Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Perceptions of Teachers in Documentaries and Movies

Dr. Marci A. Malinsky.

Public perceptions of teachers are often influenced by the media. Unfortunately the "medium is often the message", and in the case of the portrayal of teachers, Hollywood in particular often reverts to stereotypes in its movies about teachers. Teachers are portrayed in positive images such as:
"The Teacher as Youthful Idealist"
"The Dedicated Tough Love Teacher"
"The Exceptional Teacher for an Exceptional Situation".
Teachers are also portrayed in negative images such as:
"Images of Incompetence and Buffoonery"
"Anybody Can Teach"
"Teaching as a Moribund Career"
"Teacher as Adversary"
"Teacher as Sexpot".
This article will attempt to give more depth to "tinseltown" images by also exploring information in the PBS documentary "Only A Teacher" which gives a history of teaching in America, current statistics on teachers in America as well as interviews of current American public school teachers.
This article will attempt to give a balanced picture of teaching in America, as well as present entertaining information about Hollywood perceptions of teachers.
Readers will have entertaining and insightful information on which to reflect, particularly if they are involved in the teaching profession themselves.


Dr. Marci A. Malinsky  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Department of Teacher Education
Arkansas State University

I am an assistant professor of teacher education at Arkansas State University. I have held this position for three years. Prior to this, I have taught in elementary schools for 28 years.

  • Hollywood Perceptions of Teachers
  • Stereotypes of Teachers
  • PBS Documentary on Teachers in America

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)