See Me! For Vandalising The Language


If anyone had any concerns over the state of education in Ireland before yesterday, they were duly confirmed at the Teachers Union of Ireland meeting in Cork.  This placard, brandished here by an Enya lookalike, erroneously and humiliatingly introduces the word “vandaling” into the English language.  It would have been an open goal for Batt O’Keeffe, if only he’d spotted it.  The TUI said the government’s cuts would take education back 50 years – to a time when spelling a straightforward word like “vandalising” (or even “vandalizing”) would be second nature to most pupils, never mind teachers, presumably.  No doubt we’ll find out the identity of this placard’s author over the coming days, but if it is a school teacher, they’d be well advised to ring in sick and lie low for the next couple of weeks.  Or maybe they should just be made to write it out a hundred times.

14 thoughts on “See Me! For Vandalising The Language

  1. It’s the cut-backs… we can’t afford to put as many letters in our words anymore… “IS” today “ING” tomorrow! … but all joking aside… we won’t see the true effects of the education cutbacks for at least a decade

  2. I’m not a union member or have any vested interest, only in common sense. With a bit of basic research you would also have noticed that this was the second day in a row that this placard was published in a national newspaper, but with a different person holding it. Clearly it was ironic but if you want to pursue a screw teachers platform then knock yourself out, you’ll find you’ve plenty of bad company there.

  3. David – please, why not explain the context of the ‘irony’ that I and my other correspondents, all of whom, I’m sure, have read Wilde, are patently missing here, then? For one thing, the placard isn’t stand-alone funny in any other respect than it being a humiliating spelling error. For another, my most basic research hasn’t uncovered an example of anyone in the government, including Batt O’Keefe, using the word ‘vandaling’, it only turns up on Bebo pages and the like – was it a ‘test’ to see if Mr O’Keeffe was ‘wide awake this morning’, or some such? As for “screw teachers”; I have a child in school myself, and I have a huge interest in the profession being exactly that – professional. Making their points clearly, succinctly and intelligently would do for a start, instead of [what you suggest are] attempts at humour which are wide open to misinterpretation. In the context you suggest, the placard and its grumpily earnest wielder only come across as weakly sarcastic, speaking to the minister, and the rest of us, as if we’re all the same age – six.

  4. Ok so no one here knows for sure whether it was deliberate or not…. But I have to admit, if I was forced to guess I wouldn’t be plumping for the signwriter here…because (a) while I wasn’t at the conference, all reports suggest the mood was incredibly hostile and most most definitely wouldn’t have lent itself to nudge-and-wink jocularity and (b) I see no hint of knowing wit on Enya’s face in the photo, only grave and earnest anger. Maybe the next frame in that roll of photos shows her winking saucily to the photographer in a “check-me-out-I’m-gas” manner but we can only speculate, can’t we. So assuming it wasn’t on purpose then Johnnie’s bemusement at the unfortunate spelling error is no different to that of the two million people who made “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” a bestseller….

    If it was done on purpose, it clearly wasn’t a very well-executed jibe if its outrageous hilarity was lost on the picture editors of broadsheet newspapers, as well as many intelligent journalists and readers alike.

    Either way, it’s a case of must try harder <—see what I did there? I used a phrase that teachers would use in a educational environment and applied it to my impression of their possible attempt at humour. I did it on purpose because it’s really really funny. Just in case there was any confusion there.

  5. I do not endorse the placard, I don’t think it’s funny or poignant nor does it effectively deliver a message (Quite clearly!). Im just saying that to suggest that for the second day running a set of secondary school teachers unknowingly used a placard with an obvious spelling error is silly. I wasn’t suggesting that minister o keefe had used the spelling error, i was pointing out that in the previous days’ issue of the Irish Independent someone else was pictured holding this placard- not ignorant of its inaccuracy but instead stating ironically that by cutting education funds you will end up with poorer standards. Not the cleverest way to send that message (we seem to agree on that)but surely you see that it was at least intentional??

  6. [comment edited] Her name is M*** R***, an English teacher in C_______ _______ _______. David Hopkins is a teacher in the same school obviously trying to defend his colleague. I would like him to see proof that someone other than M*** was wielding this placard.

  7. Thank you, “Leopold” for supplying the name of the teacher in the photo and the name of the school, which I have edited pending confirmation. Certainly, there is a “Language Centre Co-ordinator” of that name at the school you mention – hopefully David Hopkins, whose name also checks out at the same school, will come back and confirm or deny what you are claiming here, albeit that you are doing so under a psuedonym.

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