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Screen Lessons

What We Have Learned from Teachers on Television and in the Movies


Edited By Mary M. Dalton and Laura R. Linder

This unprecedented volume includes 30 essays by teachers and students about the teacher characters who have inspired them. Drawing on film and television texts, the authors explore screen lessons from a variety of perspectives. Arranged in topical categories, the contributors examine the "good" teacher; the "bad" teacher; gender, sexuality, and teaching; race and ethnicity in the classroom; and lessons on social class. From such familiar texts as the Harry Potter series and School of Rock to classics like Blackboard Jungle and Golden Girls to unexpected narratives such as the Van Halen music video "Hot for Teacher" and Linda Ellerbee’s Nick News, the essays are both provocative and instructive.

Courses that could use this book include Education and Popular Culture, Cultural Foundations, Popular Culture Studies, other media studies and television genre classes.

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Chapter Sixteen: “Good” Teacher as Predator: Crossing the Double Yellow Lines in Blue Car (Christian Z. Goering / Shelbie Witte)


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“Good” Teacher AS Predator

Crossing the Double Yellow Lines in Blue Car


Turn on any television news channel, and one will inevitably see a story of a teacher-student sex scandal often a female teacher accused of inappropriate and illegal involvement with a male student or students. These incidents are shocking and pervasive in popular culture, and a growing body of research indicates that these inappropriate incidents happen with more frequency than most would like to admit. Seven percent of 3.5 million students surveyed reported physical contact with a teacher during their school career, a percentage the researchers believed to be an “under-estimate” (Shakeshaft, “Educator Sexual Misconduct” 18).

As teacher educators, we are acutely aware of these issues as we work with teacher candidates preparing to enter today’s schools. While an untested assertion, the “bad” teacher narrative is kept alive within the popular psyche of Americans through the constant barrage of news reports highlighting the sexual misconduct of these teachers. We have both prepared teacher candidates in good conscience only to learn later that they have, in fact, had physical contact with their students, a revelation that horrifies us and simultaneously serves to steel our efforts to prevent future incidents. Our exploration of these issues and healthy obsession with school films—Chris teaches a course on it at the University of Arkansas and Shelbie uses school films in...

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