AUGUSTA, Maine — Before the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers had a much different set of challenges to confront, such as aliens, vampires, and '80s fashion...at least, that's what the movies would lead us to believe.
We're down to the last school day of Teacher Appreciation Week. Even if you haven't sat in a classroom in decades, a movie can put you right back there.
A lot of the best school-based movies, however, are told from the students' perspective. So, we went to the experts at the Maine Department of Education to ask how those movies might look different from a teacher's point of view.
We'll start with "The Breakfast Club," starring Judd Nelson from Portland. In a school filled with social cliques, he was branded a delinquent. The DOE staff took issue with the way the school handled his discipline issues and offered this alternative:
Hey Principal Vernon, Saturday Detention? Times have changed and we know that doesn’t work! Next time, try using some positive behavior interventions and supports! Instead of wasting your time and theirs, you will be able tap into their creative genius and individual strengths. Oh yeah, and be sure to check out the Maine DOE’s FREE Social Emotional Learning platform, SEL4ME for additional support for building a positive school community!
Next up is the Vampire love story "Twilight," starring Portland's Anna Kendrick. The DOE says to look past the fangs, offering this advice:
The Vampires in Twilight turned out to be allies, so take time to see the strengths in each person and by doing so you can build a safe and strong community!
Finally, Rachel Nichols from Augusta was smack in the middle of the culture clash of alien races on "Star Trek." About her struggles to fit in at Starfleet Academy with green skin, the DOE says:
Just as Gaila, Kirk, and Uhura come from very different backgrounds and Starfleet Academy instructors need to become familiar with those cultures, our teachers can take time to learn about students’ cultures, and use that information to design lessons that are respectful, relevant, and meaningful. Each student’s background and culture should be seen as a strength that enriches the overall classroom culture.
Sure, these examples are all a bit silly. But there is nothing silly about the hard work teachers put in each and every day. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week and thank you to all teachers for everything you do.