Six people who would make great English teachers

Photo from via MorguefileI’ve never played Fantasy Football, but I understand it involves creating an ideal squad of players. Following another suggestion from Hall Houston I’ve created for this site a “Fantasy Staff Room” – six people I’d love to see as English teachers in an imaginary language school. Here they are, along with what kind of class I’d assign them.

1. Barack Obama, current U.S. President – I’d put Obama in charge of the large classes, especially the low level mixed ability ones. Regardless of how much English they learn he would give them hope to keep going (and keep coming back). Yes we can!

2. Margaret Atwood, Booker-winning Canadian author – Atwood would teach the higher level classes, and have a special class on writing skills. I get the feeling she would be a calming influence on the students and the staff, although someone told me she might be a bit strict.

3. Robin Williams, American comedian and actor – Despite Scott Thornbury’s comments about Dead Poet’s Society (see them here), I still have a soft spot for Robin Williams as an English teacher. He would get the intermediate classes, especially the teenager groups. He’d be fun to have around at the staff party too.

4. Helen Mirren, English actor – I realise that many students still (mistakenly) want to learn the Queen’s English. I personally think the Queen would be an awfully boring English teacher, but Helen Mirren would be great! She would get an advanced pronunciation class for  snobby aspiring students.

5. Javier Bardem, Spanish actor – Let it not be said that I am discriminating against non native English teachers! Javier Bardem would get a couple of elementary classes. Plus he’d be a draw for the female students (most language students are, anyway, female). I would also make him the union rep (he’s got the right politics) and I think he’d be great to go for a beer with after class.

6. Joni Mitchell, Canadian folk singer. I wanted a singer to round off the staff room. Joni Mitchell would be my choice. She would organise the school sing-a-long during the summer course (outside, around a fire, with a guitar of course) and be another calming, motivating teacher. Plus she could paint the staff room walls and design the school brochures. Yeah, another Canadian I know… my bias is showing through here.

So, two Americans, two Canadians, one Englishwoman and a Spaniard. I’m only allowed six though, but it doesn’t mean you can’t add a comment! Who would you have as an English teacher in your Fantasy Staffroom? Post a comment (but no indecencies please!).

Published in: on February 11, 2009 at 10:19 am  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’d like to nominate Keith Richards (just the man to get hold of your “supplementary materials” for the weekend) and John Prescott (good with his fists, he can help your gang fight their way out of the mess they usually get in over the same weekend). Both of them have rather dodgey English though, what with Keith’s tendency to drawl and ramble semi-coherently, and Prezza’s heavy East Yorks accent. But I guarantee they’d both be much more fun on a night out than MuBarak and Joni, eh?!

  2. My vote is Groucho Marx. Imagine a teacher who began a lesson like this: “Before I speak, I have something important to say.” Or: “Well, Art is Art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.” Sheer genius!

    • Or how about the following sentence to teach the difference between inside and outside:
      “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

  3. Just to add to the mix – besides possibly the best two DELTA tutors in the whole world – BB and BG – how about:
    Guy Kawasaki – keynote speaker extraordinaire
    Robert Benigni – enthusiasm personified
    George Dubbya – spot the mistake
    Leonard Cohen – the metaphor king

    With BB and BG, that would be my fantasy English staffroom.

    • Like your choices, especially Leonard Cohen whom I had to rule out because it would just be one Canadian too far. And… I am so curious as to the identities of the legendary BB and BG! I will keep an eye out for them. BB and BG, if you are reading this, your trainee Candy should get a distinction on her next project/class!

  4. I guess you mean Barbara Buxton And Beth Grant. Yeah for sure the best!

  5. I certainly did mean Beth Grant and Barbara Buxton. They are astounding.

  6. I wonder if Joni Mitchell would use NLP techniques…

  7. My team:
    Simon Pegg – although learning outcomes might be disastrous, the learning process would be great fun!
    Neil Gaiman- an inspiring teacher for creative writing and story telling.
    Nick Hornby – we can expect role-plays to develop conversation skills in tricky situations. And the use of song in the language classroom.
    Damon Albarn together with Jamie Hewlett – will develop supremely cool teaching resources for the interactive whiteboard.
    And Lisa Simpson – a female should definitely be included in the list and we also need someone with proper American English. I feel she would be extremely effective at teaching grammar, providing valuable assessment and feedback.

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