Thought it might be instructive to quiz the Oldest Staff Member on the business of bored teachers. Having identified this sub-class of the genus pedagogus pedagogus, the government is keen to give them the old heave-ho. Is boredom prevalent in the profession?

“Dunno,” said the Ancient Mariner of the Common Room after giving it some consideration between sips of milky tea, “S’pose.” With a sort of shrug he sloped off to peruse the running tally of the footy tipping competition. If he were not facing the prospect of imminent retirement rather like an emperor penguin standing on the lip of the calving Antarctic ice-shelf, one might fear for this living fossil.

The Minister for Education, who is clearly far from bored, has given us her bracing assessment. “We want to make sure that everybody in the workforce wants to be there, and is energised about the school improvement agenda.”

While it is plain that not everyone at Lowbottom High is a walking embodiment of enthusiasm, even the disengaged would be able to point out to the Minister that there is a direct relationship between desire to work and remuneration. Running her galvanometer over the workforce, the Minister would discover any amount of energising once teachers did not have to contemplate a future of plain label food shopping into their twilight years.

The Oldest Staff Member had returned and to judge by the unwonted light in his eye was about to express something profound. “About what you said earlier.” “Yes?” And then just as suddenly the light went out. “Have you seen the sudoku page?” he said.

Oblivious if not impervious to the realities, the government plans an education summit to broadcast the good news about the energised future. If the present pay dispute is not resolved beforehand, it promises to be a lonely affair. It is not ennui but anger which the Minister should most fear.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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