The Problem With Teachers in Movies

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About Pat Brothwell

Pat Brothwell is a high school English teacher who’s doing his best to complete the cliché by also being an aspiring novelist.  He documents that journey (as well as other useless information) on his personal blog Pat also oversees, a travel blog advocating for weekend adventures in and around the Keystone State. You can follow him on twitter @patb130.


  1. As a teacher, representations on screen have always bothered me. The thing that bothers me most is the number of classes that are cut short by the bell, the teacher stops teaching and the students exit. How many teachers would be so disorganised that they are unaware of the time and the duration of thier lesson? The hours that I spent planning and preparing my weekly program left almost every minute of every school day structured and accounted for. I know when every session begins and ends and what I need to achieve in that time. The bell is never a surprise that interrupts my students and their learning.

    • I’ll admit to being surprised by a time crunch. It’s never that the bell actually rings while I’m talking, but I could relate to having five minutes left of the block and wondering where the time went.

  2. Alejandra QH says:

    Have you seen Detachment? I’d say that movie is a lot more reallistic when portraying teachers. You’ll see Adrian Brody and Lucy Liu breaking down and showing what a hard time you can get from being a teacher. Maybe you can share your opinion about it later on.

  3. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    Well, I was kind of the “cool teacher” as a college professor, but they still had to call me Dr. Vandenburgh. They learned a lot, they said, because the classes used attraction and enthusiasm rather than busywork to get them interested. I didn’t go so far as Robin Williams, but was a bit in that direction. I did choose to survive, and managed tenure and made it to full professor before I called it a day.

    • Nothing against using enthusiasm rather than busywork (I try to limit the busywork as much as possible). I’m more pointing out the people who care more about their image then accomplishing anything. Plus, there is a marked difference between what is perceived as cool in college (people who teach and are interesting) versus high school (no homework and letting them do what they want).

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