Doctor! Doctor!

A couple of days ago, a teacher from London won $1MM as the world’s best teacher in the Global Teacher Prize.

Algernon, apparently
In my day, Teacher didn’t even have a name!

Yeah, pay attention. You might just learn something. Today’s lesson: the arts and the art of surgery…

[For extra credit, check out the Apoplexy Newsletter.]

In recent years, I’ve become increasingly suspicious of prizes as I’ve heard more and more about how industry awards are paid for, ballots are stuffed, and the like.

Quick, get the KLF a TARDIS!
“I’m shocked by your cynicism, Sir!”

Yeah, I’d love the blame the disastrous 1989 Brit Awards for this disenchanted attitude. But for all of Fleetwood and Fox’s floundering, Erasure won Best British Group and Fairground Attraction’s deathless Perfect was Best British Single. That’s decent going.

So let’s put aside why, exactly, the billionaire founder of a global advisory and educational management firm funds this prize through his charitable foundation. You can find out more about why GEMS schools are established in various price brackets, to serve all markets and income levels and why the more expensive schools have more spacious grounds and amenities such as golf and tennis facilities, and smaller class sizes here.

Well, this homosexual flirtatiousness is so adolescent, for a start!
What’s wrong with good, old-fashioned British education, anyway?

Also why, exactly, it was important that Al Gore, Tony Blair, and Lewis Hamilton we in attendance at the award ceremony. Let’s put that aside, too. What I found interesting was Andria Zafirakou’s acceptance speech, and particularly her call for more support for the power of the arts, saying schools can make a positive difference in children’s lives through creative subjects.

I have seen how the arts help students to communicate. The arts help to give so much confidence and really create incredible young people – Andria Zafirakou

And so much more. The arts are a gateway to the critical thinking that will be so vital for the kids coming up from behind. And so much more –

That’s not to say that you can’t take this whole ART thing a little too far. I’m reminded of this surgeon who pled guilty to two counts of assault after using argon gas to sign his initials on patients’ organs.

Doctor, Doctor, I feel like a carrot...
“Are you even a real doctor?”

It was interesting to follow how this case was reported on the news. The surgeon admitted to the BBC that he had made a “mistake” in branding his initials onto livers – something that prosecutors said was done in front of colleagues and with skill and concentration.

A former patient was interviewed and expressed the thought that

Even if he did put his initials on a transplanted liver, is it really that bad? I wouldn’t have cared if he did it to me. The man saved my life.

Note absence of sterile conditions, etc
What a mistake looks like

Sure, it’s complicated. I suspect that if the surgeon who performed my trephination had scraped his initials into the inside of my skull while he was there, I’d think it was pretty cool. But I’m not completely objective. And going around doing things to people’s insides without their consent doesn’t strike me as a fine-and-a-community-order kind of offence.

Sure, it’s complicated. But I don’t think they’d have let Bradley Wiggins off with it quite so lightly. And he’s a real medical expert.

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