I just finished watching the movie Captain Underpants with my kids. In the movie, the principal and teachers are depicted as hating fun and humor. This is especially true for the villain, a science teacher named Professor Poopypants, who wants tmake everyone stop laughing because he is tired of people laughing at his name. My kids loved the movie! In fact, they are outside right now playing Captain Underpants.
While I watched the movie, I started to think about all the movies and TV shows that I have watched over the years that depicted teachers. Then I wondered about the teachers those characters were based off of which led me to the question, How would my former students depict me in a movie? Would they picture me as the teacher from Freedom Writers or the Edna Krabappel from the Simpsons? I am hoping it is the former.
Now, I understand that these figures are hyperbolized and often boiled down to one character trait that can either come out as being heroic or horrible depending on the trait that is focused on, but to be honest I have probably been a Professor Poopypants, Edna Krabappel, or other unflattering teacher before. We all have bad days and we all make mistakes, but as educators we have to take time to reflect on our actions and interactions with our students. We have to be willing to apologize when a student's humor rubbed us the wrong way or we handed out worksheets and disconnected because we didn't feel well.
We have to recognize these mistakes and character flaws that sometimes show through, forgive ourselves for the action or reaction that we had, be transparent with students about the fact that we are human and make mistakes, and work harder to show students that we have an enthusiasm for learning and working with them each and every day.
So how would your students depict you in a movie they write? This question can force you to stop and reflect on the things you say and do with your students in class because you never know which class clown will be the next screen writer. Give your students someone inspiring to write about.