Is It Hot to Be a Bad Teacher?

21 Mar

Teachers have been in the news a lot lately. So it’s no surprise that Hollywood is responding. I’m just not sure this is what I thought their response would look like.

In the past, hard times have inspired docu-ish-dramas with teachers who defy the odds and turn their rag-tag gang members into, depending on the movie, star writers, singers, athletes etc.

Anyone? Or how about:

But trailers for two new movies has me a little bit antsy. What will this mean for our new teacher stereotypes? And what kind of backlash can we expect them to spawn?



It’s not that I don’t think these movies look like fun. They do. In fact, I’m sure I’ll be getting vicarious thrills (as I’m sure will other teachers) from watching their antics.

However, there are a wide range of people who have a hard time separating truth from fiction, and what will they learn from these movies? Apparently, if you’re a skinny and attractive teacher, (at least that rules me out) you’re also a stoner or a drunk who hates their students and comes to class messed up.

These cases of teachers who go too far when criticizing their students, again will turn into harsh criticisms of the educational system at large and, somehow, never talk about real issues of educational reform.

Really, these trailers make me afraid that people will be encouraged to think the worse-case-scenario. That some people will use this as an excuse to believe that all teachers are so immature that they can’t enjoy something in their personal lives (i.e. drinking/smoking/whatever) without meaning that they will indulge irresponsibly on school/work days.

What does that say about how we view our own daily vices, the non-life-threatening ones. Must we all be scared that a drink after work makes us alcoholics?

Obviously, this is just my cold-reading of these trailers (and the future) and I hope that each movie has some kind of structuring to allow some kind of positive discussions to come out of their comedy.

Let’s just say, I’m not holding my breath.


3 Responses to “Is It Hot to Be a Bad Teacher?”

  1. Laura Poff March 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    hmmmmmmm…. I had not seen these previews. The first one seems more scary to me than the second one. While watching the preview a series of things went through my head. 1) “This is ridiculous!” 2) “No one should joke about teaching like this!” around 3 and 4 I started to realize that there are ridiculous movies out there about almost everything and started wondering if I was only so sensitive because I had been a teacher. Or maybe because teachers have been so beaten down in the news as of late (a part time job my ass!) Then I started to wonder if there are really teachers like that out there (maybe not to that extreme, but you know the nonextreme of that). I have personally met many kinds of teacher, but none with even close to that amount of recklessness. The ones who are lazy and recycle 20 year old lesson plans at least seem to be sober and otherwise responsible.

    On another note: I have recently been thinking about the exact opposite side of your comment, “Must we all be scared that a drink after work makes us alcoholics?” I was thinking that TV shows seem to portray characters ALWAYS drinking (not irresponsibly, but after work). In Scrubs they are always drinking at home or at the bar. In Parenthood, there is always wine in someone’s hand at dinner and otherwise. It’s casual; there’s no hint of alcoholism or alcohol dependency. Yet… the safe limit of sustained drinking for a woman is 1 drink/day and less than 9/week. And it feels to me like TV is portraying a social acceptable way to drink, but to an extreme so that we forget what the actual safe drinking level is.

  2. Alicia March 22, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    Teaching issues aside, I’ve often thought that the portrayal of drinking (or many other vices) on TV shows and in movies is often used to define the character as a no-good sumabitch, a bad parent, a self-centered friend, etc. It seems like an easy way out, an easy way to categorize a person. In actuality, having a glass of wine or a beer (or three on occasion) after work is no big whoop. But the portrayal of these acts on TV and in movies actually helped formulate in my early years a fear of these things. It wasn’t until I was partaking in a drink or two on a regular basis myself that I learned not everyone is defined by their means of stress relief or enjoyment. Yes, it can be taken to extremes, but it doesn’t always mean you’re a bad person.

    • redshana March 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      It’s true, as Laura kinda hinted toward, I think it’s hard to tell what the truth about drinking is these days. While some drinking is socially acceptable, the line between casual drinking and alcoholism has long been obfuscated… and sometimes with good reason.

      I think our culture needs to stop demonizing things and relying on fear tactics and instead choose to adequately educate people on how they can judge, on an individual basis, when they’re drinking too much. And that is different for everyone.

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