Movie Teachers Send the Wrong Message [SLIDE]

A few weeks ago, I wrote an honest confession about the struggles that I’ve had to feel connected with my kids this year.  The bit really resonated with readers, generating a ton of comments on the Center for Teaching Quality’s version of the Radical.

One of my favorite comments came from Deidra Gammill — a SUPER bright mind and SUPER great writer who ought to be blogging herself.  Deidra’s argument was that the movie versions of teachers that are pushed on society actually do more harm than they do good by setting unrealistic expectations for who we are and what we do.

Deidra’s words are still rumbling through my mind — and while I’m sure there’s a longer form post brewing in my mind, I whipped up a slide with an adapted version of Deidra’s thinking tonight.  

Hope you dig it:

(click here to download and view original image credit on Flickr)

 

 

5 comments

  1. climeguy

    I disagree with Deidre. The impact these movies have on teenagers is minimal. They are much more interested in their current lives and what college they want to go to. For me these movies (esp Stand and Deliver and Mr. Holland’s Opus) were inspirations of how I can improve my teaching. I wish there were more of them.

    • Deidra Gammill

      I totally get where you’re coming from – a lot of these movies inspired me to become a teacher and molded my teaching style – what English teacher doesn’t want to BE Mr. Keating from Dead Poet’s Society? But my observation wasn’t so much directed at teen audiences but at our culture in general. Just as supermodels give young (and old) women a false sense of what beauty is (or should be), including what is attainable without surgery, liposuction, botox or implants. Magazine pictures provide perfection not the reality it takes to reach that perfection.

      Movies about amazing teachers (real or fictitious) are inspiring and make us feel good, maybe they even inspire future educators (like you and me). But because they focus on the triumphs and the successes, while the obstacles always seem to be quickly overcome (after all, it’s a 90 minute movie), I think they do real teachers a disservice. They provide an airbrushed image of what a great teacher is and does, and frankly, being that kind of teacher all the time is nearly impossible when you factor in policy, paperwork, politics, principals and parents.

      I like the movies too (and abhor ones like Bad Teacher with Cameron Diaz) – but they’re movies – Hollywood glamor and special effects – not the reality of what being a teacher, day in and day out, is all about. And generally, all the other teachers in these movies are portrayed as weak, ineffectual, apathetic, or downright awful, making the “Hero Teacher” shine all the brighter.

      • Bill Ferriter

        Still more proof, Deidra, why you need to be blogging!

        As a tip, you can turn a comment like this into a post on your own blog — making the time you spent writing it even more worthwhile.

        Can’t wait to see you writing more.

        Bill

  2. Deidra Gammill

    Bill – what an cool image – Ken dolls.How appropriate!! Were that there were more male teachers in our schools (albeit a little less plastic and perfect). Someday you’ll have to share are your cool magician’s tricks with this newbie. Thanks for the shout-out, but everything I said was in response to your original (awesome) blog post. You know you’re my hero, right? And you should check your CTQ Inbox, cause you’re giving me a complex! 🙂

    • Bill Ferriter

      Hey Deidra,

      I didn’t even know I had a CTQ inbox! I’m not a huge user of the community. I’ll log in tonight and see if I can find it. If you want to email me directly, though, feel free: wferriter at outlook dot com.

      Always willing to help,
      Bill