The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
Miss Brodie fails to be a good teacher because she teaches on her own accord, gives her students wrong impressions, and displays unprofessional behavior towards her staff and pupils.
As a schoolteacher in Edinburgh during the 1930’s there were many rules and regulations that teachers had to adhere to in order to successfully feed the minds of their young pupils. Schoolteachers had more of a responsibility during this period than today because school was the only source of information and education that people could receive. Due to this fact, the government set strict policies and curriculums (and still do) that teachers must follow so that students could grow up to become well round individuals. Miss Brodie seemed to side step, insult or simply ignore some of the curriculum that was given, and teach her students on her own conditions. An example of this is when Miss Brodie is telling the girls that she and Miss MacKay have a radical difference in their principals of education. Miss Brodie has told Miss MacKay that the girls will be equipped with the necessary information needed to pass the end of term exams. After she says this to the headmistress, Miss Brodie says to the girls:
I trust you girls to work hard and try to scrape through (the exams), even if you learn the stuff and forget it the next day.
This statement is telling the girls that she does not believe in the required curriculum and she wouldn’t care if they have forgot it after their exams. She only wants the girls to study of these exams so that she can have an excuse to boast to Miss MacKay, seeing the girls do well in them is not her primary concern.
Another example of Miss Brodie teaching on her own accord was her lesson under the Elm tree where she told her students about her holiday in Egypt. It is evident that Miss Brodie is pretending to teach her students but trying to make it quit believable for all who look upon her shaded class when she says to her students:
Hold up your books, prop them up in you hands, in case of any intruders, we are doing out history lesson…our poetry…English grammar.
Although Miss Brodie’s lessons were somewhat educational and her students learnt new concepts and ideas, the schools during that time would not allow “freestyle teaching” because it made the students too reprehensive. By setting her own curriculum Miss Brodie lead herself to her own termination. Miss Brodie new that there were rules that needed to be followed in order to get along with the Headmistress and maintain an extensive and successful teaching career. She chose to ignore these mandatory guidelines and pursued her own fashion and material when instructing her students. This is why Miss Jean Brodie fails to be a decent teacher.
Miss Jean Brodie is a very self-centered person who likes to talk about herself to her class. She mentions to her class on several occasions that she is in the prime of her life...