I am an Education Justice Warrior (EJW). I spent my life battling for education, and, whilst it was in general part of a waste of time as the world is far less educated now than it was when I started, it was worth doing. As an EJW I put the children first, so I never fought for ideals above the interests of children. Because of this I ended up being successful in my first job until I became a threat to the lynchpin of the intellectual left.
Let me explain EJW. SJW is a Social Justice Warrior, and is a derogatory term used by alt-right for those fighting for causes; I would probably be classed as an SJW if I came to their attention. It is absolute lunacy that people fighting for the good of others is worthy of a derogatory label but it is worth trying to understand rather than just dismiss. I don’t like deplorables but I don’t see all the right wing as “deplorables”, and I seriously commend Christian Picciolini for Life after Hate – we must work with all people.
I find myself being more critical of Liberals than I am of the right-wing. Liberals are arrogant, think they are superior because of their ideals, and yet ultimately when push comes to shove it is only ideals. These are the people in my day who screamed about racism until the daughter brought home a black guy, and then they voted Tory. On the street I grew up on, there would have been some middle-class Liberals but after I left home a black family moved in (with such a beautiful daughter) – they lasted maybe a year. Relief – house prices weren’t going to go down. This is the real face of liberalism – the Blair face, the face that has liberal rhetoric but is not prepared to risk any aspect of their life against wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria etc; this is the face that is afraid, deluded and has abdicated responsibility. The Oxfam envelope (pre-scandal) was full so long as someone else handles the problem and their life remains pristine. On the surface Liberal social gatherings appear right-on but it is a superficial level of tolerance that to me is more aggravating than any of its supposed correctness.
Pre-Trump and Brexit these people had some level of power, and with their obnoxious bleatings managed to usher in an era of fascism that will take such a long time to recover from. If these SJWs were not so obnoxious no amount of Koch brothers’ money could foster the right-wing anger.
Everywhere I go, I don’t go far, I meet white people who have worked all their lives and are complaining about misapplied liberal policies – good people. This is lunacy. The last I heard was in Holland where Liberal policies encouraged Syrians and Moroccans not to work. How true this is I don’t know, but the guy was OK. Problem is the policy, attitude and application of SJWs. I do not support white privilege but there has been some dumping on them by liberalism. You don’t put ideals before people, it is a smaller but similar problem to putting profits before people.
And I want to mention Obama here. It sickens me to hear about this great black hero. He is teflon. He started a war in Syria, drones in Yemen, Black Lives started not to matter when he was president (Vision here), and white people “lost” jobs. He was the perfect pawn of the 1% for the time, teflon black man doing the 1%-white man’s bidding, Mr Wall Street, am I allowed to say “Uncle Tom” president? The 1% were forcing the white people out of work taking all the money after the 2008 crash. What did Obama say about that? When the 1% took the money they took the jobs, and because Obama did not do enough Trump was able to come in and with right-wing money promote his deplorable platform. Obama’s inaction fed this. And if Obama had done something to help white decline (whilst not supporting white privilege) Trump would not have been able to use his racist card. And I have no doubts at all that promoting liberalism was a 1%-strategy to invoke the fascist backlash, the Davos strategy with Blair and Obama puppeting.
And as a result good people fighting for justice are lumped in with wishy-washy liberals as SJWs because putting people down who care has been legitimised by Davos-liberalism (or better Davos neoliberalism).
So I am EJW and I have fought for education throughout my working life – often against wishy-washy Liberals.
In my first job I moved up the ladder, I wasn’t Red Bill then (spiritual Bill but no Buddhist Bill in sight), I was anti-racist Bill. My political ideals became communist as a consequence of understanding the real source of racism but that took a while because I was alienated by a group of Socialist Workers who put ideals before the black kids they were supposed to be fighting for. At a mixed race school (majority black) I learnt that all the kids wanted was qualifications; but they didn’t get qualifications because there were so many other problems in the school, one of which was the SWP ideal (policy) of trying to turn education into a revolutionary battleground. Because I stood up for education against these idealists, it was the only time in my life that management and being EJW were in sync.
My next job took me into the union because the headmaster was ruining the school. It was the only way I saw of curbing the power of this tinpot bully. I failed of course, and being union lost promotion. But I was standing for education, and it helped me learn even more how little the education hierarchy outside the school cared for education.
But this was state education, I lost career but I could still educate.
I moved out of the UK, and worked in Botswana for the state. Educating the kids was still my fight but the state politics were not. As in the UK there was much that the state called education which had nothing to do with it. But I had to accept the system or leave, I was not there to fight the system. It was definitely not the missionary work Crown Agents sold it as – I knew that before I started anyway.
At this point I went private, I needed money for my old age. The administrations of these private schools were a disgrace, and standing up for education got me the sack twice. In the first case circumstances dictated I had to go. But the problem lay with the administration who shafted me. They allowed the students to dictate “sacking”, this was not the only school who allowed this but perhaps they were the worst. The administration recruited me to a difficult job – be head of department and get top grades. In maths terms this meant “teach creative maths – problem solving” to students who were hard-working “here’s one do 10” but not creative. This was IB so they regularly got grade 5 but didn’t get 6 and 7. This required engaging the problem-solving brain of students half-way through a two-year course in which a respected teacher had been giving them “1 to do 10”. The students baulked at this but as I was doing the admin bidding I assumed I was getting support. For two months I followed previously successful teaching strategies that could enable top grades. Meanwhile the students had been complaining and I had not been properly informed of the lie of the land. Basically the admin should have put the students in their place and tell them to knuckle down, I asked for this to happen. At the end of two months or so I realised I had been thrown under a bus. I had been isolated and the student frustration was being levelled at me. I then made efforts to “do 1 here’s 10” but it was too late. There was a parents’ meeting which I wasn’t invited to, and I was pushed out. I was still HOD but taken off the top class. I had a good relationship with all but 2 of the year 11 class, but because I had been taken off the top class the flood gates could be opened. Eventually phone whispers started, I guessed where they came from but didn’t know, and eventually I was taken off the year 11 class. By this time it was March/April, and they agreed to pay me a year of a two-year contract. I waited for the money. I got a phone call from the Principal after my contract had been terminated asking me to mark project work because no-one could do it. I told them my contract was terminated and they withheld my money. This administration was so corrupt they were prepared to use extortion to keep their jobs. Being private sector there was no support such as unions or department of education, I was completely isolated. This is a school that no teacher should go to but in international school teaching there is no protection. Despite my efforts my relationship with the year 12 had completely broken down because of the initial admin instructions and because I followed their admin requests; I had to go. It might have worked if the parents got on my side, but the admin would never allow me to talk straight to the parents because it would then mean their jobs would have been under threat. If I had been used to private sector I would have been expecting the shaft before the start instead of believing what they said. The sad thing was that there were 2 grade 12 students who had grade 7 potential but they were not used to getting things wrong and having to puzzle them out – problem-solving.
The second sacking occurred because of a personal problem with a depressive Principal. The work was hard but the students were mostly excellent. The Principal had agreed to do two jobs, be Principal of my school and also be academic director of 4 similar schools; he should not have agreed to do this but career and money drove him. To begin with we worked well together because I did part of his job when he was away academically-directing – he had asked me unofficially. But I never acted without his say-so, so this meant a lot of emails. Things went downhill after an appraisal. He criticised me unreasonably. I knew appraisal procedure through unions so I got back to him. He made some changes, and then I wrote to his line boss and the business side of the school company asking for my objections to be put on file with the appraisal. Colleagues told me that he had put everyone down unreasonably in the appraisals.
After this appraisal conflict his depressive nature kicked in, and a process of victimisation started. At the end of the first year of a two-year contract he called me into his office and told me that he was terminating my contract. No grounds were given. Soon after there was a meeting to discuss exam results, and whether students should be failed. My results were all good comparing favourably with all present. There could be no pretence concerning competence.
Human resources of the finance side of the company called me in. They wanted to pay me 11 months of 12 months, I laughed pleasantly. The HR woman was checking me out, and asked me to see the big boss. By this stage for personal reasons I needed to return to the UK so it was fortuitous that the second year was not happening. The big boss asked me about my relationship with the Principal as he had reports that the students liked me. I told him that I felt the Principal had issues but I felt it was up to the big boss to investigate – otherwise it would be seen as sour grapes. I left his office with a promise that he would get me a job in country but outside the company. For personal reasons I declined, and he said he would try to employ me in the UK – never happened. A couple of weeks later the Principal had been fired; I have no idea why but a finance-side friend had said he wouldn’t last. A very bitter experience.
As an EJW I did not belong in such a sector. I recall colleagues backing away from confrontations that I didn’t. They taught well but knew their limits. As an EJW I didn’t know these limits, and I didn’t belong there. I went into the private sector for the wrong reasons – money, and this in part (half) enabled me to retire early. But as EJW I should have stayed out of private sector.
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