We’ll file this under “teaching profession” – a bit of football coach, a dash of Bozo Teacher.
Television provides tweens and teens with an ample supply of Bozo Teacher examples. I’m defining a “bozo teacher” as a caricature, a stock character whose students easily baffle him or her and who is simply manipulated, and thus leaves the student winning. The bozo teacher is a simplistic writing tool, a fallback for weak writers of shows whose typical audiences include tweens and teens.
Basically, the writer appeals to its audience by making viewers the winners, and the teachers the losers. It provides impressionable minds with idea that teachers are ‘against’ them and that they do not have allies in their educators. Think of Mr. Belding from “Saved by the Bell” or Ben Stein reading “Bueller.” These teachers are bozos! They can be defeated! The students are winners!
It’s an invention of lazy writers. Why does society tolerate this simplistic view of the teaching profession? If viewers complain, presentation will change.
Imagine if television shows portrayed teachers as allies, as respectful adults in students’ lives. What would that look like? Would tweens (a difficult stage in anyone’s life) be more confident? Would they feel empowered at school? Perhaps as they search for their identities, they would not rely on silly characters in television shows who seek to “get the better” of teachers. Proper role models, realistic life could work – but the writing would be trickier, more inventive than present day.
I saw another example the other day – on during Sprout, a show for elementary kids. (Starting them young!)
Here is the YouTube video, where the principal/ teacher is baffled by the magnetic Baby Stuffies.
What if consumers demanded that teachers have accurate presentations? Respected portrayals? At least, fair characters.
What message would that send our children and society? Consumers have the power to change the perception of the teaching profession.
And they should.