Kristina Murkett

Kristina Murkett is an English teacher, private tutor and journalist

The lost world of MSN Messenger

Despite only being 30, the students at the school at which I work often make me feel old. They love nothing more than testing my knowledge of their Gen-Z slang: no, I don’t know what you mean when you say Romeo is a ‘simp’ or whether Macbeth’s behaviour is ‘sus’. My average 12-year-old student is

At last, Hollywood mocks cancel culture

Dream Scenario is a film about modern celebrity culture and the terror of losing yourself to the internet’s virtual mob. It’s the story of evolutionary biology professor Paul Matthews, a balding, befuddled, bespectacled everyman who is the walking embodiment of anonymity – played by Nicholas Cage, the face that launched a thousand memes. At the start

In defence of Ofsted

When it comes to Ofsted, people often like to trot out the old adage that ‘you don’t grow a pig by weighing it.’ Others might rebuttal that you grow the pig by measuring its progress and making necessary adjustments to its diet, hence the need for inspections. However, a new report by Beyond Ofsted, an

The Tory crackdown addiction

If there’s one thing this government is addicted to, it’s crackdowns. Rishi Sunak loves to talk tough on how he is going to ‘crack down’ on small boats, climate protestors, Mickey Mouse degrees, banks blacklisting, anti-social behaviour. Just last week Home Secretary Suella Braverman vowed to crack down on homeless people living in tents as

We don’t have to apologise for Friends

This weekend became The One Where We All Lost A Friend: Matthew Perry, Friends actor, addiction spokesperson and rehabilitation advocate, who died aged 54. He played the sweetly acerbic, chronically insecure Chandler Bing. Perry’s comic genius and impeccable timing meant he created a particular style of delivery and physicality that was uniquely his but endlessly imitable, epitomised

Rishi Sunak’s exam shake-up doesn’t add up

After 13 years in power, the Conservatives have decided to rebrand themselves as the ‘party of change’. Today, Rishi Sunak announced that the Tories will ban smoking for the next generation, scrap a significant portion of HS2, and abolish A-levels and T-levels in favour of new ‘Advanced British Standards’. Rishi Sunak is no longer ‘Inaction Man’,

The worrying decline of the male teacher

Teacher recruitment levels are in crisis, and have been for some time. Only half the number of secondary teachers needed for this academic year have actually been recruited, according to figures obtained by the National Education Union (NEU) and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). Teacher vacancies have doubled since the start of the pandemic, while one in

The politics of exam results

August always means an anxious wait for results days, but this year pupils will be feeling particularly apprehensive. England’s exams regulator, Ofqual, has said that national results will be lower than last year’s and are expected to be similar to those before Covid. Some reports estimate that around 50,000 A-level students will therefore miss out on getting the A*

The trouble with Rishi Sunak’s ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree crackdown

Rishi Sunak is a big fan of a ‘crack down’. He has previously vowed to crack down on migration, anti-social behaviour and climate protests. ‘Rip off’ university courses that ‘don’t offer the prospect of a decent job at the end of it’ are the PM’s latest target. But Sunak’s tough talk and aggressive rhetoric smacks of over-compensating for any lack

Is this really the best Labour can offer teachers?

Bridget Phillipson was appointed Labour’s shadow education secretary in November 2021. After 18 months in the role, she has now finally unveiled Labour’s ambitious new idea to help tackle the teacher retention and recruitment crisis: use the tax raid on private school fees to fund a £2,400 welcome bonus to every teacher who has completed their two

Britain’s schools are facing an epidemic of bad behaviour

Something troubling is happening in Britain’s schools. This week, the government released its findings from the first national survey into pupil behaviour in classrooms. The results are a hard lesson to learn. But, as a teacher who has witnessed chairs being thrown and pupils urinating on teachers’ cars, it doesn’t come as a surprise. Over 40 per cent

Does Shakespeare tell us how Succession will end?

The award-winning Succession is many things. Now in its fourth series, it has been compared with a Renaissance painting, a Greek tragedy, a Jane Austen novel, and a psychoanalytical allegory of trauma responses (Kendall – fight; Connor – flight; Shiv – fawn; Roman – freeze). Ultimately, however, it is a Shakespearean series. The writers may

Sunak’s maths plan doesn’t add up

In one particularly excruciating scene in The Office, manager David Brent tells everyone that they are about to lose their jobs, but ‘the good news is I’ve been promoted’. When challenged, he says, ‘Well I couldn’t come out and say I’ve got some bad news and some irrelevant news.’ A similar exchange seems to have

The Shakespearean tragedy of Liz Truss

In his book The Five Basic Plots, Christopher Booker outlines five stages of tragedy: anticipation, dream, frustration, nightmare, destruction. So far Liz Truss has completed four of these. Tory party members, like Macbeth’s witches, hailed Liz Truss as ruler of a new low-tax, pro-growth era. She rose to the top, like Macbeth, in a triumph

Ghislaine Maxwell is no victim

The disgraced socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced yesterday to 20 years for crimes relating to sex trafficking. After three weeks of silence, Maxwell finally spoke, saying she was ‘sorry’ for the ‘pain’ her victims experienced. She told the court that she hoped her ‘conviction’ and ‘incarceration’ would bring ‘closure.’ There was one particular line that

The problem with Barbie’s feminist makeover

It looks like Barbie is having another makeover: last week toy maker Mattel announced that they were launching a range of dolls to honour women in STEM, making miniature models of pioneers such as US healthcare workers Amy O’Sullivan and Dr Audrey Cruz, Canadian doctor and campaigner Dr Chika Stacy Oriuwa, and – of course