Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Initial Brodie Girls OLMA 1980s along with my general dislike of most teacher movies

Around 1983 PBS did a miniseries called ThePrime of Miss Jean Brodie. I didn't watch it because I had seen the 1969-70 movie in which Maggie Smith won her best actress oscar and thought I need watch no further. She was the ultimate Jean Brodie to me and this movie is the ultimate teacher movie. I generally dislike teacher movies because they tend to do one of two things; thy either make the teacher the Saviour of all ( ie, To Sir with Love) or a total buffoon and idiot (ie., Ferris Beuller), for years Carl and I disliked Dead Poets Society which I have come to like, although I still see it as a kind of poor male version of Jean Brodie but I like the director so he got me finally.  Jean Brodie should be required viewing for new teachers.  She is a stunning and remarkable influence,her girls are hers for life, they know art and culture and things many of the others do not. On the other hand, she is an utter fool when it comes to Franco and that lover of hers who died on Flanders Field. Not to mention that affair with the art teacher who had about a dozen Catholic kids and was never going to leave his wife and then her influence does real harm. I won't spoil the story here.  The movie is pretty faithful but leaves out the frame story where Sandy is a psychologist and nun.  Jean is a fool and yet an inspiring teacher. She can be dangerous and she doesn't even know it. We should take a warning from her; we don't have to be having an affair with another art teacher or support Franco or later the Nazis or something but we need to be careful of what we say and do. We are influences on students we have no idea of how much we meant to them. Those quiet gentle kids sit there and soak up things and sometimes are so affected and we don't know it. Sometimes someone who does not like you, really does or does later.

My girls at Our Lady of Mercy Academy had watched the miniseries.  They liked to do Brit accents and for them I was their Jean Brodie and they were the Brodie set. I bet you know who you are: I keep up and know at least one of you is a judge and two more are lawyers and one more a psychologist. You called yourselves my Brodie girls and I said, " You are the creme de la creme of Our Lady of Mercy Academy...I am in the business of putting old heads on young shoulders. ... Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she is mine for life."  They enjoyed it and I played along.

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