Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Never Say Die Hard

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Never Say Die Hard

Article excerpt

I've just seen BBC Three's Tough Young Teachers. The series follows the fortunes of a bunch of bright young graduates recruited to the Teach First programme as they try to "make a difference" to the lives of inner- city students after only six weeks' training.

The trainee teachers' superior social backgrounds - they all look as though they write thank you letters and drive to work in horse-drawn carriages - clash with the grittier social milieu of the kids, so at times it feels like the narrative love child of Brideshead Revisited and The Wire. But otherwise the series relies on the stock school documentary conventions, with panoramas of desolate buildings, disruptive students and inspirational posters.

This tightly edited version of classroom life offers a skewed view of teaching in an inner-city school. The leader of one of the participating institutions has already complained that he was misled about the intention of the programme; he thought the producers wanted to show how Teach First worked, not spotlight troubled kids. But since aspirational recruitment initiatives aren't half as compelling as watching teenagers roll their eyes, the camera lens clings to the students. As a result, the series delivers another hyped-up view of the profession.

Teaching is rarely the all-action adventure that television companies would have us believe. Those seconds we spend chasing villains across school or talking students down from top-storey psychological ledges are nothing compared with the mind-numbing hours devoted to inputting data into columns. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.