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Why Fleabag could be the perfect teacher

What will Fleabag do after season two? It's obvious – she'll turn to teaching, writes former teacher Grainne Hallahan

Why Fleabag could make the perfect teacher

There's no doubt about it, Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag is genius. 

And when it was announced that season two would be the last, the nation wondered what life would be like post-Fleabag. But it got me thinking: what would life look like for her? 

Could she open up more guinea-pig cafes across London? Could she be inspired by the Sexy Priest and turn to the Church?

Or could she, even, turn to teaching? After all, when looking at the government's teacher standards, it's clear she's got all the necessary skills... 

Fleabag is quick-thinking and resourceful

Teachers should…

  • manage classes effectively, using approaches that are appropriate to pupils’ needs in order to involve and motivate them;

  • maintain good relationships with pupils, exercise appropriate authority, and act decisively when necessary.

I have no doubt Fleabag would be an absolute demon when it came to behaviour management. Unexpected cover period five? She’s got this. Unplanned fire drill during PE changing time? No worries. It doesn’t matter what happens, she uses her quick thinking and resourcefulness to problem-solve her way out of the situation. Her sister had a miscarriage and she fashioned something "with wings" out of paper towels. A valuable award was smashed to smithereens, and she replaced it before anyone even had time to notice or panic.

Other evidence: see continuous resourcefulness when confronted by a series of unexpected arrivals in season two episode five.

Areas for development: Fleabag should try to avoid breaking the law and bringing the profession into disrepute when problem-solving.

Fleabag can set and maintain clearly defined standards

Teachers should…

  • have clear rules and routines for behaviour in classrooms, and take responsibility for promoting good and courteous behaviour both in classrooms and around the school, in accordance with the school’s behaviour policy;
  • maintain good relationships with pupils, exercise appropriate authority, and act decisively when necessary.

Her standards may be different to those of other people, but she keeps to them. She’s able to maintain consistency, which is something we all aim for in the classroom.

As season two starts, we can see a very different Fleabag to season one. And she’s made some positive changes, and there are clear rules now. And she’s sticking to them.

We’ve also seen what happens when those around her don’t live up to the standards she expects. Creepy Martin found this out when she punched him for one shitty dig too far.

Other evidence: Harry was clearly well-trained – lots of classroom routine there. You don’t get total obedience as good as that without putting the hours in.

Areas for development: it would be wise to get her sanctions out of the 1970s. She needs to be less corporal, more child-appropriate.


Fleabag is able to assess students’ work and make accurate judgements

Teachers should…

  • know and understand how to assess the relevant subject and curriculum areas, including statutory assessment requirements.

Our Fleabag has the measure of people. She predicted the sexual predilections of repulsive Martin, foresaw her godmother’s intentions towards her father, and knew what was going to happen with Sexy Priest before he even realised himself. She could take a look at an exam paper, have a big sniff and tell you the grade.

Yes, sometimes she gets it wrong. Arsehole Guy wasn’t falling in love with her. And her sister’s hairdresser had not deviated from the source material. But when faced with errors, she takes them in her stride and rolls with it.

Other evidence: picking her own father’s penis out of an array of different plaster cast phalluses has to qualify her as some kind of senior examiner. With intuition like that, you don’t need indicative content and a mark scheme.

Areas for development: None. I expect her to be rewriting the assessment policy in term two.

Fleabag is excellent at fulfilling pastoral duties

Teachers should…

  • have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs; those of high ability; those with English as an additional language; those with disabilities; and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them.

If chatty Wednesdays and quiet Tuesdays aren't differentiation at its finest, then I’m happy to hand my QTS certificate back right now. Fleabag deals with the cafe customers with a kindness that not all of them deserve (I’m looking at you, yoga lady who screamed at the guinea pig) and is definitely adapting her approach to meet the needs of her customers.

She even operates without holding a grudge, which is one of the toughest things to learn in your training year. The bank manager has clearly made outstanding progress under the guidance of Fleabag – I’ve not heard him call anyone a slut since they struck up their friendship. I’m not quite sure how you would evidence that for Ofsted, but we could give it a bloody good try.

Other evidence: if you can sit through a dinner with the godmother detailing her "Sexhibition", you can get through any parent meeting.

Areas for development: offer CPD in guinea pig care. All classrooms should have guinea pigs.

Grainne Hallahan is a senior content writer at Tes. Before that, she was an English teacher for 10 years 

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