Documentaries, Biopics, and Reality Television
Chapter 2. “But No One Taught Me”: An Educational Mockumentary
| 29 →
“BUT NO ONE TAUGHT ME”
An Educational Mockumentary*
I am sometimes asked at conferences what genre has the best hope of capturing the realities of teaching if the documentary genre cannot. I answer that mockumentaries might offer the best representations of what it is like to be a teacher. Mockumentaries, which pull codes from the documentary and fictional film genres, such as interviews, a narrative structure, and unscripted scenes, distance themselves from the audience’s expectations for both genres—namely, to present the objective truth as well as to sustain a traditional narrative structure. Promoting itself with the slogan “Real Teaching Leaves Its Mark,” the 2006 mockumentary Chalk (Akel & Mass, 2006) engaged conventions from both genres in order to uncover, perhaps facetiously, why 50% of teachers quit within the first three years.
Chalk, whose storyline follows three teachers and an administrator over the course of a school year, employs the postmodern strategies of the mockumentary to challenge the notion that teachers in the cinematic world quit, are fired, or persevere in the profession because of one, or a series of, life-changing event(s). Just as postmodern curriculum theory tries to dislodge ← 29 | 30 → education’s adherence to modernist teaching strategies (such as the tendency for desks to be arranged in rows facing the teacher, for teachers to deliver only whole-group lectures, or for strict implementation of a mandated curriculum), a mockumentary relies on postmodern cinematic strategies, such as the...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.