Teaching is something I have absolutely no inclination to do, but I occasionally glance at news stories about the profession, because my mother was a teacher for years and I got to hear all about it. That, and sometimes the headlines are outrageous. Invariably with online articles, there's comments too. Hilarious comments.

Did you know teachers are lazy? According to parents, they're lazy. Teachers do nothing, all day long. They don't have to stand at the front of a room and instruct children on the things they need to survive in society, no! Teachers are basically sitting at their desk eating bonbons and flipping through magazines.

Another wonderful myth is the one about "holidays". More contentious is that teachers get paid during school holidays! Of course they get paid - because they're supposed to be marking and planning lessons. If they're good enough to get all that out of the way quickly, they get some time to relax. Some people think they don't need this time, but I'd say those people have never tried to manage thirty-five children at once.

There was brooding resentment in the comments to one article that teachers are not at the schools before 8am to mind children. Even better: These parents also expect the teachers to mind their children until 6pm. That's ten hours. Would anyone do this job for ten hours? I don't think so. Around here people would refuse to do any job for ten hours, no matter how good it could possibly be. The real reason teachers should stay until 6pm turned out to be... Because it's just unfair that they should finish work at 3:30!

Apparently schools do not teach important things. Mathematics is not important and neither is English. These are both considered to be a cruel waste of time, making schools something akin to Dickensian workhouses. Assigning homework is apparently nasty and mean, too (because parents then have to make the children do it). What teachers get praised for is things like taking their class out of school, and down into the city to watch a victory parade for the local rugby team. Apparently that is an important life experience, because it teaches children that you can get out of anything providing your excuse is a dominant cultural force.

Finally, according to many parents, teachers are overpaid. This explains why there are people lining up at the teacher's college clamouring to join the noble, highly paid profession of teaching, complete with it's luxurious holidays and no need for real work.

So, thanks to a sizeable group of parents who have the time to spend an entire day discussing the matter online, we see that teachers are overpaid, have too much time off, don't do any real work, and don't teach important things... Like the meaning of "hypocrisy".

Apparently there is an education crisis. Children are not learning. They have no interest in learning. I cannot imagine why this could possibly be.

UPDATE: There are now new standards on the three R's, and teachers and parents have issues with them! Except... The parents are, as ever, worried about the wrong things: Would you like to know more?