School holidays were invented for teachers to binge watch all the shows that they don’t have time for during the term. Fact.
My personal television preferences range from dramas such as Orphan Black and Broachurch to sitcoms including Not Going Out and Coupling. Being British, I of course dabble in a spot o’ Great British Bake Off. Or at least, I did. The jury’s still out on its scandalous move to Channel 4.
So, I decided to merge my term-time job of being a teaching and my holiday duties (aka catching up on shows) in order to create my top television teacher inspirations!
Haley James Scott – One Tree Hill
Haley James Scott showed me that you can be a teacher and a pop star at the same time. What’s even more impressive is she also had enough time to raise a child, fix her damaged marriage and expose a psychopathic nanny she’d hired. I aspire to be as well-rounded and accomplished as Haley, though I can’t imagine she managed to stay on top of all her marking with such a busy lifestyle…
Miss Grotke – Recess
Any teacher who challenges damaging stereotypes is a winner in my eyes. Miss Grotke delivered her satirical statements in such an understated, deadpan manner but I bet she was always giving knowing glances to her TA at the back of the classroom. I do wonder what statement she’s trying to make by always wearing the same clothes to work each and every day, though. When does she get time to wash her dress after those messy art afternoons?
Mr G – Summer Heights High
Mr G’s theatrical nature is a constant source of amusement in Australian mockumentary Summer Heights High. I channeled my inner Mr G whilst producing the Year 3/4/5 production of Alice in Wonderland, where I prompted children with their lines whilst resisting the urge to get up on stage myself. Although some of his classroom approaches are questionable, he oozes charisma even at the lowest points of his career. His sunny disposition and creative passion are what I strive to have myself.
Alfie Wickers – Bad Education
Alfie Wickers is second-to-none when it comes to resilience. He endures horrific haircuts, agonising allergies and patronising pupils but still manages to make it through three seasons and a movie (relatively) unscathed. I hope to deal with anything that teaching can throw at me the Wickers-way: with a great deal of humour and just a splash of self-pity.
Lily Aldrin – How I Met Your Mother
Whilst I doubt Lily’s school’s e-policy allows for the use of mobiles within the classroom, particularly with her pupils present, I admire her savviness when it comes to getting her children to sort some of her chores. As you can see from this photo, one pupil is shining her shoes whilst another is passing some important correspondence to Miss Aldrin. Clearly, Lily taught me to utilise my pupils as much as I can. The majority of my children find handing out exercise books and filing resources simply irresistible and I will never say no to a little extra help in the classroom!
Valerie Marks – Awkward
Oh Valerie Marks. She began as the world’s worst guidance counsellor and eventually became the most unlikely vice principal, but nevertheless, she taught me numerous lessons prior to me even dreaming about becoming a teacher. Her fannypacks are an important reminder of comfort over style, her dedication to pupil wellbeing stresses the significance of seeing children as individuals and her passion for the job proves that loving what you do can help you bounce back from any misfortune that comes your way.
Mr Ratburn – Recess
Those shifty eyes. Those sweaty palms. That smile that is trying to say “everything’s okay” but is instead screaming “help me, I don’t know what I’m doing!” It’s painfully obvious that Mr Ratburn doesn’t know any of Thomas Edison’s inventions himself. Instead, he poses it as a question to his pupils, hoping they might have an answer. Mr Ratburn teaches me that’ swanning’ is perfectly okay. ‘Swanning’ is a term taught to me by my PGCE placement mentor, which refers to the moment when a teacher is desperately floundering beneath the surface, but is appearing cool, calm and in control above the surface.
It’s clear to see that, throughout my life, TV has taught me a lot about being a teacher. I think this provides crystal clear evidence that I should continue my Netflix binges throughout the school holidays. Who am I to argue with that?
Have I missed any important television teachers that have inspired you?