We all know that Hollywood gives us a somewhat distorted picture of real life, but how close does it get when it comes to teachers?
And more importantly, which one are you?
1. What’s your first thought when you get to work in the morning?
A. “Another day where I can help nurture young minds.”
B. “Where is that hot teacher from down the corridor?”
C. “I am going to help my students make their lives extraordinary.”
D. “I must sanction those year 7s who had the gall to laugh during assembly yesterday.”
E. “Time to rock.”
2. A child makes a point so good you hadn’t thought of it. Do you:
A. Rejoice in the chance to provide extension work and ponder whether you might be in the presence of a genius?
B. Sarcastically question the validity of the point and internally recite relevant swear words?
C. Marvel at the insight of youth and the speed with which they overtake their teachers? After all, ‘twas always thus, and always thus will be.
D. Take their point but remind them that their top button should be done up?
E. Consider composing a song based on their point?
3. You’re feeling tired but struggle into school. Do you:
A. Suppress your own feelings: after all the students are the ones you’re here to serve?
B. Press play on a movie and put your feet up on your desk?
C. Remind yourself that no matter how tired you are, words and ideas can change the world?
D. Keep going because the maintenance of good order and discipline are vital?
E. Turn the music up extra loud to blow away the cobwebs?
4. How would you describe your work dress sense?
A. Prim, proper, practical.
B. Whatever you were wearing last night.
C. Cardigan chic.
D. All black.
E. Snazzy shirts and quirky bow ties.
5. A student tells you they haven’t done their homework today. Do you:
A. Resolve to ask them privately whether everything is ok, and if you can support them towards being able to complete their homework next time?
B. Punch the air at the thought of less marking.
C. Thoughtfully explain that when it comes to rules there's a time for daring and there's a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for?
D. Immediately impose a swift and fair sanction accompanied by a withering put down.
E. High five the student: nobody achieves rock and roll status by following the rules?
6. There’s a staff meeting after work today. How do you feel about it?
A. “I’m looking forward to sharing new ideas and hearing from colleagues.”
B. “See ya later suckers! I’ll be in the pub”
C. “"Two roads diverged in the wood and I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference."
D. “Attendance at staff meetings is compulsory for all.”
E. “It’s time for this staff to kick some ass!”
Mostly As? You are Miss Honey from Matilda
Jennifer Honey, played in the movie by Embeth Davidtz, is everybody’s favourite teacher. She is the only one to recognise Matilda’s potential, calling her “a spectacularly wonderful child,” and in challenging the child prodigy in her care she demonstrates exemplary skills in differentiation before it was all the rage.
Teacher type: A fantastic teacher who is dedicated and caring (though taking a child back to your home these days is best avoided from a child protection perspective). Sweet-natured you may be, but you’re no pushover. The way Miss Honey deals with Miss Trunchbull at the end of the movie shows that the girl has some sass.
Mostly Bs? You are Elizabeth Halsey from Bad Teacher
When Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz) is dumped by her wealthy fiancé, she is forced to return to teaching to fund breast enlargement surgery. Her initial approach is to swear at students and drink heavily on the job while showing movies and seeking sexual conquests among the staff. It’s only when she learns there is a state bonus for the class which gets the highest scores that her approach changes.
Teacher type: In the job entirely for what they can get out of it. Real-life Elizabeth Halseys have stumbled into teaching as a last resort, and spend their every waking moment avoiding engaging with any actual young people. While they usually do just enough to stay above any disciplinary procedures, being a pupil in one of these teachers’ classes is pretty miserable.
Mostly Cs? You are John Keating from Dead Poets Society
Robin Williams’ John Keating has become synonymous with passionate and inspirational teaching. He encourages his students to stand on their desks to change their perspective, and takes them outside to practise different walks so they can find their own style. His teaching of literature is so inspiring that his students reestablish the fabled Dead Poets Society where they read poems together.
Teacher type: Rare breed. John Keatings are increasingly rare but incredibly important. Too often these mavericks become crushed by lesson plans, appraisals and objectives and aren’t valued by leadership teams. Perhaps it’s because these teachers are sometimes not great on details, or their reports are late from time to time. But if you’re a John Keating, the likelihood is that you’ll change students’ lives, and we salute you.
Mostly Ds? You are Professor McGonagall from the Harry Potter movies.
Maggie Smith is no stranger to playing teachers, and described her role as Minerva McGonagall as “Miss Jean Brodie in a wizard’s hat”. McGonagall is the rather severe deputy head, and eventual headmistress of Hogwarts. While she might seem a bit scary, she supports Harry when he needs it and she comes across as scrupulously fair, even handing out house point penalties to Gryffindors.
Teacher type: Firm but fair. You may be more muggle than magician, but every school needs a McGonagall. Your strict manner means classroom management is a doddle, but just beneath the surface you’ll have a real compassion for the students, even the naughty ones. Professor McGonagalls demand respect in schools, and students usually respond in kind.
Mostly Es? You are Dewey Finn from School of Rock
Jack Black plays Dewey Finn, a failing rock star who turns to teaching when times get hard. Rather than teach the traditional curriculum, Finn turns his class into a rock band, with a view to winning a local competition and its $10,000 prize money.
Teacher type: Too cool for school. Your body may be in the staff meeting, but your mind will be in the mosh pit. You’ll put on your teacher gear, but the hairstyle or a protruding tattoo mean no one is fooled. While some students might be initially confused by your unconventional style, you’ll ultimately win most of them round.