A Brief Rant About HBO’s Girls and Teaching

I’m a teacher.  Like, a licensed one — not just someone who popped over to South Korea and thought, “Hey, how hard can teaching be?  I bet I can do that for a year!”  I studied for four years to become a teacher.  The last semester of university, I taught full-time at a high school while taking three university courses and working a part-time job.  Furthermore, I’m an English teacher — and along with social studies teachers, the supply exceeds the demand.  There are a lot of people in the US with teaching degrees who are looking for work. 

So imagine my surprise when in this season of HBO’s Girls, Hannah Horvath just walks into a private school, asks for a job teaching advanced literature, and gets hired immediately with no experience and no qualifications.  Now, I love this show, and I think this season has been pretty great.  But for a show that prides itself on realism, I’m pretty shocked that the writers didn’t seem to notice this glaring error in the script. 

Private and charter schools can hire whom they please; however, the likelihood that there’s a substitute teacher opening in a magnet school in Brooklyn in the middle of semester and that there’s not a single qualified teacher applying for that job is remarkably slim.  I’d say close to zero.  Come on, Girls.

But there’s more.  So much more.  The minute Hannah starts having inappropriate conversations with students, her ass would be out the door faster than you can say lawsuit.  No school — even a private school — wants a teacher like that on their hands.  Too much liability! 

Principal in the show: “Hey, sweetheart, you could really use some boundaries.” 
Hannah: “Are you firing me?” *sad puppy eyes*
Principal: “Why don’t you take the day off and come back when you’re feeling better? We’ll talk about it then over hot fudge sundaes.”

Principal in real life: “You’re done here.  Pack your things.”
Hannah: “Are you firing me?” *sad puppy eyes*
Principal: “You took a minor OUT OF SCHOOL DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE SCHOOL DAY and brought her to a tattoo and piercing shop.  You’re lucky we’re not suing you.”   

My school got pissed at me and my co-coach when we took our swimmers out for dinner after the season ended (after the school hadn’t had a swim team in twenty years) because it was too much of a liability to drive them in our cars rather than have the school pay for an insured school bus.


4 thoughts on “A Brief Rant About HBO’s Girls and Teaching

  1. One of my colleagues here got fired for taking a class photo and posting it on a private online server for the kids to download with a password. Bottom line, the parents and school heard the words 'photo' and 'online' in the same sentence and went ballistic.
    Sounds like Girls got it all wrong, a program of that level should know better.


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