For teachers everywhere, the Christmas holidays looked set to be just a quiet, minimal affair…and then Netflix dropped new Regency series Bridgerton on us.
Bridgerton has everything I could ask for: huge pastel-hued dresses, a constant level of scandal not seen since Gossip Girl, and Ariana Grande songs played on harps.
I love it. My friends love it. In fact, it seems everyone loves it, because it’s now the fifth most-watched series in Netflix history.
You may think that educators can learn nothing from the ’Ton’s residents, but I think the show has plenty of lessons that can be taken away by locked-down teachers everywhere. So let us make haste and see what Lady Whistledown’s favourites can teach us…
Bridgerton: Four lessons for teachers
1. Dress to impress
Bridgerton (almost) left me wanting to bin my hoodie collection and embrace a life of ribbons, corsets and trips to Modiste.
When working from home, it can be hard to see the point of dressing nicely, because you know that everyone will only see your head and shoulders. But there’s power in clothing.
Wearing a fitted blazer, some nice earrings or a smart tie will not only help you feel like you’re in control and ready to face another day at the Zoom-face, but it will also keep you proposal-ready at all times.
2. Shall we promenade?
We all know that exercise is great for our mental and physical health, but it can be hard to make the effort to leave the house in drizzly January.
However, we need some time away from screens, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the ’Ton, it’s that a promenade can fix almost anything.
Lacking inspiration? Promenade. Tired of everyone at home? Promenade. Got to pretend to high society that, between delivering online lessons, you’ve fallen in love with a dashing, wealthy duke? Promenade!
3. Avoid overreactions (and duels)
Clearly, the establishments love an overreaction. The ridiculous consequences of Simon’s quick kiss in a garden – which included a duel, a forced engagement and begging the actual queen for a wedding licence – had me wishing that everyone would just take a minute to stop and think rationally.
Lockdown can magnify tiny problems and make them seem overwhelming. But try to find time to step back and reflect on what needs effort and attention, instead of pointlessly duelling with everything that comes your way.
4. Be a Danbury, not a Featherington
Almost every scene with the Featherington family leaves me exasperated. That house is chaotic, and leading it all is Lady Featherington. Her terrible schemes, inability to manage anyone, and poor communication skills are an extreme example of what happens when you don’t have high standards and clear rules.
Compare this with Lady Danbury, my new warm/strict icon. She speaks from experience and is supportive, but takes precisely zero nonsense.
Without a physical classroom to command, it can feel as if you’re not really leading anything. But your students still need those expectations, boundaries and support systems that you’ve spent months building.
Just remember that, as Lady D herself says: “When you step into the light, you will be worthy of the attention you command.”
Lauran Hampshire-Dell is a teacher and tutor