Teachers Gone Wild! What’s Up With That?

Question: What do Teachers, Mel Gibson, and BP have in common? Answer: A serious public relations problem.

Week-in-and-week-out, the primetime television landscape is littered with hour-longs showing doctors as heroic do-gooders (See: GREY’S ANATOMY, PRIVATE PRACTICE), lawyers fighting the good fight (See: THE WHOLE TRUTH, THE DEFENDERS and LAW & ORDER: SVU/LA) and cops cleaning up the streets (See: The entirety of CBS’ schedule). Yet when it comes to teachers, it’s an entirely different story.

Or at least that’s the conclusion we’ve reached following the recent string of small screen student/teacher relationships featured on the likes of GOSSIP GIRL, 90210 and LIFE UNEXPECTED, among others.

Rather than paint them for what they are — caring and passionate professionals (see: BEVERLY HILLS 90210’s Mrs. Teasley and to a slightly lesser extent SAVED BY THE BELL’s Mr. Belding) — the current crop of small screen educators are more often than not portrayed as lecherous men (or women) intent on preying on their students.

All of which begs the question, what’s the deal? When did teachers become such an easy target and more importantly, which brave showrunner (cough*Aaron Sorkin*cough) is going to be the first to stand up and deliver a series that will do for for teacher’s what THE WEST WING did for politicians?

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  • Nicole

    Have to just post and mention how much I appreciate this post. I’m a teacher myself, and it is rather frustrating to see how teachers are typically presented on television. It’s tough enough since most people tend to adopt the “those who do, can; those who can’t, teach” philosophy (which is entirely the opposite of the truth as anyone who has ever spent five minutes in front of a classroom can tell you) without these shows presenting the most negative stereotype of a high school teacher. If we can have show after show illustrating the “drama” of life as a doctor or a cop or a lawyer, why not of a teacher? There is plenty of comedy to be found in an elementary school, not to mention drama.

  • Nick

    Not much demand for “Room 222” or “Head of the Class” these days. And let’s not go overboard on this argument. We do, indeed, read about teacher/student assaults and teacher/student relationships. Primetime soaps, by their very nature, heighten real-life stories. It’s not like every teacher on TV is portrayed as leacherous. I like the stories for what they are: entertainment.

  • You are correct that we do read alot about teacher/student relationships. HOWEVER, the severe lack of showing anything but this darker side is a shame. Not ALL teachers should be portrayed like that, we really need some positive role models shown as well.

  • Abby

    You forgot to list Pretty Little Liars.

  • Sharp7

    Boston Public.

  • Laureate04

    I really enjoyed Boston Public and wished that it was on longer. It did show many different types of teachers that you find in schools today. I am also a teacher and agree with Nicole that it would be nice to see both sides portrayed on tv. I agree that there are some lecherous teachers out there, but there are also those in the medical field and in lawyers offices but shows like SVU don’t show so much of that as many shows focus on the few not so ethical teachers out there. Most teachers in our schools are truly caring, wonderful people who have to put up with a whole lot of difficulty everyday in their line of work and there is plenty of drama and humor to be found in it all.

  • Well I agree but there were some shows which represented them in a good light like Boston Public for example.