I recently decided that having two useless university degrees is not enough, so I want to apply for a third.
Not just any degree, either: a PGCE. For those of you not from the United Kingdom of Everything's Fucking Complicated and Absurd, PGCE stands for "Professional Graduate Certificate of Education". (Or "Postgraduate Certificate of Education," I dunno. I'm getting conflicted accounts.) Basically, what that means is that I want to be a teacher.
I've thought about this before. I've always wanted to teach. If Ph.D.s weren't so time-consuming and difficult, I'd give them a try to become a lecturer -- although I hate the research part, as my own dissertation reminded me daily last summer.
(My feelings on the matter of research.)
I think this decision came now because I've reached a point where university life is over, most of my friends are away, I'm working a casual job that isn't even remotely stimulating (unless serving food excites you) and it's going to take at least a year to get a proper job in the social care or criminal justice or media sector.
In other words, life is kinda shit at the moment.
(Except it was the other way around for me. Stupid health and appearance regulations.)
Anyway, I've not just been thinking about it, I've started the (lengthy and demoralising) process of applying. And since I began, I've been thinking about the teachers I had in primary and secondary school, and who were good and who were bad. Not all teachers are bad, but some of them were absolutely terrible. The worst part is that when a teacher sucks, it can really affect your life and your future: it's not like a sucky barista who will annoy you for the two seconds it'll take you to get your coffee and fuck off and then you'll forget about him. No, a sucky teacher can stay with you for years, and terrible high-school experiences can be life-forming, especially if they could've been prevented by a more capable teacher. So, here's the six types of teacher I never, ever hope to be:
#1. The One Whose Subject Matters Most
Who that is: That's the teacher who thinks that their subject is the be all and end all of all school life. Most commonly, they just so happen to be the teacher of the most useless and worthless subject.
("I don't care about your English exam, assholes. I want a 1000-word essay on
what the parable of the sower teaches us by next week or else you'll fail!")
Why they suck: Because no subject should be more important than any other, unless that subject is called "How to Get A*s on everything without studying (and learn shit in the meantime)".
Proposed punishment: Forcing them to correct about 500 essays in two hours while their house is burning. Maybe that'll teach them the meaning of "priority".
#2. The No-Shit-Giver
Who that is: On the completely opposite side of the spectrum from the previous entry, Scatulus Nongivous is the teacher who doesn't give a rat's arse about their subject, or teaching you anything. You will most likely encounter them in public schools, and they're prone to lots of profanity and sleep attacks.
("A'right, just open your textbooks to page 63 and solve problems 1 through 8.
Whoever's done first come show me.")
Why they suck: Look, I know that most of us don't realise it at the time, but we actually go to school to learn things. I get that dealing with a bunch of teenagers every day can get rather tiring, but guess what? You picked this career. So be a fucking adult, suck it up and do your job.
Proposed Punishment: I'd rather not pick one. I had a teacher in secondary school who was like that, and I really hated him and wished harm upon him, and then he got sick and died. So... yeah. Pick a punishment yourselves.
#3. The One Who Plays Favourites
Who they are: They're the teacher who will consistently ignore you and your efforts while they praise someone else's, or berate you when you've done nothing and at the same time pretend not to see when someone else is being mischievous. Simple as that.
(And, unlike Snape, they're not likely to die for you eventually.)
Why they suck: Because yeah, OK, we're all human beings and we can't possibly like everyone, but when you're a teacher, you're kind of like a boss, except your employees are at least five to ten years younger than you, and they're far more impressionable. A teacher who plays favourites is like a flight attendant freaking out when there's turbulence: their behaviour could have disastrous results.
Proposed punishment: Avada Kedavra.
#4. The Bully
Who they are: There are many versions of the Bully Teacher. There's the teacher who will witness students bullying someone and do nothing. There's the teacher who will actively mock or mistreat a student either because they're playing favourites, as described above, or, even worse, because they think they're being funny. Basically, they're the teacher who will act without thinking about the severe psychological damage their behaviour could have.
Why they suck: Need I explain?
I was bullied by teachers once or twice. One teacher once called me something demeaning and it was later used by my classmates as an insult against me for an extended period. Another teacher had not only believed a classmate when she blamed me for something she'd done, but she had also asked the class to vote on whether they believed me when I said I was innocent, and punished me because they didn't believe me. (Of course they "didn't believe me", that girl was more popular than me.) I've heard some horror stories and excuse me if this entry's not funny at all, but there is nothing funny about teachers being responsible for bullying, either directly or indirectly.
Proposed punishment: Everybody has weaknesses, and teachers can be bullied as well. I say bully them until they're forced to quit the jobs they didn't deserve in the first place.
#5. The Racist/Homophobe
Who they are: They're the advanced version of #3 and #4 combined, except their targets are not random; instead, they're based on creed, colour, ethnicity or sexuality. They're the teacher who will make an offhand remark about gay people and hell, or who will favour "normal" white kids and subtly mistreat immigrants or other minorities.
Why they suck: ...
...Yeah. I'm cool with all those.
#6. The Pervert
Who they are: They're the teacher staring at your boobs instead of looking into your eyes when they speak to you. They're the teacher favouring you because you're a girl/boy. They're the teacher who will get an erection during a lecture, forcing you to wonder how they haven't been arrested yet. They're usually in their 50s+, but there have been rare specimens in younger ages as well.
Why they suck: Because the only ones allowed to lust after teenagers are teenagers themselves. I don't care if the teenager you're lusting after looks at least 20, they're still a teenager. And you're clearly not.
Proposed Punishment: Making sure their child goes to a school with a teacher like them. Maybe that'll be a wake-up call.
So, yeah. I really hope I never end up belonging in one of these categories. Instead, I hope to belong in the other list, the list of teachers who have inspired and taught and helped and change lives for the better, all by just remembering the simple rules of teaching, which are...
...I'll get back to you on that after I get accepted for a PGCE.
Good luck to me. TTYL.