What would you do (as a teacher) if you weren’t afraid?

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I am a salaryman. There I said it. I might like to pretend I'm free, but I'm not really. Every year when I come to teach about the EU I tell my class that I could walk out of the door right now and go and live and work anywhere I liked within Europe. But it's a sham really. I know I couldn't. I depend on my monthly wage every bit as much as a junkie depends on his next hit.
This unpleasant fact makes me less adventurous than I might like to be, less willing to speak my mind, more careful, a little less honest. If someone higher up the food chain tells me to do something I must do it uncomplainingly, feigning enthusiasm. Such is the lot of those of us who haven't yet won the lottery.
But I can't complain: I've worked for good people over the years. I should think I can count on the fingers of one hand the occasions when I'd like to have told a superior to stick their request where the sun don't shine. That's not to deny that it's infuriating when it happens. On balance though muddling through has served me well. I can think of a recent occasion when I saw someone throw their toys out of the pram and storm off never to be seen again. It might have given them a frisson of enjoyment at the time, but they've lost out in the end and are longer in a position to make any changes let alone the single change that they had got their blood up about.
So there's a lot to be said for 'taking it on the chin', gritting your teeth and getting on with it. Life's too short to worry about things you can't change. Someone tweeted this the other day, and there's a lot of sense in it:
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One day maybe, when I've got less to lose, I'll tell people how it is without fear or favour. But for now convention and pragmatism - call it fear if you like - restrains me. I leave you with the lyrics of one of my favourite songs:

There's a man I meet walks up our street
He's a worker for the council
Has been twenty years
And he takes no lip off nobody
And litter off the gutter
Puts it in a bag
And never seems to mutter
And he packs his lunch in a sunblest bag
The children call him bogie
He never lets on
But I know 'cause he once told me
He let me know a secret about the money in his kitty
He's gonna buy a dinghy
Gonna call her dignity

And I'll sail her up the west coast
Through villages and towns
I'll be on my holidays
They'll be doing their rounds
They'll ask me how I got her I'll say I saved my money
They'll say isn't she pretty that ship called dignity

And I'm telling this story
In a faraway scene
Sipping down raki
And reading maynard keynes
And I'm thinking about home and all that means
And a place in the winter for dignity
And I'll sail her up the west coast
Through villages and towns
I'll be on my holidays
They'll be doing their rounds
They'll ask me how I got her I'll say I saved my money
They'll say isn't she pretty that ship called dignity

And I'm thinking about home
And I'm thinking about faith
And I'm thinking about work
And I'm thinking about how good it would be
To be here some day

On a ship called dignity
A ship called dignity
That ship


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