Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Am Not Michelle Pfeiffer

The student must have been having a particularly boring day. I must have been having a particularly cynical day. When she asked me why I didn't teach like the teacher in the movie "Dangerous Minds," I couldn't resist a smart aleck comeback. Now, I hadn't seen the movie and I assumed it was one of those Hollywood creations about the awe-inspiring teacher who saves the world and looks like Michelle Pfeiffer. My smart aleck comeback was:
Send in the hairstylist, the makeup artist, and the wardrobe expert so I can
look the part. Have someone write my script for the eight hours I stand in
front of students every day. Have someone from the commissary bring me my
meals so I don't have to cook. Have someone else do everything for me, so
all I have to do is stand up here and talk. Then pay me a million dollars
for what I've done, and I'll teach like any Hollywood starlet on the silver

I was tired of students thinking all teachers should teach like in the movies. School is not like Hollywood. Teachers are not usually actors or actresses. And their pay falls far short of those million dollar Hollywood salaries. The real teacher, LouAnne Johnson, probably made between 30 thousand and 50 thousand a year when she taught. Michelle Pfeiffer probably made millions for her performance. Somehow, it just doesn't seem fair.

I have since seen the movie and read a little about the teacher whose life the movie was based. I applaud her teaching style. She has done fantastic work, but even she is not Michelle Pfeiffer.

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