Teaching Thing

The teaching debate in Denmark has gone very wrong. I am not really sure what is going on. I am keeping up with the news but there are mysterious cultural unwritten-rule things going on and I cannot keep up.

Whatever. As if people in Denmark are enfranchised to the extent that they can make a difference by understanding what is going on around them(!)

One thing I have been understanding very clearly is that the teachers think that fighting the “Whole Day School” plan will gain traction with the rest of the community. How wrong can a group of people be? The Gov would like wrap-around childcare provision but provided by schools. They would also like more lessons for students. And so (and the details are not clear), they plan to keep children in school until their parents knock off from work. Whether this would be in a daycare club, with finger painting and clapping games or in double maths, remains to be seen.

My take is that the children on Denmark could do with a few more hours in school. And these hours should be used on learning stuff (social, academic, creative, whatever). But this requires more teachers. For example, they could say that children need to be in school until 4pm, so that means they could have art and music for the older kids. Or maths and Danish for the little ones. But just to say “Hey, teachers, we think you are lazy as fuck, stay at work until 4pm,” how is that useful to anyone?

And if I were a parent with a job until 4pm, I would probably like the plan too. I wish battles would be picked with care.

One thing I am not understanding completely is the threat of a lock-out. The employers and unions have been trying to work out terms of employment. The employers (the gov), have apparently driven the talks off the road on purpose, for tactical reasons. Then because there is no agreement, they have threatened to say that all union employees must stay home on a particular day, with no pay. But they have to make up the time in the summer.


In my culture, if talks deadlock then the UNION threatens to withdraw labour, no mention of making up the time.

How is it that the Gov can insist that we “strike”, so that we learn our lesson about arguing and meekly agree to work more for the same pay?

And even though it’s an anti-strike, where the Gov insists we do not teach children all day, the people are interpreting it as an actual strike where lazy teachers make poor parents miss a day of work to care for their children. Hence the tactics. It’s like Aikido: if you strike you lose.

Now I have no idea why I am in a union. They are powerless against this juggernaut and their hamfisted attempts to keep our pay and conditions the same, are turning the population against us. It seems like a monumental waste of money. But then maybe I am falling for the same trick as the rest of the people.

One thought on “Teaching Thing

  1. I think the best hope for the teachers is

    1) The government seems to be overextending itself, and the alliance between government and employers tends to be described in the media as a ham-fisted power grab, not least with the lock-out threat (lock-outs are a fairly common weapon in labour conflicts). The government’s “we do this because we can” attitude is unprecedented, not least in an onstensibly labour-friendly Social Democratic government and is seen by many in the government parties’ own respective hinterlands as a brazen abuse of power.

    2) Some people really don’t like the prospects of an all-day school. School + after school club/fritidshjem is one thing, but keeping children in school 37 hours a week is something else completely, even in this country. Trying to mobilize people against this is probably a good idea.


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