steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Dream Children

I refer not to Charles Lamb's might-have-been little ones, who must "wait upon the tedious shores of Lethe millions of ages before they have existence, and a name", but to the highly-corporeal, not to say in-your-face students at Jamie's Dream School. The show is ostensibly designed to give these pupils, all of whom left school with fewer than five GCSEs, a "second chance" by letting them star in a TV reality show drink in the wisdom of some of the most eminent people in Britain. (Only three of the nineteen teachers are women, by the way: Mary Beard, Ellen MacArthur, and... Cherie Blair!)

Not only are these teachers the "best" at what they do, but they have a small class to teach, and apparently unlimited resources: David Starkey was able to bring the Staffordshire hoard into the classroom and set up a tilting yard in the playground; Robert Winston to take a chainsaw to a dead pig [cue vomiting]. Yet it all failed: no one paid much attention to Simon Callow on Shakespeare; even Rolf Harris couldn't enthuse them about the Impressionists; and Starkey fell at the first fence by insulting one of the pupils for being fat and then going into a huff when he responded in kind.

As an educational experience for the children, this was probably of limited value. However, it was an excellent advertisement for professional teachers - and maybe that was its secret purpose all along? Teaching is one of those jobs that people have a tendency to think "anyone can do" (cf. children's writing, which also has a fatal allure for celebs). But these eminent scholars, politicians and public figures stumbled and/or fell - despite having all that cash, just one class to teach and no administration to worry about. It would be nice to think that they would draw the obvious conclusion: that teaching is a difficult profession in itself. Maybe we'll hear just a little less about "long holidays and short days" now? Alas, I foretell that next week David Starkey will blame his own incompetence on the woolly-minded teachers who let the kids get into this state in the first place. And that the Daily Mail will agree with him.
Tags: maunderings
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