Thursday, August 06, 2015


With kids all across the country getting ready to head back to school, NBC is launching a 6-episode series, Mr. Robinson, starring stand-up comic Craig Robinson as a struggling musician who takes a day job substitute teaching a high-school music class to pay the bills. (Because it’s trivial to land a teaching job, and you don’t need certification or anything.)

According to the show’s producers (who also created The Office), “It's an easy gig, right? Yet when he realizes the kids think his class is an easy A, Craig's moved to inspire his students.”
At the end of the last school year, BlogHer ran my post ranking 15 of the Best and Worst Pop Culture Teachers. On the list were the usual suspects, Sidney Poitier in To Sir With Love, Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, Richard Dreyfuss of Mr. Holland’s Opus, Mr. Kotter, The White Shadow, and Boy Meets World’s Mr. Feeney, among others. Inspirations, all.
It prompted one reader to comment: This was a clever idea, but reading it just made me sad because all of our decent pop culture teachers were men. The very few women who made the list are not even deserving of a grade.
Another agreed: For a field dominated by women in real life the lack of representation in media is disheartening.  
They were absolutely right, and I am embarrassed to say I didn’t notice the disparity until it was pointed out to me. I am even more embarrassed to note that the measly pair of female representations included Viola Davis of How To Get Away With Murder (not exactly an exemplary member of the profession) and, literally, Bad Teacher (both the movie and television versions).
This is a problem. This is a very big problem. And the question is: Why does it even exist?

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