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John Simkin

International School Toulouse - Injustice

111 posts in this topic

Mr Simkin, I cannot seem to open the above file. Is there an expected reason for this?

Hannah

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The image is also on the Spartacus page for the IST. It really is quite amazing how many of the original members of staff have left since our Principal took over.

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In the words of Martin Luther King "In the end we will not remember the words of our enemies but the appalling silence of our friends".

Edited by Tanya Carlile

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Tanya

I have to say I agree. Although as you so rightly point out, that seems wholly irrelevant.

The 'businessmen' not listening- as elitist and pompous as it is, does not surprise me. What is disconcerting is how they see themselves as businessmen - are we to conclude that money and power is the same thing as children's education and the lives of many? Evidently.

What surprises me and, whether logical or not, actually hurts me, is the distinct lack of action or words from any of the secondary school teachers. That, I would not have expected and that I find unsettling. Of course they want to keep their jobs and pay their bills. Nobody is suggesting otherwise. Has it crossed their minds that Mr Jones wanted that too?

If there is far more to the incidents, then I suggest they stop hiding and come out with it. Not everyone is involved in the court case, and the excuse that absolutely everyone involved is restricted by 'French Law' is becoming old.

In my French school, I had a teacher who found it acceptable to throw my personal possessions around the class and onto the floor from a great height in front of the rest of the pupils. Who thought it was ok to spend fifteen minutes of class time instructing a child to use a bin as a toilet when they asked to be excused from class. Who threw a child out of the classroom by their ear when they tried to answer a question without putting their hand up. Who mocked me when I made a language mistake in class after being in France for 4 months. Who shouted, shrieked and made a huge scene in public because a child hadn't put their coat on when walking back to school after using the library. That teacher was not sacked. I was told at the time that in France, this behaviour is part of the normal disciplining system of French schools and that I should stuff my soft English ideas because I was in France now, and what was more, French Law restricts the sacking of teachers (and any other employee for that matter.) And under this same French Law, one of the best teachers many of us have ever known has been sacked for photocopying a dismissal letter.

Please, do not talk to me about French Law.

Something doesn't add up. And yes, I care about my old school. As the photo supplied by Mr Simkin (and Adrian) shows, I was at that school longer than most of current teachers. I was there before they were and I have seen the school grow from a wasteland field to what it is now. I was there for my entire secondary education and my whole future has been changed because of the doors it opened for me. The potential of any other students to feel the same as I once did is now being put in serious jeopardy. I am absolutely fuming mad at the mismanagement, disloyalty and disrespect that this absolute debacle has brought to light - and will not stop posting on here until something is done to resolve it.

Edited by Hannah Thompson

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In the words of Martin Luther King "In the end we will not remember the words of our enemies but the appalling silence of our friends".

Great quote from a great man. Very appropriate given the silence of your former colleagues. What they fail to grasp is that if Les Albiston and his cronies are successful, they are likely to suffer the same sort of victimization.

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I think correspondents who are so critical of Richard's fellow teachers from the relative security of posts in state schools should keep in mind the particular difficulties involved in "taking a stand" in a place like IST. I know myself from personal experience how much the publically-expressed support of colleagues, parents, board members and parents can mean to a teacher who has been the victim of such unfair treatment. I urge Ricahrd's colleagues to show their support, but I do understand how difficult this is to do, and I wish some of the people writing here would show just a little more understanding...

Edited by mike tribe

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It's easy for the financially independent or legally protected to take the moral high ground, but the pressures on the ordinary teacher at the chalkface can be quite harsh..

The logic of the posting above would be that I should not say anything because I'm not at the school and will thereby not face the direct consequences. I should definitely not remind Richards colleagues, his friends and work mates, to do a decent thing. It's better to just remain quiet and...

Sorry Mike! I don't think that is a very good strategy. It's really important to support Richard and his family in all possible ways. He needs support from his friends, colleagues, students, parents, partners in projects, etc... We owe him that!

It's extremely important that his colleagues ask for explanations. They should be able to work at a school where they may ask questions, where they can critisize and demand changes if necessary without risking loosing their work. This is one of the most fundamental rights we have. This is a right we have to be willing to fight for.

The only contribution I can give, sitting far away in Sweden, is to show my unrestricted support to Richard and to ask, ask and ask again for some kind of explanation to this situation. The biggest problem is that IST don't think I deserve an answer. The board of IST is totally quiet.

I have worked with Richard several years in different projects. He has always showed the greatest respect to me and all of us that has got to know him in this position. I just assume that his colleagues have seen exactly the same thing - so why don't they react? They must see that something is wrong, terribly wrong in the reasons given for his dismissal and they must know that he deserves their support...

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Anders, I suppose that Mike was simply describing what is the situation of an International School like. I agree with you that the only thing we can do is to insist in supporting Richard in any way we can do. From a personal and moral point of view, I cannot give up trying to help Richard and his family. He deserves it.

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They must see that something is wrong, terribly wrong in the reasons given for his dismissal and they must know that he deserves their support...

I am afraid that teachers often make very poor trade unionists, but for his immediate colleagues to show so little support for Richard really beggars belief. If they had one voice and a rather more mature conception of what "professionalism" can mean than they have hitherto shown, then this dispute would be over very quickly indeed.

I, like all my E-Help colleagues, will continue to offer Richard all the support I can.

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We, (Ben and Matthew Arscott) have benefited enormously from the four years Mr Jones taught us. Although we both had to have an interest in history, our grandmother being a history teacher, Mr Jones’ enthusiasm and energy as a teacher certainly confirmed our enjoyment of the subject and ensured that all our best work during those four years was done for history. It is also credit to Mr Jones that both of us are looking at humanity degrees involving lots of history and that I (Ben) have two history GCSEs.

As a credit to Mr Jones as a teacher: his lessons were interesting, large amounts of extra work were done; 14 year olds spending hours working on minute detail of “hover buttons” for websites with essays of history already on them. Additionally from standard essay writing and technology, debating and speaking skills were continuously improved through the extensive variety in teaching methods. The unique Versailles experience managed to give students insight and enjoyment into one of history’s most important but driest events. When entering his classroom with the prominent Welsh flag, tributes to communism, Ali G on the wall and the unforgettable ATBQ hat, in an utterly unique way the past was bought alive. Continually excellent results show the boring stuff was also taught and few people who experience Mr Jones cannot recite, faultlessly, his acronym-full essay writing system or his simple but thorough source work strategy.

While history remains one of his greatest assets his ability to stimulate the “non-historians” in Theory of Knowledge was often unprecedented. Combining politics, philosophy and history we were given a glimpse at the complexities of ‘historical’ knowledge: the advantages, disadvantages and often the sheer ridiculous. Teaching TOK I can imagine being a nightmare, with such abstract ideas that are inherent to the subject matter, I don’t think I have seen many teachers teach it so persuasively, enthusiastically let alone interestingly.

Not living in Toulouse anymore we are unable to comment on the circumstances, as we don’t fully understand them. However we can appreciate the school is in a unique position, consciously losing its greatest asset by losing Mr Jones. As well as being a great teacher who invoked a genuine interest in his subject and consequently managed to make students do extensive work upon it, Mr Jones pioneered the school’s unique technological position, which made the laptop extravagance worthwhile.

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I've only recently met Richard Jones-Nerzic but can safely say I am astonished at the goings on at IST. I enjoyed my visit to the school and the (as I thought) convivial atmosphere. Richard was the central figure in the conference I attended and it is a sad day for education when someone with his commitment and intellect can be railroaded out of a job. I am very surprised to learn that Les Albiston can behave in this way, as he hosted the meetings of the forum and seemed committed to the work of the group. As a fellow principal, I suppose I shouldn't be taken aback by this type of behaviour as I know that the job can bring out the worst in people - I am still shocked nevertheless. IST will be worse off without Richard. They don't deserve to have him reinstated! Good luck in your next post.

Edited by Andy Schofield

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My wife and I first had the pleasure of meeting Richard Jones-Nerzic at a parent-teacher conference at IST in 2001. We were both highly impressed by Richard’s dedication, enthusiasm and capability in assessing the potential of a thirteen-year-old student. This first impression was reinforced over the five years he taught our son. He made history fun to study, and he was always ready to help his students, including during the holidays. His skill in the use of information technology as an aid to teaching has been recognised and praised by educators throughout Europe, if not worldwide. His personal skills and reputation have helped enhance the reputation of the International School of Toulouse as an advanced place of learning. The continued success of his pupils at IGCSE and in the IB attests to his skills as a teacher. The fact that our son (see his post) is now studying History and Politics at Sheffield University is, I’m sure, mainly due to the influence of Richard Jones-Nerzic .

For most of the past thirty years, we have been expatriates. We have had the opportunity to meet and work with a significant number of teachers during this time, both during the time my wife taught in an international school in the Netherlands and through the education of our two sons at various schools in the UK, the USA and France. We can state with all sincerity that in our opinion Richard Jones-Nerzic is one of the best teachers we have ever met, not only in the International School of Toulouse but in all the countries where we have lived and worked.

We therefore find it incredulous that the management of IST should want to lose such an asset to the school and to its students. One would have thought, on the contrary, that the management would have done everything within its power to retain such a person. To dismiss someone of Richard Jones-Nerzic’s calibre, to deprive his students of his skills and encouragement as they enter the final run-up in preparation for their IGCSE and IB seems to us to be extremely hard to justify.

Although we no longer have children studying at the school, we would still like to do all we can to help Richard Jones-Nerzic and his colleague Tanya Carlile regain their positions at IST. We have written letters to each of the school board members expressing our concerns, and would strongly encourage the parents of all past and present students to do the same; if you feel that your career may be put in jeopardy or that your child will be victimised at school as a result of writing these letters, then do so anonymously. I also hope and pray that Richard and Tanya’s colleagues will find the strength to unite and support them in their quest for justice. The important thing is that the members of the board should get the message that the school community as a whole are upset by what happened to Richard and Tanya, and that it is not just the view of a small minority.

Above all, I would ask the parents of all current students to support their parent delegates in all that they do. Remember that they are not professional negotiators, they are dedicated volunteers who are currently working under extremely stressful and often frustrating conditions for the sake of the school community as a whole. Please help them, please support them, please show them that you appreciate the fact that they have had the courage to step forward and to act on your behalf.

Edited by Alan Webb

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For most of the past thirty years, we have been expatriates. We have had the opportunity to meet and work with a significant number of teachers during this time, both during the time my wife taught in an international school in the Netherlands and through the education of our two sons at various schools in the UK, the USA and France. We can state with all sincerity that in our opinion Richard Jones-Nerzic is one of the best teachers we have ever met, not only in the International School of Toulouse but in all the countries where we have lived and worked.

We therefore find it incredulous that the management of IST should want to lose such an asset to the school and to its students. One would have thought, on the contrary, that the management would have done everything within its power to retain such a person. To dismiss someone of Richard Jones-Nerzic’s calibre, to deprive his students of his skills and encouragement as they enter the final run-up in preparation for their IGCSE and IB seems to us to be extremely hard to justify.

They cannot of course justify this action as the reasons for these staff dismissals have nothing to do with education. Nor are they in the best interests of the students. Les Albiston’s main strategy throughout this dispute has been to play for time. I fear that his strategy has been successful and as a result Richard and Tanya will not be reinstated.

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How can you gauge whether he has been successful or not? I haven't heard any new developments from the IST in a while; is it this silence that you are referring to?

Hannah

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