On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

3rd February 2012 at 00:00

This week: Ferris Bueller

Life moves pretty fast. Your colleagues in the staffroom may look your age, but the average age of teachers in England now is around 41. This means that there are an awful lot of school staff who were the original cinema audience for Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The classic film about flamboyant truancy was released in 1986, when today's average teacher was 16, just a tad younger than Ferris himself.

As a direct consequence, there must be many teachers who have had to fight the temptation to add a monotone "Bueller?...Bueller?...Bueller?" to the end of the register. Or have realised in horror that they have grown up to be the equivalent of the dull economics teacher or the sadistic dean of students.

Yet this week we place Ferris on the naughty step. Not because he has missed an unacceptable number of school days or because, in the opinion of educators, he is not taking his academic growth seriously. No, it's because the actor Matthew Broderick has played a grown-up homage to the character in a Honda advert. Ferris has sold out in middle age, while we are confident that his teachers at Shermer High School have stuck to their principles. What is so dangerous about a character like Ferris is he gives good kids bad ideas.

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