I don't really know where to start with this, and I guess that's why it's taken me this long to write on this forum. I am a mixture of shocked and horrified by the events at IST, most notably Mr Jones's dismissal, and he has my full support. But first things first...
I graduated from IST in 2006, but I was taught by Mr Jones for 6 years, from year 8 through to year 13. He was an excellent teacher who always encouraged me and helped me with my studies. I learnt a great deal and this has helped me through to university. What a student learns from Mr Jones will continue to help you well beyond exams, whether you realize it or not. Maybe not specific historical dates, but his preparation for exams and advice on how to study and make notes are skills that he helps his students develop and they are useful no matter what one goes on to do later in life. Mr Jones is also an incredible asset when it comes to university applications. He was very significant in helping me choose LSE and to get in and he helped me change to a dual degree once I got to London with his recommendation to the admissions office. He managed to make me adore history (so much that I added it to my degree here at LSE), and manages to make us see its importance outside the classroom. He makes it come alive, with his re-enacting of the Treaty of Versailles, the propaganda films he had us make to understand what went into the Nazi methods of coercing the people, and countless other role plays that we were involved in during my time at the LSE. He manages to make things rememberable (I still remember all the dates of the Treaties that led up to WWI and all the short term causes etc... they are permanately drilled in to my head!). Mr Jones devoted hours of his time to helping us with our coursework and extended essays, giving us advice and guidance throughout the summers and outside the classroom. He was devoted in a way few teachers are. He also had a way of making things interesting and stretch beyound the conventional methods of teaching. He taught me IT skills, notably with powerpoint, publisher and website building, which are fundamentally important to most of us, even if we are studying subjects like History and Government where most time is spent in the library. He encouraged us to be creative and imaginitive, to think outside the box, to not just regurgitate what we read and heard somewhere. He encouraged intellectual discussion and debate in the classroom and after. He also taught us a little about politics, and yes, maybe he helped sway some of us to the left, but was always fair and didn't try to impose a point of view on us. In addition to this, as I think I showed with my example of how influential he was in me picking the LSE, Mr Jones was a teacher that cared about his students and was able to provide them with advice about their studies and guidance that many of us, such as Hannah and myself, needed.
His dismissal makes no sense. I don't understand how the school can get rid of such an incredible teacher, such a gifted one and one that was clearly well liked within the school, as I think the student's t-shirt protest seems to demonstrate. And I can only begin to understand how scared and angry the students must feel, especially when they were asked to remove the t-shirts. Although not on the same lines, here at LSE I was asked to not participate in a protest against Guantanamo Bay, which involved me wearing a orange-jumpsuit and re-enacting the troubles there, because of the fact that I had to wear something which expressed my point of view in such a visual way, and I felt hurt and upset that someone was trying to reign me in, make me not express my opinions. Similarly, the students at IST must feel the same way... they must feel stifled. That being said, I do understand why, at the same time, the teachers asked them to remove the t-shirts, and why the teachers are not coming out in open support of Mr Jones on this forum. The students have to remember not to get dragged down in something, and they should use the appropriate channels to express their opinions and remember that they need to work, and as a group, the students need to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, protests such as the T-shirt one, or even my example here at LSE, make people uncomfortable and lead to one not being taken as seriously. It's not necessarily the way things should be, but it is true.
I guess this is going a bit off topic. More than anything, I wanted to leave a comment on this forum to say that I do stand firmly behind Mr Jones, as I do truely believe that his dismissal is unfair. I hope that he gets reinstated, and that this mess gets sorted out, because Mr Jones really is one of the best teachers IST has and ever will have.