Where do we go from here? The series concludes Monday with Part III, and I hope you’ll join us. I hope too you’ll check back here for stories about teaching written by real teachers, and join us on Facebook for silly and serious ed-related news. Check out some of these movies and books for yourself.
I spent a couple of years reading memoirs written by teachers and watching movies inspired by teachers’ work, yet I barely scratched the surface of the genre. As we continue our journey, let me point out areas I’d like to pursue further:
1) I didn’t look much at fictional teachers. Are fictional teachers’ experiences generally as exaggerated as they are in Summer School? The Ms. Hempel Chronicles feels real to me, and I’m betting other fictional portrayals feel real too.
2) I didn’t talk much about the media’s obsession with bad teachers… and how news reports of lawbreaking teachers might reflect or impact the portrayal of bad teachers in fiction. I want to read these three books on scandalous teachers, especially The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
This website is called Magical Teaching, and the site features real teachers’ thoughts on their work—on the magical teaching they find in paper-clipped bundles in the back seats of their cars or hanging around after school for extra help. Magical teaching is something that happens.
But sometimes when I hear the phrase “magical teaching,” I imagine some urban classroom turnaround tale from the movies, some implausible story about a well-meaning teacher who gives up everything to save students. At those times I feel like a hoax, like the gap between what I’m supposed to be and what I am is too big. I’m not some magical teacher, I think.
But rather than get bogged down by comparisons to myths and stories, I spent time investigating them, looking at portrayals of teachers in books, television shows, and films. Tomorrow I’ll share the first part in a three-part series called ‘The Myth of the Magical Teacher” that came about as a result of that work.