My short response to this silly nonsense (I thought it was sexist and should not have been published):
I am a new teacher. I am also a woman. Let me slam my cards down on the proverbial table: I believe in free speech, I’ll use whatever words I like and I refuse to conform to some Kath Kidson middle class ideal of how a woman should act, look or speak. Secondly, I don’t agree that the use of the following words, phrases and concepts are in any way indicative of a ‘masculine narrative’, nor do I agree that their use is somehow a bad thing:
- soft bigotry of low expectations
- core knowledge
- silence in corridors
I also don’t agree with the attitude that it is wrong (or ‘male’, however you choose to define it) to sell fast-track promotion or cash bonuses to entice new recruits and help pay their training fees. Many men and women would like to be able to pay the bills and be rewarded financially or via promotion for their hard work. This is normal and healthy because not every one is wealthy enough to teach for purely altruistic reasons. Yes, there are a few wealthy teachers out there, but some of us ordinary folk have families to support.
The above words and phrases I actually find quite exciting and positive and I’ve always felt like this. I have not have my consciousness infiltrated, thank-you-very-much. Many men and women, including myself, find the concept of competition and mastery thrilling. We are motivated by single-minded intellectual pursuit, to become experts in whatever bizarre corner of knowledge and understanding the world offers us. There are many young men and women in our classrooms today who are also budding intellectuals who would really rather not be held back by chatty group-work; these are our future scientists and engineers, for example.
We also know that the world around us is not some kind of glittery playground of fulfillment and happiness; we are painfully aware that our modern, industrialised world is unforgiving and harsh. The words and phrases above reflect the injection of a bit of reality into education because we need our children to have lots of knowledge and an ability to control themselves if they are to have any hope of being able to cope in the adult world that we inhabit.
There is no doubt that this is a new narrative, but it is not masculine. This narrative is positive, exciting and real; it values the academic and it values civilised behaviour. I’m all for it.
Who’s with me?