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Saints and Assholes

The New York Times published a story about the way teachers are portrayed in the media.  They call it "Incompetent or Inspiring."  I call it "Saints and Assholes."


It's true, and I've written about it before.  Teachers in movies or on television are always saints who use sheer charisma to pull their students out of poverty, or assholes who live to punish their students (or who sleep through class or are too stupid to live).  Usually teachers in poor districts are saints and suburban teachers are assholes.

The saints don't actually teach.  Some of them try, but run up against a wall of glowering hatred from their students, who humiliate them.  But once the teacher realizes the students are just misguided or unhappy, he hunkers down, talks to them in their language, stops teaching entirely, and just, you know, relates to them.  All instruction ends.  He becomes, instead, a leader who shows them what life is all about, and their lives magically change.

The assholes don't teach, either.  They hate students and love watching them squirm.  They deliberately humiliate the class (especially the protagonist).  They pounce on wrong answers.  They speak without contractions and with ten-dollar words (and refer to their students as Mister or Miss).  Or they totally ignore the class.  They sleep.  They don't know the subject.  They let the students run roughshod.  They try to talk to the students with teenage slang but get it embarrassingly wrong.  The fall for obvious pranks.

All professions suffer from bad portrayals in the media.  But teachers, for some reasons, get an extreme.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 14th, 2016 08:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah. And it seems like a lot of script writers hated their teachers.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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