Saturday, 26 February 2011

Humpty Worry
Michael Gove – Advisor to the Simple

Dear Michael,

I've been selected for an interview for a Maths post next week and as part of the process I will be interviewed by some pupils. Is there anything I can do to give the right impression and get them to give me the job?

Nigel Bird, Yorkshire

Dear Nigel,

You're right to be concerned, Nigel, it's children that do the hiring and firing in schools these days so you'd better follow my Top Twelve Tips on how to impress that all-important school council:

  1. Include a few spelling mistakes in your application letter. The panel are unlikely to want a teacher that thinks he or she is cleverer than them.
  2. Have some chews, lollies or prizes to hand out. Don't give them out straight away as that could seem a bit obvious – best to wait at least three minutes.
  3. If your mobile phone isn't an expensive and up-to-date model, borrow a friend's. Download a cool ring tone, arrange for it to go off and say: 'I never turn mine off.'
  4. Wear a cartoon tie.
  5. Show them that you're on their level by addressing them as 'guys.' It may help if you imagine yourself as Tony Blair.
  6. Ask them, casually, if an ice-cream van visits the school in the summer term. Express surprise when they say 'No.'
  7. Show that you know the difference between children and young adults. Assure them that they're young adults and that all those younger than the youngest young adult on the panel are still children.'
  8. Grin fanatically. Young adults want to have fun and excitement at school and are unlikely to appoint anyone that comes across as 'a bit serious.'
  9. Don't be afraid to lol!!!
  10. Impress them with the story about your mate who goes with someone who nearly got on The X Factor.
  11. When the IT question comes up, say you believe young adults should be on computers as much as possible, ideally unsupervised.
  12. At the end of an interview you'll usually be asked if there is anything you'd like to add. Show them how you would dance at a Year 9 school disco. Only do this if you've prepared something good.
         Good luck lover,

   Michael Gove

Friday, 4 February 2011

New Acronyms Soon
Unexpected acronym haul set to end months of speculation and uncertainty say Whitehall chiefs
The coalition government is planning to release dozens of previously ‘forgotten’ acronyms after discovering them in a Whitehall drawer, it was revealed yesterday.  The move ends almost six months of speculation over when and where the next educational acronym was coming from and has been warmly welcomed by all three of the leading teaching unions:
“At a time when teachers are worried about losing their jobs, and change seems to be relentless and without thought or reason, news of the extra acronyms is a welcome boost to the profession,” said Vanessa Jones, General Secretary of SNATWU.
A spokesperson for the Department of Education, which inherited the bottom drawer from a cleaning contractor employed under the previous administration, described the acronyms as ‘surprisingly good’ adding that government think tanks were ‘working round the clock’ to come up with policies to fit them:
 “Technically some of the acronyms are better suited to abbreviation but we hope that won’t stop some middle leaders and education chiefs from trying to turn them into words anyway,” he said. 
No details are yet available regarding the exact composition of the acronyms but many school leaders are hoping for a whole new raft of the slightly moronic sounding mono-syllabic type:
“CAT, SAT, MATT, we really like ones like that,” said Roger Gibbons, Headteacher of Barnwell Academy, Manchester, adding, “I hope they come on a raft.”
But Professor Christine Howell of The Educational Acronym Trust (TEAT) does not agree: 
“If the teaching profession is going to gain credibility in the public’s eyes then we are going to need impressive sounding acronyms to demonstrate our mastery of complicated and important sounding things: we need to show simple-minded people that we are the gate keepers.   CAT, SAT, MATT is all very well for staff meetings and training days but we’ve got to think more holistically than this.  Personally I would like to see a much wider use of silent letters, particularly the ‘N’ used after a ‘G’.  Finland has had GNAfFAWL for over a decade and it’s just another case of the UK lagging behind.”
The discovery of the acronyms, thought to be worth millions of pounds, could hardly come at a better time for the government which only last week announced plans to build all new academies entirely out of acronyms.  The General Teaching Council has announced it plans to bring out a special limited edition tie and brooch to celebrate the new acronyms and to give itself “something to do.”