Friday, 29 April 2011

Chris Port Blog #243. NPF Terrorism and the Stockholm Syndrome (Bullying, Stress & Suicide - and the Power of Art to Fight Back)

© Chris Port, 2011

(The Guardian, Monday 25 April 2011).

"Stress is driving increasing numbers of teachers out of the profession, with some even considering suicide..."

I posted a brief response to this article (under Marty's soubriquet of "gullible martyr") which you can read here.

The gullible martyr's response was an ironic dialogue extract from Targets.

I then browsed through the Times Educational Supplement (TES) online Connect Forums. Perhaps there might be a link between bullying and stress...?

I typed in "bullying by management". I got 87,868 matches. Slightly vary your terms, and you can get tens of thousands more hits...

See here.

There are more complaints from teachers about bullying by management (just in the TES) than you could reasonably read through in a professor's career. Some of these pitiful threads have been spinning yarns of despair for years now...

I tagged onto the end of one 3 year blood-trail in a Scottish debate forum. Then I tethered Marty's Judas goat out in the open. I sat all afternoon in a tree, waiting for tigers to come a-sniffing. But before tigers come foxes. And before foxes come crows (after insects, usually). It didn't take long...

Sniff here

Or just carry on reading below...

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Posted by: martygull 26/04/2011 at 15:57

"Stress is driving increasing numbers of teachers out of the profession, with some even considering suicide..." (The Guardian, 25 April 2011)

'Stress' is just a euphemism for bullying these days. Corporate management has refined bullying into a murderous art form. You’d be surprised (as, indeed was I) at how systemic bullying has become legitimized through a grotesquely Darwinian ‘ramp of improvements’. Like water-boarding, it’s not torture now - it’s ‘data retrieval’ or ‘performance management’. It’s plausibly deniable, backed up by pots of money and QCs. When you control the data machine, you control the information.

Education is becoming increasingly entangled with politics and business. Headteachers don’t teach. They chase pots of money and marketing opportunities. Anything that gets in the way is crushed without scruple. When you factor in the profit potential of privatization and outsourcing (via masonic golf-clubs), the idea of management having a legal duty of care towards staff as well as students has become… quaintly laughable.

I wonder if there's scope for M.A. and PhD studies on how organizational mafias operate, in schools these days, with links to politics and business? I hope so.

I would like to bring to your attention my action research project and education/arts blog which is a preamble to a PhD proposal on this very subject – and the power of art to fight back.

Please see the following:

Marty Gull (Marty[r] Gull[ible]).

Some particular posts which may be of interest…

Blog #130. Marty Gull - Targets

Blog #62. Is education a commodity?

Blog #92. "Do Protests Still Work?"

Blog #25: Marty Gull Song #11. You’ve Got To Kick A Teacher Or Two

#213. The Biometrics of How Schools Work

#214. Staffing Costs Less With Death By Stress

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It didn't take long for a carrion bird to peck at the poor goat's eyes...

"Sorry Marty," (it crowed), "I'm too busy teaching in the run up to SQA exams to contribute to your studies and think I may become more stressed and depressed by dwelling on it. All jobs are stressful but most of us have bills to pay and have to put up with it - I think it's called life."

I held my fire (for fear of scaring off nearby predators). This was only a graveyard bird. I thanked him for his peck of interest and shooed him away...

"A brief critique:

  1. Are you really 'too busy teaching'? Or are you too busy servicing the needs of the data machine? This is not the same thing at all.
  2. Not all jobs are stressful. To make such a sweeping claim is demonstrably untrue. In any event, teaching should not be stressful. Stress is counter-productive to health and learning. The focus of my action research is on how stress in teaching is artificially created. It is created by systemic and endemic bullying. Bullying is unacceptable and unforgivable.
  3. I am advocating that all bullies must be identified and publicly named and shamed. They must be publicly humiliated and disgraced and ejected from public service in show trials to set an example and act as a deterrent. Management bullying is destroying lives and learning. It is wasting billions of pounds of tax payers' money and undermining this country's future. Complacency is not an option here. In education, it is unforgivable.
  4. Anyone who endorses bullying, or acquiesces to it, or is complacent about it, is also unfit for teaching or any other public service. To claim that this disgraceful behaviour is 'called life' is unforgivable in a teacher. Shame on you. Depression and bills are no excuse for kowtowing to evil. Make no mistake, bullying is evil. Or do you wish to defend it as 'part of life'?" 

You may wonder (with some justification) if this is just a "shoo", what do I do for a shoot? Wonder away. I'm saving that magic bullet for a clean shot between one predator's eyes.

I posted a link on Facebook. One friend wryly  commented: "Sad to think that someone with the attitude "life's just stressful - deal with it" is responsible for educating young minds, but what a fantastic example of a "non-response" actually providing useful material for a study!"

We could do with men like this in teaching. (We won't get them though). But he was right. This is useful material for study...

"Yes, an interesting case study. The fatalistic apathy towards stress and bullying is morally repugnant (to me) - and utterly opposed to the vocational 'inspiration' ethos of teaching. However, it's unclear whether J**'s apathy comes from conviction or defeatism. The NPF (Neo-Positivist Front) terrorists have held teachers hostage for a quarter of a century now, so perhaps he's suffering from the public sector equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome? Or maybe he's just another sad victim of cynicism - one of 'the broken men who know they’re beat' (See 'Education’s Pointless'"

There you go. Bullies are terrorists. And torturers. After 10 years of it, I'm probably suffering a bit from the old Stockholm myself. So, time to de-programme. And then what? And then, dear reader... then they just have to go... And I will help them...

Maybe I wrote this one in my sleep...

Monkey Dust - Government School Targets
(WARNING! Department for Education Spokesman uses the "F" word... a LOT)

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