'Tis that special time of year when teachers of all shapes, sizes, and ideological persuasions find themselves humming Alice Cooper. Even for those of us who teach summer programs, June, July, and August just feel more relaxed.
Part of my summer recreation is catching up on all the television I miss during the year because it comes on after 9 p.m. I feel secure enough in this education forum to confess that I cannot watch television shows that begin after 9 p.m. I fall asleep right there on the couch. Teaching requires early rising and to compensate, I take to my bed around 9 p.m. So, no, friends with jobs outside of education, I didn’t see Lost or Grey’s Anatomy or House or…or…or…I read the reviews in the paper and then I catch up via Netflix or Hulu during the summer. (Oh, yeah, I don’t have a TiVo either. Truly lame public educator here…)
So as I clicked through Hulu for things I’ve missed, I stumbled upon Glee. I’d seen a little bit about it in the papers, but I’d written it off as a branch of the doesn't-interest-me High School Musical tree. Then this blurb on the Fox website caught my eye: “Will Schuester, a young optimistic teacher, has offered to take on the Herculean task of restoring McKinley's Glee Club to its former glory. Everyone around him thinks he's nuts. He's out to prove them all wrong.” “A young optimistic teacher?” There’s going to be a television show about an optimistic teacher? Now I could write volumes about how teachers (especially English teachers) have been portrayed in television and movies, but suffice it to say that the more favorable portrayals of teachers show us as resilient under trying circumstances. Optimistic? I don’t think I had ever seen the media group “optimistic” with “teacher,” so I gave Glee a whirl.
Please watch it. We deserve an hour like Glee provides at the end of the school year. It fictionalizes high school just enough. It’s like Election without the bitterness, the Best in Show for high school show choirs. It’s affectionate. It’s effervescent. It makes me want to go see a high school choir competition. It reminds me why I pray my son joins band or choir. The series won’t begin until the fall, but I’m already looking forward to catching up on episodes next summer…