As with all professions, teaching is almost always glamorised in Hollywood films. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s not likely you’d watch a 2-hour film about the real life classroom.
As a teacher myself, I’m not saying my job is dull or boring – far from it. But as I watch these films, I often imagine how they would translate into real life. Here are my very tongue-in-cheek thoughts on some of my favourite on-screen teachers:
School of Rock’s Dewey Finn
Film version: Dewey, desperate for money, pretends to be his housemate (who is a teacher). He takes a job at Horace Green Prep School and manages to turn a book-smart class into a kick-ass band.
Reality: On arrival at the school, Dewey would never have got past the steely-eyed receptionist – the supply agency would have faxed his photograph over for child protection reasons. Had he managed to slip past this hurdle, escaping the daily drop-in observations from senior management and book scrutinies to check progress and coverage of the curriculum would have been his downfall.
Matilda’s Miss Honey
Film version: Miss Honey works for Miss Trunchbull (who’s also her aunt). Trunchbull rules the school with an iron fist and terrifies the children, but Miss Honey is just delightfully sweet and treasures each child.
Reality: Miss Honey was once a sweet-natured teacher but after years of small children in her ears, being bullied by the head and having limited resources to teach with, she’s now just a frazzled, slightly demented middle-aged lady.
Deloris Wilson from Sister Act 2
Film version: Deloris is asked to return to the church and school where she went as a child (and stayed while in witness protection in the first film) to help save them from closure. To avoid being closed, the school has to raise its reputation. Cue a group of miserable teenagers and a national choir competition because hey presto! All the kids have talent.
Reality: With her previous mob connections, it’s unlikely Deloris would be allowed into a school as a teacher. If she was, she’d be faced with a class of about 30 sulky teens who are just far too cool to be singing, especially in a choir. Chances are you’d get a small number of teens willing to sing in public while the rest would sit looking at their shoelaces, mumbling their own rude version of the song.
Literally everyone in Grease
Film version: All the staff seem to be on the verge of retirement (or beyond). Because of this, the high school students seem to do as they please while the teachers either watch helplessly or join in with the raucous.
Reality: Older and experienced staff are more expensive, so it’s likely there would be younger and newly-qualified staff. The health and safety officer would soon put a stop to the dancing on the tables and at the dance, the bowl of spiked punch would likely be in the teacher’s corner for the staff.