Home' Teacher : August 2011 Contents 74 teacher august 2011
We channelled Ernest Hemingway,
whose exam writing effort on the prompt,
‘Is it more important to be true to yourself
than to conform to the expectations of oth-
ers?’ scored badly even though the grading
criteria required something earnest, long-
winded and predictable.
We brought you the handiest, dandi-
est advice ever on memo writing – that’s
meemo, not memo – in six easy steps.
We got on our high horse about lan-
guage, m isused, abused, jargonised and just
plain fancy schmancy, and for some reason
– a nd with apologies – never quite got off
We, like, literally tore our hair out, not
to put too fine a point on it, about clichés.
We addressed the scourge of teachers –
ne wfangled technology – from the no -longer-
humble photocopier to apps in the cloud.
We googled ‘Google is making us stupid’
– and found that Google is making us stupid.
We reported on actual, real research into
new year ’s resolutions.
We got serious about ANZAC Day,
cyberbullying, quality teaching, the ethics
of scientific research and fabricated data,
Both the Melbourne Press Club, in its
2008 Quill Awards, and the Australian
Council of Deans of Education, in its
Excellence in Education Journalism Awards
in 2006, 2008 and 2010, recognised the
‘The last word’ has always been fun
to write, which hopefully means it’s been
enjoyable to read. We’ve addressed topical
issues in a humorous way, hopefully, to pro-
voke thought through laughter.
Thanks to contributors to ‘The last
word’ over the years: John Collier, Peter
D’Angelo, Bev Hewlett, Rebecca Leech,
Cynthia May, David Rish, Catherine Scott,
Mick Wilkinson and Robert Yen.
It’s been quite a ride. T
This month’s last Last Word was written
by Steve Holden, Editor of Teacher. His lat-
est book is Somebody to Love published by
University of Queensland Press.
This is the last ‘Last word,’ which found its
spot here on the back page of Teacher in
2004, and quickly found some fans.
We covered flagpoles, after Bre ndan
Nelson – when he was Commonwealth
Minister for Education in 2005 – made it
a general funding condition that all schools
have a functioning flagpole, and fly the
Australian flag. We even proposed a flag
inspectorate, to check for schools taking the
money but sneakily flying the flag incognito
in very tall cupboards. ‘The last word’ has
always tried to be useful.
We proposed the Commonwealth gov-
ernment establish a Headscarf and Other
Bad Stuff Kids Wear to School Inspectorate
HOBSKWSI, pronounced ‘hob-squizzy
after Liberal parliamentarian Bronwyn
Bishop claimed on Channel Seven television
in 2005 that, ‘The headscarf is being used as
a sort of iconic item of defiance.’
We introduced Fergus McNikkleNakkle,
Sonja Onya and Bonga Binga Small Good
School to the world.
To celebrate World Teachers’ Day, we
suggested you dropped what-I ’d-really-like-
for -World-Teachers-Day hints that you’d
really like an assurance that all schools
and systems arou nd the world will imple-
ment the UNESCO Recommendation on
the Status of Teachers to bring the working
conditions of teachers and the learni ng envi-
ron ment of students up to required stand-
ards, as agreed back in 1966.
We hoped you jumped for joy with your
300,000 -plus colleagues across Australia
on World Teachers Day in 2007, although
your jump was probably not as big as the
jump by 600,248,012 jumping people who
combined on World Jump Day to do one
great big jump in an attempt to drive planet
earth into a new orbit. And if you think
World Jump Day is something we made up,
think again: it really happened, at 11:39am,
Greenwich Mean Time, in 2006 and – gasp
– the earth did have a tiny little wobble. We
hope you jump for joy on World Teachers
Day this year, on 28 October.
The last word
sTeve holden faRewells
‘the last woRd.’
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