
From the article in the Scotsman
He complained that until now, incompetent teachers were simply moved to another school because of the "complex and sometimes Byzantine" process of bringing a case against them.

He said: "I wouldn't wish this on anyone but we have to realise this is an issue in Scottish education that perhaps we've ignored.

"If you were an employer with nearly 50,000 staff, you would probably assume that one to 1.5 per cent had competency difficulties, so for this to be the first case to come forward is surprising for everyone. Imagine it was your child that was in that class and a teacher with 10 years' experience will have perhaps ruined the education of 300 children."
My bold.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Ted Harvey
Posts: 172
Joined: September 10th, 2007, 4:41 pm

Re: Evil witch - or just poor inexperienced teacher?

#8 Post by Ted Harvey » November 22nd, 2008, 11:05 pm

Alan C yes, I needed correction on some material facts. I made the mistake of repeating my impressions gained from the generality of the style of media reporting on this case – rather than do some careful checking. A mistake that does annoy me given the low regard I hold British media in.

A mistake partly made by me probably being too hasty to post on something that I had found common agreement on in a fairly diverse social group I was part of today, and my maybe naively anticipating I would find similar agreement on here on this board.

Nevertheless. A few points I still want to make:

This was a Scottish teacher i.e. someone who teaches in Scotland. I seem to recall a similar conflation being made recently on this board about another remark I made in a posting; that time it was a misconstruing of what ‘Englishman’ meant.

Even some of the remarks made here, with respect, actually compound my worries about once again the media driving a reactionary populist agenda, for example:
If one is a member of a profession, this imposes a level of competency which must be attained and maintained throughout ones working life.
Why is that statement made? Who would deny it – certainly not me. What has it to do with the concerns about media hounding that I raised?
If (school) teaching is a 'profession' ,which I agree, it is, surely it must adhere to this principle.
Ditto.

As for:
Would society tolerate a poorly performing doctor continuing to practice?
The unequivocal answer is Britain is such a society! To have a doctor removed from practice in Britain is an extremely complex and difficult process, indeed you could describe it as "complex and sometimes Byzantine". Moreover, it’s a process that is largely run (and jealously guarded) by the class-bound medical profession itself. Some of the recent examples of senior (male) doctors arbitrarily and unjustly condemning innocent mothers of child murder is a telling example.

And:
Where's the hysteria?
OK the term is subjective, but if someone has seen the same media behaviour in this case as me (for example, unannounced individuals chasing the victim down the street jabbing the camera and taking pictures and the high profile given to copy) and disagrees with my description of ‘hysteria’ then I happily and readily say let’s just agree to disagree. Especially where the media have simply restorted to the near-villification of a lone individual rather than any informed attempt to address the wider background or deeper issues.

And:
"If you were an employer with nearly 50,000 staff, you would probably assume that one to 1.5 per cent had competency difficulties, so for this to be the first case to come forward is surprising for everyone. Imagine it was your child that was in that class and a teacher with 10 years' experience will have perhaps ruined the education of 300 children."
Once again, why is this statement in the Scotsman repeated here, what has it to do with the concern I raised about the media hounding? (Incidentally, as a mere aside, how many instances are there of the latter day Scotsman ever coming up with positive copy on the mainstream public services in Scotland. Anyway, in this quote from the Scotsman there is for me a tad too much of the 'if you were' and 'probably assume' 'and 'imagine'... all ending with the dramatis of runing " the education of 300 children"... talk about innuendo and splashing mud about!)

I’m disappointed, despite my factual errors, about how far some contributors here have missed the point I was making. If there is incompetence and under-performance in a profession, especially in a public service, hysteria or hounding or harrying, or whatever precise semantics you want to use, is no way to address it.

That type of populist and reactionary media agenda has contributed to the parlous state that British social work is now in. For some observers like me, it is a calculated part of the reactionary agenda in the UK that apes what has gone before in the USA; a demeaning – even demonizing – of all public services paid for by the tax payer, because that’s what suits powerful wealthy vested interests keen to minimise the taxation demands on their not-inconsiderable wealth.

If I can return to the question I posed, it looks like I may indeed be "the only one to be disturbed and disgusted..." I, sadly, find that a sobering point for reflection that rather confirms my concerns about media-driven agendas.

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Alan H
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Re: Evil witch - or just poor inexperienced teacher?

#9 Post by Alan H » November 22nd, 2008, 11:19 pm

On the subject of poor/hyped/inaccurate reporting, I've just started reading Flat Earth News: An Award-winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media by Nick Davies. I came across him and his website on Radio 4's PM a week or so ago when he was commenting on the media reaction to the Jersey Children's home story. He came across as extremely sensible in his approach and scepticism of journalists and the media, even though he is a journalist himself. Just got past a précis of Murdoch, et al but it looks very interesting and I'll let you know when I've finished it!

Davies has a website [---][/---] it's mainly to push his book, but there are a few blog entries.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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getreal
Posts: 4354
Joined: November 20th, 2008, 5:40 pm

Re: Evil witch - or just poor inexperienced teacher?

#10 Post by getreal » November 22nd, 2008, 11:24 pm

I take your point, Ted, that the media reaction was your issue and not the rights or wrongs of the matter- though the strapline 'Evil witch - or just poor inexperienced teacher' misled me.

I feel the issue did not warrant major media attention (though here I must confess to not having seen/read about it anywhere, except here).
To me the 'public interest' dimention is that there has now been a change in the way these things can be delt with and not the individual teacher concerned (there's always going to be a first).
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Alan C.
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Evil witch - or just poor inexperienced teacher?

#11 Post by Alan C. » December 4th, 2008, 11:49 am

Incompetent teacher banned from every classroom in the UK.
n her defence, she said: "I have a style of interaction with children which does not include talking to them with effusive praise.
A lot of the comments below the article are saying this story isn't newsworthy, that it should have been kept quiet.
The reason it made the news is because it is a first, and I don't suppose any subsequent striking off of a teacher would attract as much media attention.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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