Teachers in the Movies


As a former high school teacher, I don’t like watching movies or TV shows that take place in high schools, because they typically get it all wrong!  I wonder if cops feel the same way when watching police films, or if lawyers feel annoyed watching courtroom dramas?

An example of a movie that gets teaching wrong, but still is a fun movie:

Here Comes the Boom (2012)  To raise money to prevent music and other extra classes from being cut from his high school, a biology teacher (Kevin James) begins to compete as a mixed-martial arts fighter, because even the losers get prize money.  At PG, it is safe to bring anyone to see this movie – your mother, your children, your Sunday school teacher – because there is very little bad language, the violence during the fights does not result in gushing blood or even much bruising, the kissing is brief, no alcohol or drugs, and all amoral behavior gets brought to justice, or the individuals see the error of their ways and fix things.  Fun movie!

But portraying teachers, they get many things wrong.  Biology teacher Scott Voss (Kevin James) is late to first period and gets caught climbing in through the window by Principal Betcher (Greg Germann), who gives him bus duty and takes away vacation days as a punishment.  Yes, bus duty can be a punishment in real life, but teachers do not get vacation days!  The days they don’t teach (winter and spring break, summer vacation) are days they don’t get paid for.

Henry Winkler plays the gentle band instructor (Marty Streb) who supports Kevin James in his quest to win money to save music at the school, but he doesn’t conduct correctly.  If you are a musician, just close your eyes during shots of him with the baton, because he gets the rest of the band teacher character right.

Kevin James relies on school nurse Bella Flores, played by Salma Hayek, to bandage him up at school, and she even comes to his home one evening to pull his shoulder back into it’s socket.  It’s a funny scene, but not realistic.  For one, how many schools still have a full-time nurse on staff?  And two, teachers have medical benefits, and wouldn’t need someone to treat their injuries in their spare time.  But, the shoulder scene is needed to move the characters along, so I’ll forgive that!

Are there any films that unrealistically portray your profession?  Does it matter?

1 Comment

Filed under Movies

One response to “Teachers in the Movies

  1. Pingback: San Andreas: A Movie for Rescue Workers? | Movies Are Fun!

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