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Pop Goes the Educator


Popular culture's depiction of teachers and ESPs has been as fickle as a federal mandate.


Story by Cynthia Kopkowski; research by Maren MacIntyre and Danielle Taylor

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When Art Imitates Life

Mark Campayno, a music teacher from Sterling, Virginia, is much calmer than frenetic actor Jack Black, but like Black's character in School of Rock, Campayno teaches his students everything from Ozzy Ozbourne and Jimi Hendrix to the Beatles and Oasis.

Read more about the real-life School of Rock teacher.

Pop Goes the Educator

Popular culture's depiction of teachers and ESPs has been as fickle as a federal mandate.

Story by Cynthia Kopkowski; research by Maren MacIntyre and Danielle Taylor


Hollywood's overall take on the profession has been a mixed bag, to say the least. For every Dead Poets Society there's a Back to School. The music business has been equally schizophrenic, turning out tunes in which teachers appear either as cool role models or as cruel taskmasters or unprofessional vixens. Even when the teachers portrayed are noble characters, it can be damaging. "The theme that has persisted is the teacher as individual—hero or buffoon—but never collaborative," says Barbara Beyerbach, an NEA member and professor studying teachers in pop culture.

Click here to take a look at how the purveyors of pop culture have drawn you over the past six decades

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21-Oct-07