29 November 2007

That Teddy Bear

Two claims I have heard:

1. "She ought to have known". Really? I mean, maybe she stepped over a well-known line that anyone out there ought to have known, but I'm not going to take the Sudanese authorities' word for it. There might be something quite different going on.

2. "If you go to live among barbarians, you run the risk of being treated barbarically". Normally, I would tend to agree with that, but I'm not convinced we treat teachers any better in this country. Not that we flog them, but if you combine the ever-present risk of being drummed out of your career for some political incorrectness at least as obscure as the proper naming of soft toys, with the physical risk of being killed, maimed or driven clinically insane by violent pupils that you're not allowed to defend yourself from, the overall risks may be lower in Sudan, despite the occasional flogging or lynching. It makes more sense to turn it around, and say that, just as there are various hazards associated with being a deep-sea fisherman or a coal miner, anyone choosing a career of teaching has to be aware of the occupational hazard of being unjustly had up for corrupting the morals of the young, whatever country you work in.

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