Wednesday, September 10, 2008
As I previously posted, I hate feel good teacher movies -- they are so far removed the daily grind of being a teacher -- they just bug me. I have also listed my favorite edgy teacher movies, Half Nelson (great Ryan Gosling movie), Election, and Notes on a Scandal. So I was really interested when I heard on NPR's On the Media an interview with Mary Dalton who wrote The Hollywood Curriculm about teacher movies. She discussed how most teacher movies are either about totally evil teachers or the wonderful inspirational teachers. Evil teacher movies mentioned were Teaching Mrs. Tingle, and Porky's (esp. the gym teacher in Porky's of all things). In good teacher movies, the pattern is that those teachers are always outsiders in a conflict with the powers that be. She mentioned that the "good" female teachers like in Dangerous Minds and Freedom Writers (Yuck!) are not allowed to be seen as sexual beings. And, I was glad to hear, she said that Half Nelson is one of the few movies where a teacher is actually seen presenting curriculum and has a nuanced or not all bad or not all good teacher. She even mentioned TV teacher break throughs like the first gay teacher on TV in My So Called Life and the first sexual female teacher in Boston Public (kinda dumb show in my opinion.) The Wire, season 4 was lauded as one of the first TV shows that dealt with the complicated world of education today. All in all, it was a very interesting interview and right up my alley.