R-Rated Firing

A teacher in Gwinnett County has been fired for showing Elizabeth in class. The movie is about Queen Elizabeth I of England and is one of my all time favorite movies — I think I’ve seen it over thirty times. Details are here.

The movie is not entirely historically accurate, but for the most part conveys the themes and timeline fairly well. My problem is that teachers have a growing tendency to rely on Hollywood to teach class. When I was in high school back in the early nineties, I had one teacher in particular who preferred to show movies than teach.

While students might enjoy it, the practice educates students in Hollywood’s version of history and not actual history.


  1. Georgia ranks near the bottom nationally in virtually every educational assessment. We have a shortage of teachers and, more specifically, good teachers. Due to the amount of “crap” that educators have to put up with on a daily basis, teaching has become unbearable for all but the most committed.

    This man had served the state of Georgia as a teacher for 37 years, and was, by all accounts, a good teacher. After being questioned about this incident he was reportedly given five minutes to resign or face termination. If this is the way the state of Georgia is going to treat quality teachers, I would certainly expect our public education woes to continue.

  2. And he wasn’t being fired for the act of educating by showing movies, but because of a particular movie he chose. I think it’s odd that they’ll fire someone for showing one “obscene” movie but there could be other teachers at the school who show a non-class related movie once a week and that doesn’t raise an eyebrow.

    Overreliance on anything is generally a bad educational strategy, particularly movies. However, I bet there are a lot of kids who will never be exposed to Shakespeare (for example) other than a book they will never read because the school either can’t afford to send them to attend a play or maybe there is nowhere even offering that type of entertainment and culture in their area. In that situation, showing one of the many critically acclaimed movie adaptations of his work would be ok.

    Similarly, a music teacher could rely on a cd to augment other studies, or they might watch “Chicago” or one of the other musicals from recent years to add another dimension to the classroom material. Regardless, it sounds like this guy got a raw deal but we often learn more details as these types of cases develop that we didn’t get from the original AJC story.

  3. GAWire says:

    Well, I guess me suggesting that kids should consider picking up a book every now and then is totally irrelivant, huh?

  4. Pappy says:

    “Well, I guess me suggesting that kids should consider picking up a book every now and then is totally irrelivant, huh?”

    Yeah because no one’s ever written a dirty book. 😉

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