Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Only Good Poet Is A Dead Poet

Apathy Jack writes:

So in this post here, Span asks when the movie featuring my hoodrats is coming out. Of course my lot are all far too busy smoking crack, worshiping Satan and filling New Zealand with babies to ever actually star in a movie. However, you're all in luck. There are already plenty of pre-existing movies that show a realistic portrayal of what teaching is really like...

What's that I hear you say? Goodbye Mr who? To Sir With what now? Don't be ridiculous.

What? Dangerous Minds? Well, alright, there are a lot of seemingly hopeless cases, and of course many a gang-related incident. But my lot aren't angels with dirty faces, they're demons with filthy minds. And I can't help but notice the shocking paucity of teachers who look like Michelle Pfeiffer...

Nope, you'll have to go elsewhere to find out what teaching is all about.

I recommend that your first stop should be to watch Unman, Wittering and Zigo, a realistic depiction of what most first-year teachers have to go through on a regular basis.

To gain an insight into the mindset of your average high school student, I recommend the excellent Battle Royale, a Japanese documentary (or so I understand it) about what young people get up to when they're left to their own devices.

And while you're in the Johnny Foreigner section of your local DVD repository, might I suggest that you pick up a copy of Volcano High for another realistic look at high school dynamics – the mystical kung-fu battles between staff and students presented in this film are very much as they happen at my school.

Of course the best movie to give you an insight into teaching these days is probably Psyched By The 4-D Witch. No, it has nothing whatsoever to do with teaching. However, sit through a showing – especially of you can see it on the big screen. What your brain feels like when you walk out of the theater – that's what my brain feels like all of the time now.

Of course, Span also asked about television shows. You may be neither surprised nor particularly pleased to discover that the most realistic portrayal of teaching in twenty-first century New Zealand is Seven Periods With Mr. Gormsby. Sure, a lot of the attempts at humour are hit and miss, but its portrayal of staff politics and student behavior are spot on (even if the "students" are all played by thirty year olds).

I'd like to say that the most representative show was The Greatest American Hero – about an idealistic young teacher with rubbish hair who spends most of his time being a super hero and saving the world.

Sadly, the reality is a bit more like Welcome Back Kotter – the tale of a guy with rubbish hair who's not as funny as he thinks he is, put in charge of a gang of sweathogs who are so fiercely loyal to him that they'll do anything he asks of them except learn.

Still, there's worse than that, I suppose.


Anonymous said...

I like to think of teaching as a bit like Full Metal Jacket. You know, the first half, where they're in boot camp, and the drill sergeant - who for the sake of argument, we'll call the Deputy Principal - shouts a lot and is thoroughly unpleasant to everyone. And then one of them kills himself.

Yeah, that's how I remember it. Probably why I'm not a teacher any more...


Jaclyn said...

man the term 'hoodrat' is so funny...