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November 27, 2002
Crown Princes facing reality

This guy has been making just a tad too many waves, and has therefore (and this is pure guesswork on my part) gone anonymous. Allen Reece's T(each) F(or) A(merica) bosses said that a daily blog with his daily complaints about his workplace, superiors, etc, was out of order and could he please cut it out. Fair enough.

US readers of this, and for that matter British readers, may be interested to know that the TFA idea is now being applied to Britain, specifically in London.

Last week I spoke at a meeting organised by the London School of Economics Hayek Society, on the subject of philanthropy, charity, "helping", etc., and it turned out that the meeting had been sponsored by something called TeachFirst. One of the other speakers was Jo Owen, who runs (helps run?) Teach First, and mentioned it a bit in his talk.

The idea, for those coming to all this new (as I was), is that hotshot, high-flying, alpha-male crown-prince management consultancy types fresh out of their hotshot universities take a couple of years out from telling their elders and betters how to run their businesses, and instead make themselves useful by doing a tour of duty in one of London's more dramatic secondary schools.

That "TFA" - the stuff that Allen Reece is doing - is the original US version of all this was a penny that only dropped later.

What I like is that here is an example of "helping" that actually might be helpful, at both ends of the deal. Corporate Crown Princes are notoriously more clever than they are wise in the ways of the real world, and two years in one of the more grotesque of our capital city's schools is ideal for giving them a crash course in reality. The British economy's Crown Princes used to earn their spurs running provincial factories or godforsaken storage depots. "Give it a go. We're probably going to shut it soon anyway. See what you can make of it." (And see what it makes of you, mate!) Trouble is, hotshot management consultancies don't now have such enterprises of their own for their promising young men to play with. So now they are having to borrow them.

Meanwhile the schools are crying out for alpha-males to teach their rowdy young bloods to learn, not just science and history and geography, but basic civility and good manners. Civilisation you might say. Nice but overwhelmed women, and non-alpha males in corduroy jackets with arm patches, don't do it. They need Men men, and they are definitely desperate enough to take the Men being offered by this scheme, young and green though they may be. The slightly bigger wages needed for these guys are pin-money for the sponsors, but a godsend for the schools not to have to worry about finding.

Nice. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this scheme.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 02:10 PM
Category: BloggingThe reality of teaching

I read Allan's blog for a while but then thought "Well guy if you hate the system so much why the hell don't you just go somewhere else".

He just never seems to have a good day. he must be very miserable.

Comment by: Mike Peach on November 27, 2002 10:43 PM

When you join TFA it's understood your environment is going to be crappy. You make a commitment to teach for two years anyhow.

Comment by: Matt on November 28, 2002 04:55 AM

"Well guy if you hate the system so much why the hell don't you just go somewhere else?"

Well, because the problems don't go away just because I leave. The problems, the neglecting of basic needs, and the widespread incompetence all stay right here ...it's just that then nobody hears about them anymore. These kids have enough people bailing on them already, it's not so easy to just write them off.

And it's not that I don't have good days, it's that 1) it's the irritating stuff that's more likely to trigger the impulse to write something and 2) I've got this vain hope a regular airing of this nonsense will help CHANGE some of it.

Comment by: Allen on November 29, 2002 04:21 PM
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