It is really reassuring to see an honest piece about the hard work of being a teacher, whilst also avoiding a bland generic sanctifying of all teachers.
If you are after a chuckle about the secret lives of teachers I would totally recommend The Staff Room.
Author and director Michelle Payne’s years as a dance teacher have paid off, she’s got a real ear for staff room gossip and natural dialogue. We have a trio of teachers a nice representation of a variety of teachers. Hilary Murnane portrays the goody two shoes, perfect teacher, vegan, anti-sugar tax History teacher Alison who believes that the children should be taught more than their school can handle. Craig Webb plays Geographer Hugo who fell into teaching, he picked Geography for the trips. Whilst he can’t quite remember his students’ names he does love telling tales about what his class get up too. Ria, played by Raye Berham wanted to be a physiotherapist, but is currently a Sports teacher who cares deeply for the wellbeing of her kids. The three actors were utterly convincing as the motley crew who are just stress-eating their way through to the end of term.
There is a ring of truth to the issues thrown at the staff, from the sad reaction of a parent discovering her daughter had an eating disorder, to the truly genius parents evening scene. We were treated to a brilliant example of how same child when viewed through the lenses of three different teachers can go from perfect student to nightmare devil. Such as the class clown who excelled at sport but drove the academics mad and the shy child who is so quiet one of the teachers doesn’t recognise them as in their class. All in between a little flirting with the single fathers. Underlying the observational comedy is the quiet message showing why it is so difficult to keep a hold of good teachers.
If you are after a chuckle about the secret lives of teachers – or if you’re still under the impression that teachers are not people but rather creatures that sleep like bats under their desks - I would totally recommend The Staff Room.