Teacher Sterotypes in Writing

As a teacher myself, I get pissed off by the repetitive sterile behaviors writers give teachers in books and films. It seems that almost every educator is a “nice guy” out to help the students. Trust me, this is certainly not the case.

A good example came from a book Wonder where the teacher said, and I quote, “Settle down class.” I’m sure you’ve heard this hundreds of time as I have from other films and books. I’ve never uttered that phrase in class. Ever. Mostly because it’s completely ineffective. It’s what new, right out of university, teachers say because they want to be the students’ friends. Hell with that. I’m not twelve. The kids have enough friends. But only one teacher. I say, “Sit down and give me your attention.” This usually works. I don’t mean to be a hard ass, but every time I ease off on the kids, they go bananas and cause trouble.

Another thing I see in far too many films and novels: the teacher half sitting on the edge of his desk. This is a casual folksy style of teaching that says, “Hey, listen to me. I have some great stuff to teach you.” Nuh uh. This doesn’t work. The kids ignore you and keep doing anything but pay attention. Besides, I’ve tried it and it’s damn uncomfortable.

I’m guessing, and this is long shot, that most people that write about teaching have never taught. Not really. A seminar to adults does not compare to little kids or amped up teens.

Uber teacher Amy Squirrel

Uber teacher Amy Squirrel

The best film that depicted teachers was Bad Teacher. There are plenty that could care less about the students. Others that go overboard in zealous one-up-manships. School is a dramafest, for the students and the teachers. If only writers could capture this.

Tim Kane

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2 comments on “Teacher Sterotypes in Writing

  1. Gwen says:

    Thank you! And don’t forget the stereotyped classroom that’s in virtually EVERY film and TV show: broad wooden teacher’s desk at the front of the class with students’ desks in neat vertical rows facing a quaint blackboard. Maybe in the 19th century?

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