I received a strange little call a couple of days ago. It's one of those calls that a little, arrogant, part of every teacher fetishises and wishes would come true. I received a call offering me a job. The unusual part? I never applied for it.
Corporate headhunting is nothing new, but it is still a surprise for one such as me (ie. More useless than individuality at a PIXL conference.(perhaps that's unfair. If you are offended by that read it as 'more useless than Gove.) I'm not amazing, and I probably don't care quite enough to be truly exceptional. What struck me as particularly strange about the call was how insistent it was. The Headteacher of the school seeking to recruit very average staff was on a Wolf of Wall Street hard sell and there was no doubting it. In a ten minute call I pretty much only spoke to confirm my name and place of residence. They offered me a lot of tacit promises and *wink wink nudge nudge* style incentives. I was a bit shocked. It seemed too much. When I asked, finally, at the end of the conversation (lecture) about who they had heard about me from, the Head refused to tell me. At this point I became deeply suspicious and put on my Poirot mustache just in case.
So I went and had a little look see on the interbobs and did a little bit of digging. It took me and a colleague approximately 38 seconds to discover how they'd heard of me; a member of staff from my current school was acting as a named consultant for those at the the school that wanted to be my next. I was appalled. It is a needless and horrifying lack of morality based around the faux-competitive nature of educational establishments. It may not come as a surprise to many that the school that was out for the bounty on my unkempt and permanently sleep-deprived head was a new build school backed by a corporate entity. I think the delivery of money into education is great, but it seems to be some sort of proviso that any injection has to come with the slowly corrupting HIV of corporate ethics. We are the front line blind bunnies of the state's rabid hop into bed with a myxomatosis ridden publicly limited cash-slut. There is no philanthropy in this. The only philanthropy in education is the thankless, moneyless provision of free overtime given to students because it helps, or because that museum is only open on the weekend, or because without this bit of training, or coursework help, or equipment then they simply won't win, or learn or achieve.
Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps I am a socialist wrapped in middle-class angora. Perhaps my problem is that I think education is about getting kids to learn stuff, then more stuff, then go into the world a better person. It's not, is it. It's about looking good and standing up in front of people with your shiny new school and saying "Look at what a fucking great human being I am." It's about companies who probably abuse child labour abroad backing schools so they can claim that they "Invest in Pupils' dreams" or some such assorted vacuous bollocks. It's about making TV shows that show what beautiful and fragile human beings teachers are and how difficult this job that we all chose to do is while producers and writers and broadcasters rub their little hands with glee. (Yeah the job's hard. We get it. We do it. We do it every day, every week of every, oh, wait, no. We get thirteen weeks holiday., which, when we're quite honest with ourselves, is lovely. It is a job and I enjoy it and I want to do it; this is a rarity in the world. I enjoy that I feel that the work I do is actually of some significance to the world around me.) It worries me that the education sector is just another way of bargaining for cash and reputation and status in an already morally bankrupt world.
So, to sort of return to the story, I informed those higher up in the educational foodchain that I had been headhunted for a different school by a member of my own who has a vested interest and a moral compass about as useful as a dildo in a nunnery. I have yet to see any action, and in all likelihood it will all be brushed under the carper and then liberally assaulted with a dyson so that the school can maintain its exact current reputation. I would much rather it took a stand and put into the public domain the high moral stance that it could take by exposing and chastising this sort of practice. We should not accept this in education. I think we forget sometimes; it doesn't matter what school you work at as long as you can do your job and in that job you are accountable only to children and yourself. Not money, not OFSTED, not whichever company owns your building. You are a teacher. Be proud of doing what you do.