After spending a strange fifteen months applying to schools – 100+ rejections in the end – and a temporary contract online, I’m back in the classroom. It’s a good place to be, not only for me but for my book, Fuck Pedagogy.
As I have mentioned previously, the book is my autobiographical take on education, how many in the industry have no idea what they are doing or if they do, not giving a shit about the students.
I’m not a pedagogical person – “listen to the students and offer what I know” sums up my practice neatly – and I have had my issues with the powers that be. That’s what I’m working on now – the drama of my three dismissals – so that I can focus on what the book is really supposed to mean.
15 years later, it came as a great surprise when I went back as a teacher. My relationship with my fellow teachers was much improved, and my students too. It was the administrators who I despised this time. They made me think of getting the hell out again.
I was removed from my teaching position three times by my administrators – told to resign, fired and laid off. I have mixed feeling about all of this. Having never really wanted to teach nor ever having worked with a competent administration and yet having enjoyed working with my students – and some colleagues – it is a bittersweet thing.
As I said, teaching was a fallback position. I am writer. And it’s time I wrote about this teaching thing. Fuck Pedagogy. That’s what the book is called. And that’s what it’s about.
As much as everyone likes to moan about the Trumps or Kim Jong-Uns of the world, it is more about those who allowed them in, not the bullies as it were but the crowd that watches. In other words, our essential malaise is not the jowly hate-filled monsters but the chubby ones who do what they’re told so they can rule their sector.
Franz Kafka, best know for elucidating what is to be trapped in this all-too-real dystopia, put it like this in The Trial:It’s no use. The Examining Magistrate has sent for me. What are you thinking of? It would be the ruin of me. Let him alone. He’s only obeying orders of the Examining Magistrate and carrying me to him.
I have begun the outline for my auto-biography on my days as a teacher, Fuck Pedagogy, which has a similar grim focus. Although lacking Kafka’s literary acumen, it does focus on the same ilk in the education racket, the ones who love the seminars and hate the kids, whose lives are ruled by machinations and maneuvers and who are quietly destroying our world. And like Kafka, it’s supposed to be a comedy. Ha ha.