Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Putting people into boxes

Why does this happen? Why if someone is a teacher, do people think - washed out, uninspiring, rubbish, can't control classes? Why if someone chooses to breast feed or aim for as little medical intervention during birth as possible, do people think - hippy? Why if someone was once a pop star, do people think they can't do anything else with their lives?

Now, obviously two of those scenarios are about me. I'd let you guess which one isn't me but I'm about to talk about the ex-pop star, so it's not much of a game.

Today on twitter, Professor Brian Cox of 'Wonders of the Solar System' and 'Wonders of the Universe' fame had a bit of a rant at Sarah Vine. This lady is a columnist in the Times. Unfortunately, the Times is hidden behind a pay wall on t'internet so you can't see her column unless you pay for it. I did pay for it today and read a long ream about how the 'Wonders' programmes were too popularist and Cox was too attractive to be proper science programmes and anyway, she goes on, the topic is too complex for the kind of people who'd be interested in a programme presented by an ex pop-star. It was actually quite rude on a number of levels and I have to say, I agree with Prof Cox's rant on twitter.

I was also surprised that this lady would chose to tackle the topic in this way. She's married to Gove (the careerist in charge of education at the moment) so she should have a little knowledge of how kids interact with education - or maybe not. I shouldn't make that assumption because, obviously in her world, you can only be one thing. She would appear to be a columnist and therefore, not a supportive wife. So either they don't talk about each others work or she doesn't listen!

To be perfectly honest, the kinds of people who she is suggesting are too thick to understand Astrophysics are also unlikely to know that Prof Cox used to be a pop star, it was quite a while ago now!

Now, both Rob and I work in secondary modern schools, in areas with grammar schools so our kids are not the 'cleverest' grapes in the bunch (I say that in inverted commas because I believe in multiple intelligences but I don't think Sarah Vine does) but these kids are really inspired by 'Wonders'. They are coming into Robs science department and asking questions about what they've seen. As my kids came to me to ask questions on a geographical front after Wonders of the Solar System. So this programme is not only engaging them with the science but inspiring them to find people in their every day life who would also know about this kind of stuff. They're engaging with education!

Which brings us back to the idea that all teachers are crap and kids have no respect for them. Why come to us to help them understand TV if they don't respect us? It's just that some of them have funny ways of showing it sometimes!

There's so much of her column that I could argue with but then I got to thinking and this is what I thought.'OMG, this kind of clap trap is worthy of Jeremy Clarkson. Hold on, I don't find Clarkson offensive (usually) I just laugh at the bollocks he comes out with.' So, I've decided that this column was meant to be funny but as she's a columnist and not a comedian, it didn't work very well. In just the same way as Prof Cox is an ex pop star so can't present science programmes. Or I'm a teacher so can't be interesting or inspiring.

What is really written in Sarah Vines column is a confession. I wonder if her husband knows. What Sarah Vine was really saying is that she, personally, is too busy oggling Prof Cox to pay attention to what he's saying.

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