Many ex-teachers find themselves in prison, in mental institutions or on the streets. Finding the readjustment to civilian life difficult, they seek solace in alcohol, drugs and, perhaps most worryingly, supply teaching.
Gary Penchant, a former geography teacher from Ipswich, is one such casualty of this hidden war. Highly decorated with three outstanding observations from ONSTED, Gary had long dreamed of leaving teaching to start his own business, selling dyspraxia-friendly software to cash-strapped local authorities.
The dream however, soon became a nightmare. Gary explained, ‘I was institutionalised. As a teacher I’d lived a regimented life, and I just couldn’t turn that off when I quit. Every day was the same. I would wake up, put on an ASDA easy-iron shirt and a shapeless pair of chinos, get in my filthy Nissan Micra and drive to my old school. I would sit under my old classroom window all day, shouting things about reclaimed land and earthquakes. The funny thing is it was some of the best teaching I have ever done.’
Gary went on (long-windedly), ‘The truth is I have seen things and done things that I am ashamed of. Things that have scarred me. When you have looked into the eyes of an EAL student from Afghanistan, seeing him pity you as you do a fucking rap about the features of an ox-bow lake, you realise you have experienced things that most rational people in society simply cannot relate to.'
Gary is not alone. Thousands of ex-teachers struggle daily to find an outlet for their apathy and sarcasm. This is why the government are launching a new scheme, set to allow teachers become troops. Called Cannon Fodder First, the scheme will mean that teachers with no military training, experience or physical fitness will be (literally) parachuted into war zones to facilitate behaviour for democracy and good outcomes for all.
Charlie Condor, Development Manager at Cannon Fodder First, commented, ‘We do not foresee the need for teachers to receive any specific training before being deployed in the field of combat. Their experience of defusing potentially violent situations with powerful techniques like Restorative Justice should make them an asset to our guys on the ground.’
To qualify, candidates need to have a proven track record of shouting in a chaotic environment and must have seen Saving Private Ryan at least 10 times. History teachers are at an obvious advantage.
|Ex-teachers facilitate a restorative conference in Helmand Provence|