Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Chris Port Blog #216. Those Who Can, Teach. Those Who Can't, Manage.

© Chris Port, 2010

Our education system has nothing to do with education and everything to do with systems. That is its problem.

All systems develop a horrific, inhuman logic of their own. Or do I mean human? Whether the Nazi extermination camp system was a perversion of human nature, or a revelation of it, I leave to the moral philosophers. My point is simply this: all systems, by their very nature, are obsolete. Why? Because of progress. Systems can’t keep up with the change. Systems need stability in order to work. There is no such thing as stability.

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…”
~ William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

Progress has become an arms race. We’ve set human evolution onto fast-forward... and can’t find the pause button. Life is not lived now. It is rushed through. And when we get to the end, all we do is turn back and rewind. We find moments to pause on that we never really experienced at the time.

Only in the memory does tragedy take place. At the time, it was just Monday. A mother calls out “Don’t be late for tea!” and the front door slams shut. A secure silence, and then that distant crash and tinkle. How did Jim Morrison describe it? “Like the sound of silverware being dropped on linoleum”. Only as the ambulance siren closes in, only as an idle thought flickers on the wick, does a sickening drop open up in the gut. Now, those last boring moments will be replayed for an eternity. Now, a moulted hair on a coat collar is a holy relic in a tin. Oh Lear. There is no pain worse than the loss of a child.

Teaching in our school system is like watching a slow motion car crash – a time lapse photography of the destruction of human beings. Teachers either become inhuman, or go mad.

That is the system. Those who can, teach. Those who can’t, manage.

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