So the school year’s over and I was having a funny conversation with a colleague about teachers in the media and I thought, this would make the perfect Facebook-esque quiz. And thus, I give you “Which Teacher Archetype Are You?”
1) Your philosophy on teaching:
A. Students just need to read and experience good poetry and listen to my quirky speeches and jump around on desks and they’ll be just fine.
B. Philosophy? Let me tell you about my philosophy on teaching. Back in my day, you sat in your desk, you copied down what was on the board, and you didn’t ask questions. If you’re not learning in my class, there’s something wrong with you, not with me.
C. Oh, gosh, my philosophy? Well, I could go on for hours but based on my two years in the public school system, I can safely say that all you really have to do to be a good teacher is be a good person. Care. Listen. Give gifts. 95% of the teachers at my school are bitter angry old people who hate students. That’s the reason why students aren’t successful. Also, if you only teach one class a semester and all your students are played by 30 year olds, you’ll be fine.
D: My philosophy is constantly evolving because I’m still learning and hope to continue to learn. Basically I think that in order to be a good teacher I need to model a life-long love of learning. If I want my students to be open to new ideas I have to be open to new ideas. If I want my students to take risks, I have to take risks.
2) What is your approach to classroom management?
A. I don’t have any classroom management issues. It’s probably because I’m so darn entertaining compared to the other teachers on staff. Seriously, have you heard the impressions I do? Basically I model the same disdain for authority my students wish they could express so they know I’m on their side. It’s us against the world!
B. You need to show them who’s boss. Don’t smile ’til Christmas. I find public humiliation is an effective deterrent. Sure, they may never contribute to the class in a meaningful way ever again, but at least they’re quiet. Writing lines on the board is good too. Or standing with your nose in the corner. Or the strap. We can’t use that any more? Pity.
C. Well, first I show them my wicked cool karate moves to establish street cred. Then I smile lots. Um…. I buy them stuff. I’m not really sure why a student would want to be mean to me anyway. I’m the only teacher who cares about them.
D. Compassion is important, but you also have to establish rules that are consistent and fair. Always give students a chance to save face. Never make it personal.
3) What do you do when you’re not teaching?
A. I think of great new stand-up routines so I can continue to be worshiped by my audience–er–students. I don’t really do lesson planning, I just go where the spirit takes me.
B. Drink. And talk to my cat.
C. When I’m not teaching? Oh well, I’ve taken on a second job to supply my classroom with the things my students need. I know I should probably spend more time with my family but I’m a good teacher and good teachers sacrifice things like family in order to help their students.
D. When I’m not teaching, I’m prepping new lessons, doing professional reading, and attending workshops. But I also have a life outside teaching. I run. I do yoga. I take my kids to soccer practice and I like to watch movies with my partner.
4) What do you think of technology in the classroom?
A. What do you mean? Like an overhead projector?
B. Technology? Ha! That’s what’s wrong with kids today. They’ve got their Mybook and their Facespace and their Atari game systems and it’s rotting their brains. They have no appreciation for rote memorization.
C. Sure! Technology’s great! Anything that helps me prove that I get my kids is great! It’s expensive though, so I’ll probably have to take on a third job to buy them all iPod touches.
D. It depends on what you’re using technology for. You need to be purposeful and mindful about why you are using any teaching tool whether it’s a computer or a black board.
5) Describe your approach to fashion.
A. Tweed jackets, elbows patched with corduroy.
B. I’ve worn the same clothes since 1975 and they still fit me. Ha!
C. Whatever the kids are wearing. That way they’ll know I’m cool.
D. I should never be confused with one of my students, but the level of formality kind of depends on the school.
6) What’s the best part about being a teacher?
A. Having a rapt audience who soak up everything you say like little sponges and then parrot it back to you. It’s so rewarding!
B. July and August.
C. Getting a movie deal and speaking gigs.
D. It doesn’t happen all the time, but every once in a while you have actual evidence that you’ve made some kind of a difference in a student’s life. That’s an awesome feeling.
Now total your results and check your archetype below:
Mr. Keating: Authority be damned! You laugh in the face of authority! You also show disdain for health and safety standards as is evidenced by this photograph. Your classroom is your stage, and your students are your audience, and if they don’t agree with your particular brand of eccentricity, you’ll win them over with wacky voices until they break. You’ve probably never looked at a curriculum document, and if you have, you ripped out the frontispiece and then used it as a coaster for your coffee mug.
Edna Krabappel: If this is you, please, please, please do your students a favour and quit now. Actually that plea goes for many of the archetypes on this ridiculous quiz. You long for the days when teaching involved dunce caps, writing lines on the board, corporal punishment, and general humiliation with impunity. You wear your skirt/pants hiked up much higher than is acceptable even by fashion standards of 1983 and you still don’t understand why there’s a no smoking rule in the staff room. Teaching seemed like a sweet gig to you because of the summers off but then you realized you’d have to deal with kids all day and you don’t actually like those. Oh well. Thank goodness for a strong union.
Louanne Johnson/ Erin Gruwell (or at least their movie counterparts): Sure, at first you were naive and you overdressed for your first day of teaching, but if all teachers could just be like you, the world would be a better place. You’ve been teaching for less than a year, but you have more insight in your baby finger than the rest of the staff at your school put together, because you get your students. You actually care about them, unlike everyone else on staff. Right? In fact, you care about your students so much, you will show complete disregard for professional boundaries. You will take a second job so you can afford to bribe your students with trips and chocolate bars. And you divorce your husband–if that’s what it takes–because you just love your students so so so much. And also you will quit teaching in a year or two to go on speaking tours, because let’s face it: No human being can sustain that level of intensity for more than two years.
Normal, well-adjusted, professional teacher: I’m afraid to say that you will probably never have a movie made about you, but that’s probably because you realize that what’s important is whether or not your students learn in your classroom and whether or not you treat each student equitably, and that you are accountable to parents, colleagues, and administration. You work hard every day, and continue to learn new strategies. You are reflective about your professional practice. You are a team player. You know you are accountable to all your students, and you can’t reach all of them all the time, and that doesn’t mean they get edited out of your story. You have to find a way to deal. You know that balance between your professional and private life is difficult to achieve, but important because you can’t be a good teacher if you are not a whole person.
Have a great summer, all you normal, professional, well-adjusted teachers out there. Enjoy your time off! Lord knows, you’ve earned it!
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