June 29, 2011

"Bad Teacher"

From my movie review in Taki's Magazine of the hit comedy with Cameron Diaz playing a bad teacher:
The second least glamorous job in showbiz is teaching schoolchildren. It’s standup comedy for the risk-averse. The government employs truant officers to make sure you have an audience, and they can’t fire you if you’re not funny. 
For years, resentment of teachers has been mounting. Public-school teachers have health insurance and pensions, but they still can’t get American students to outscore Koreans. If only they’d work harder! 
Idealistic young teachers willingly sweat for their students, but once they have kids of their own, their priorities change. Hence, the most common solution that societies have come up with to get their educators—such as Jesuits, nuns, and Eton schoolmasters—to care passionately about other people’s children has been celibacy. (Of course, celibate teachers sometimes wind up caring a little too passionately for their charges.)

Read the whole thing there to find out the (slightly bowdlerized) least glamorous job in showbiz.


Currahee said...

Yes, I would kick her out of bed. And, lock the door.

Anonymous said...

"to care passionately about other people’s children"

It's amazing how people still believe the myth, that strangers can really care that much, about so many children, over so many years. I'm pretty sure a teacher reachs peak give-a-shit airly early in his career. Or they continue to care, but only about a promising few.

Father O'Malley was a priest, and now that I think of it, who knows what really went on at Boys Town.

Anonymous said...

I was a Bad Teacher when I was 22. Would come to school on Mondays with black eyes from prior night's bar fisticuffs. Kids would ask what happened and I'd say fell down the steps again- just like you Jimmy... And Jimmy and I would exchange knowing winks with our good eyes.

Dan in DC

hbd chick said...

"(Of course, celibate teachers sometimes wind up caring a little too passionately for their charges.)"

funniest. line. ever. (this week, anyway.) (^_^)

elvisd said...

Noting your comment about how abysmal state testing security is:

At my first school, the district was so bad that it had been put on conservatorship by the state, so there was a bit oversight. The testing was run like you were at Fort Knox. The highlight had to be the part where the principal had to have two certified teachers as witnesses any time the tests were moved. When he carried the box, they were on either side of him. They had to sign off that the test materials had been stacked in a pre-approved order and accompany him to a district van which would spirit away the tests to go to central office. There were four sign off's total.

At my most recent school, it was so lax that every single year I was there (the last 6 years), I would make a written or oral complaint, listing the various failures in test security. This spring, knowing that I had already secured a job somewhere else, did my yearly litany to the new principal, and added this: "I'm telling you this because it's the right thing to do, and also because if this school's busted, I can say I made an effort to address it, because I'm not going to take the fall for you."

Anonymous said...

Its amazing how people never get it. The teacher is only PART of the equation. The equation probably looks like this:

Education Success = (Student IQ * Student motivation) + Parent involvement + Teacher quality.

But most idiots think you can make Joe Dunderhead a Rhodes Scholar if the teachers are good enough.

Tasman said...

There is a line from an Evelyn Waugh novel that goes like this: The teachers came and went, some liked little boys too little, and some liked little boys too much.

Anonymous said...

It was a great concept of a movie poorly executed. The romance with the gym teacher seemed tacked on and formulaic.

Anonymous said...

Schools, who need them? Smart kids can and do educate themselves, in many cases better than any school, teacher, or rabid pack of retarded "peers".

And what kids need are parents, not teachers, for personal love. In so-called primitive societies, mothers carried their children around, not dumped them off for some strangers to "socialize" them out of laziness, greed, or a misguided believe that the kids will be weak and effeminate otherwise.

Wes is watching RKU said...

Most of the teachers I had were bad. I think the reason we remember that one good teacher, is because they were so very rare.

Le Sigh said...

Anonymous said...

Kids would ask what happened and I'd say fell down the steps again- just like you Jimmy... And Jimmy and I would exchange knowing winks with our good eyes.


Anonymous said...

I think I can explain the movie's box office.

Kids have just gotten out of school. Of course they want to see a movie about teachers behaving badly.

And, as a former high school teacher and current sub, I can witness that I have had the Jason Segel conversation from the trailer, except it was not Jordan vs Lebron, it was Kobe vs Lebron.

"If they had a fight right now, Lebron would get knocked ut. Know why?"
"Because of Kobe's fist full of RINGS."

Jaime Escalante said...

Two important mods to:

Education Success = (Student IQ * Student motivation) + Parent involvement + Teacher quality.

Add in the influence of peers which, depending on the kid, can often be more significant than the parental influence:

Ed Success =
(Student IQ*Intrinsic Motivation)
+ 0.5*(Parental Wealth* Parental Involvement)
+ Extrinsic Motivation
+ Teacher Quality

The last two, Teacher Quality and Extrinsic Motivation (eg from peer competition and shared value of education) are probably derivatives of Parental Wealth and Parental Involvement. So the equation boils down to these independent variables:

Ed Success =
(Student IQ*Intrinsic Motivation)
+ 0.5*(Parental Wealth * Parental Involvement)

Chicago said...

People seem to just love the story about teachers who inspire the kids, who bring out the inner brain surgeon in them.
Most teachers I had were a bunch of burn-outs who seemed to like sticking it to the kids. I never trusted any of them.

FCC=Droppings said...

Love the review but did you really have to bowdlerize that? Surely "elephant shit" makes your piece read better than its Victorian-sounding replacement?