“Help! I’m a Teacher – Get Me Out of Here!”
Why Reality TV Shows Can't Scare Teachers
Hello? Is that the BBC? I’ve got an idea for a new reality show. Well, we take a group of normal, well educated people… No, obviously not celebrities! We dump them in a hostile environment with savage inhabitants and then present them with challenges they could never anticipate and which nothing in their training has prepared them for.
What’s that? It’s been done before? No listen, here’s where it gets interesting. Everything about this really is real. Oh, and did I mention that it’s very cheap? No need to fly the participants out to exotic locations like Pacific islands, or Australian rainforests. Yes I thought that would get your attention.
Here’s how it will work. The contestants won’t be famous, they will be real teachers, and of course they’ll have families, real mortgages, and car loans. That’ll make it easy to pile on more and more humiliating ordeals without them being able to give up too easily. If they do give up they’ll have to resign and lose their job—maybe even their sanity. Every meltdown will be captured on camera.The last one to crack will be the winner and be given early retirement and an enhanced pension.
We’ll film it in a real school—we’ve looked at several locations and quite frankly we’re spoilt for choice, they’re all so disgusting. The playing fields look like the Somme, doors and windows are hanging off, there’s asbestos in the ceilings, and they are infested with ants, bees, rats… That’s the hostile environment sorted. Well, except for deciding which decrepit school to choose. The savage inhabitants I mentioned are of course the pupils. Most of them have ASBOs and if they don’t their parents do. We’ll make the teachers take two classes at a time—up to sixty pupils at a time—and cover classes they aren’t prepared for. And—here’s the good bit—we won’t need an expensive production team or focus group to set the challenges: the pupils will do it. The average class of 15- year-olds could come up with much more terrifying ordeals than sticking your head in a bucket of eels. They are experts at torturing teachers, and often armed to the teeth!
I have to admit we’ve got a few glitches to sort out. Our pilot programme showed the teachers are proving much tougher than the celebs in all those other reality programmes. No matter how odd the challenges we’ve set, it seems they’ve already had to deal with the very same situations in their day to day teaching.
We’ve tried depriving them of heat and electricity, and setting off the fire alarm every half an hour or so, but only on rainy days. We made the computers unreliable, the systems crash. We made them work for Head teachers who used to be estate agents and who have no idea how to run a school. We deprived them of breaks, denied them food at lunch time, kept them so busy they didn't even have time for comfort breaks. They hardly seemed to notice. To them it was just another day at the chalk face.
We made them teach pupils who were known to be violent, high on drugs, or severely emotionally disturbed and still they turned up to take more punishment. We gave them huge workloads, contradictory instructions and impossible deadlines, but still they battled on.
It’s as if this happens all the time! But don't worry if Year Nine pupils can't break them, the education authorities will come up with something that will reduce them to gibbering wrecks—after all, that’s what the government—I mean the viewers—want, isn’t it?