Today marks the day of yet another round of striking by teachers who care more about their pensions than they do about the children of which they are responsible for during the day.
Now, a Labour shadow minister has condemned striking teachers as “irresponsible”, warning they are leaving “vulnerable” children “roaming the streets, getting into drugs”.
Lord Adonis, a former schools minister, who now shadows the treasury, also publicly urged other left wing politicians to condemn the current teacher strikes. “We will never have a decent deal for teachers unless they behave professionally,” he said. “There is nothing more irresponsible in a profession than withdrawing your services and leaving vulnerable young people who depend on you to turn up and to teach day by day. People like me, and I am on the left in politics, need to be very, very clear that there should be some no go areas. And teachers striking on issues, which are of secondary concern – it maybe that there is some fundamental issue which once in a generation comes up – but issues of secondary concern, that is basically unprofessional conduct.”
Stephen Twigg, Labour shadow education secretary until Monday’s reshuffle, has been criticised by ministers for not condemning strikes organised by the NUT and NASUWT unions. His replacement Tristram Hunt has yet to speak on the issue.
Lord Adonis was at an event launching new research on teacher status commissioned by the Varkey Gems Foundation. He made his comments after being asked about the next round of industrial action scheduled to take place next week.
He added: “You will not get society’s esteem for a profession which does not turn up at nine o’clock on a Monday morning – leaving children at home, in front of the sofa, roaming the streets, getting into drugs, all of those other things that happen – simply in pursuit of what is a course that should be negotiated.”
No one from the NASUWT or NUT leadership was available for comment. Why am I not surprised? I got a text message from the NUT the other day inviting me to go and join a rally in Exeter, and quite frankly I was half tempted to text back saying ‘I will not join a group of pathetic individuals who are in the profession for the wrong reasons.’ I didn’t so don’t worry.
I still maintain my view that teachers who strike should be sacked, and that there is no room in this profession for people who only care about their pensions. I came into teaching because I love the idea that I can inspire children to have opportunities that I didn’t have as a kid and allow children to achieve their full potential. Assuming I get a job straight after I graduate at the end of this academic year, I can be responsible for hundreds, even thousands of children’s potential. How amazing would that feel to help all those children in potentially 3 or 4 generations to achieve success in their lives? I would want to retire with enough money to be able to live out the rest of my days knowing that I have had a long, successful, and enjoyable career and have amazing memories doing something I love. If people on pensions think they’re hard up for money, why don’t we look at what they spend their pensions on? I don’t intend to stereotype, but I walk into Sainsburys often to get my weekly shopping, and I see pensioners in the alcohol isle, filling baskets or trolleys with bottles of alcohol, some not exactly cheap either. Of course this isn’t true for all of them. I’m so glad I’m t-total though, noone can accuse me of blowing the budget on unnecessary expenses.