Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

How to Take A Snubbing!

January 15, 2020


Being snubbed is par for the course in education. Experienced and highly capable teachers are often overlooked for leadership roles at the expense of rawer and less experienced colleagues. Teachers are also often kept on one-year deals when they have their heart set on more permanent arrangements.

Students also get snubbed. Some miss out on scholarships and awards, whilst others are left bewildered and dejected when they find out they aren’t school captain after all.

I guess that’s life. Disappointment is a reality of the world we live in. Not everything has to make sense to us.

It then becomes a question of how we deal with the disappointment.

The Answer: Do an Adam Sandler!

Adam Sandler has issued a lighthearted reaction after his critically acclaimed performance in Uncut Gems was snubbed by the Oscars.

This year’s set of nominations has attracted criticism for its lack of diversity, and for overlooking a number of films that received rave reviews from critics. 

Among them was Sandler’s role as charismatic jeweller Howard Ratner, who works in the Manhattan diamond district. The role was widely held as proof that Sandler was capable of more than just goofball comedies. 

In a response, Sandler joked on Twitter that he was happy he no longer had to wear suits to awards ceremonies, and also shouted out his former Waterboy co-star Kathy Bates. 

“Bad news: Sandman gets no love from the Academy,” he began. “Good news: Sandman can stop wearing suits. Congrats to all my friends who got nominated, especially mama.”


Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.


Imagine if the Best Picture Nominees Were About Teaching

January 14, 2020





“Ford v Ferrari” – An expose about what car a successful teacher can afford compared to a successful YouTube makeup vlogger
“The Irishman” – An Irish teacher’s anti-ageing efforts are undone by the fact that he is a Primary school teacher.
“Jojo Rabbit” – A horror film about the accidental murder of a beloved class pet at the hands of an errant crayon.
“Joker” – A dark psychological portrait about the slow, psychotic disintegration of an unloved and self-destructive Minister of Education.
“Little Women” – A sci-fi set in a utopian world where girls are encouraged to do STEM subjects.
“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” – The story of a teacher who wishes he had a stunt double to negotiate the pushing and shoving in a narrow school corridor.
“Marriage Story” – A searing drama about the relationship breakdown of an educator and her Assistant Principal after the tumult of a nasty parent email.
“Parasite” – A biographical film about the person who invented standardized testing.
“1917” – An examination of the last year teachers got a pay rise.

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

A Marriage Story: Brilliant, Yet Bleak

January 10, 2020


I have long been arguing that we have taken the toll of divorce on children for granted (a theme central to my novel, “My Favourite Comedian”). Many claim that since it is so commonplace, divorce is less a tragic occurrence and more a reality of life. If most children have to go through it, it can’t be that bad, right?

I don’t subscribe to that theory. In fact, whilst there are often very good reasons for divorce and in many cases, the children are arguably better off, the effects of a family break down is as difficult for children now as it has ever been.

Enter Netflix’s masterpiece, A Marriage Story. A movie that couldn’t even spare one scene depicting the perspective of a child in the midst of a giant tug-of-war over rights to his upbringing. Not one!

This film is far more interested in the thoughts and needs of his parents. Parents who are decent people on the surface, but who have been racked with self-interest and continue to be. One had an affair, the other basically got bored and was feeling unimportant. Bad decisions were being made on both sides, with the power divested in terribly immoral lawyers continuing the trend of decisions made with self-interest trumping what is really best for the child.

The movie is quite brilliant. It captures the end of a marriage with great insight and the acting is brilliant. It is also a stark essay on the selfishness of the contemporary person.

Selfishness that I would argue does nothing for the child and his development.


Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

The Golden Globes: The Teacher Version

January 6, 2020

The nominations are in for the following awards:


Most Discrete Check of Facebook During a Lesson

Most Overdone Hanging Classroom Display

Best Aide in a Slightly More than Supportive Role

The Chiropractic Award for Longest Mat Session

Best Sledge Against a Photocopier with a Paper Jam

Most Food Ingested in a 2-Minute Lunch Break

Best Job of Living Just Above the Poverty Line

Acting award for the Teacher who Best Pretends to be Awake During a Professional Development Session

Most Coffee Consumed During a School Day

Biggest Purchase of Stationery by a Teacher Using Their Own Money

Most Repetition of a Basic Instruction

Most Creative Use of the 1-Metre Ruler


Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

The Real “Mean Girls”

July 3, 2014



It is of no surprise that the 2004 Hollywood movie, Mean Girls, went on to become a major hit. It clearly struck a raw nerve with teens and adults alike. Ask any female adult whether mean girls haunted their school corridors and infiltrated their classrooms and cafeterias, the answer will invariably be, “Unfortunately, yes.”

The problem with the movie, in real terms, is that it offered stereotypical characters and no solutions. For a film that so many could relate to, it was disappointing that it had precious little of substance. Good for a laugh and perceptive at times, but not much an impressionable child could take from it. It is of no coincidence that a student in my school followed the lead of the villain rather than the heroine and compiled a “Burn Book” (a notebook filled with rumors, secrets, and gossip about the other girls and some teachers), just like the one featured in the film.

Enter Mike Feurstein!

For those of you who don’t know, I have been a huge advocate of Mike’s from his first groundbreaking anti-bullying film, How to UnMake a Bully, onwards. He has since made 5 other anti-bullying movies, making him one of, if not the most, prominent figure in this genre. His films are able to expertly get to the heart of everyday social and emotional challenges met by a great many children, and quite brilliantly assist in providing advise and sound methodology without coming across preachy or tacky.

I have since been able to work with him personally, and have seen how he bases his narrative on the experiences of his cast and involves them in all aspects of the film making process such as  lighting and sound.

In this, the 6th entry into the UnMake series, he gets to the heart of the Mean Girls experience and offers a great platform for its young viewers to reflect on their attitudes and behaviours as well as motivating them to consider a positive approach to dealing with this issue. It’s comparisons of the erosion of friendships to that of the earth is a masterstroke!

I recommend this film strongly to teachers and parents:


Click on the link to read Anti-Bullying Song Goes Viral

Click on the link to read Some Schools Just Don’t Get it When it Comes to Bullying

Click on the link to read The Bystander Experiment (Video)

Click on the link to read Tips for Managing Workplace Bullying

Click on the link to read 12,000 Students a Year Change Schools Due to Bullying

Click on the link to read The Devastating Effects of Bullying (Video)

Click on the link to read Sickening Video of Girl Being Bullied for Having Ginger Hair

The Education Version of Groundhog Day (Updated)

February 3, 2014


groundhog day

In the classic 1993 Bill Murray film Groundhog Day, Murray was forced to relive the same day over and over again until he learned from his mistakes.  Whilst only a light-hearted comedy on the surface, Groundhog Day was a timely reminder that mistakes and its consequences are repeated over and over again until they are learned from.

Every time the curriculum changes I think of Groundhog Day.  I’ve only been a teacher for a short time, yet already I have seen the curriculum change 4 times.  First it was the CSF, then it became the CSF 2, followed soon after by VELS. And the curriculum has recently been changed yet again!

And this time it’s a National Curriculum – and it stinks!

Why do they do it to us?  Just when you get used to one curriculum, they change it from another.

The cynic in me says the Government is bereft of ideas.  They know that education outcomes are underwhelming, that there isn’t much satisfaction in the quality of schools and performance indicators are not painting a rosy picture.  Yet, they don’t have a clue what to do about it.  They neither have the money, vision or gumption to make any real change, so they go for the obvious alternative – perceived change.

When asked to reflect on their achievements in Education, the former Government proudly pointed to overhauling the curriculum.  They triumphantly declared that by introducing a national curriculum, they were able to do what previous administrations couldn’t.

But they will know the truth all along – you can’t change the fortunes of an ailing academic record by altering and renaming a curriculum.  In fact, from my experience you can’t expect any change at all. Unless it is change for the negative.

Even if my cynical take is wrong, and there is some good intention behind this new curriculum, it doesn’t seem to be adding anything of substance.  A bit more grammar, a deeper focus on handwriting and a greater emphasis on history sounds good.  But when it comes down to it, it is just like my boss said both this time and last time and the time before that, “Don’t worry. It is going to be very similar to our current curriculum.”

The same mistakes over and over again …


Click on the link to read Adding Sex Education to the Curriculum Comes at the Expense of Something Else

Have Our Children Stopped Dreaming?

December 19, 2013


I’ve thought it all out. We’re going to
live on a horse ranch, my husband and I.
I’ll work for NASA. And my husband…
he’ll do something completely different.
And we’ll offset each other. Like we’ll
have some things in common but we’ll also
have all these other dimensions that we
bring to the relationship. And that’s how
I know it’ll work.
Sounds like a dream.
(right back at him)
It’s good to have dreams. Don’t you

Above is dialogue from the best teenage drama I have seen in many years, The Spectacular Now.

It got me thinking. Do our children have dreams like our parents did? Like we did?

The generation of the moon landing always remind us that the event of man on the moon was not the main cause of celebration – it was the feeling that if we can walk on the moon, we can achieve anything we put our mind to.

Maybe those ambitions and dreams were dashed, leaving my generation feeling less convinced that vision and the determination to see it come to fruition is enough to make it happen. We still had dreams, but perhaps our faith in our capacity to see it through brought on a more lackluster work ethic and more brittle resolve.

Today’s children seem to have taken on our worst habits and abandoned the thirst for achieving something special. They don’t seem to know what they want to be or want to do. They often seem to lack the spark of self-belief to even contemplate achieving something monumental, or at least unique.

You might think I am being pessimistic when it comes to the next generation and their prospects for the future. This is certainly not the case. I have so much faith in our young. They have so much to offer and are extremely willing to learn. They just need to be ignited – to start believing again.

And they don’t need a moon landing or a Mars mission to get them dreaming again. They just need to look at their parents and teachers and role models and feel assured by what they see. If they see us living lives of integrity, taking smart risks, following our dreams, taking pleasure in our lives, they will understand that the hard work required is for a good reason. An achievable reason.We don’t want to raise a generation of children that shelves dreams in preference for the safe and boring road.

It’s up to us.

Kids Films You Might Regret Sharing with Your Children

December 11, 2013





Courtesy of Betsy Bozdech:

  • Bambi
    Why you should watch out: Bambi’s mother’s death takes place offscreen, but it’s still the first thing most viewers remember, even decades later. Bambi’s subsequent frantic search for her is almost as upsetting. Read the full review.


  • 2
    Why you should watch out: Dumbo’s mother doesn’t die, but she’s cruelly separated from him after she’s provoked into a scary rampage. The follow-up scene in which she cradles him with her trunk through the bars of her cage window is gut-wrenching. Read the full review.


  • 3
    Finding Nemo
    Why you should watch out: Some parents we know just skip the first scene of this movie altogether until their kids are old enough to handle Nemo’s mom’s untimely demise at the jaws of a menacing predator fish. Read the full review.


  • 4
    The Land Before Time
    Why you should watch out: Young dinosaur Littlefoot’s mother is killed by an aggressive T-rex in this otherwise generally upbeat prehistoric adventure. Read the full review.


  • 5
    The Lion King
    Why you should watch out: Not only does Simba’s dad get trampled to death by a herd of stampeding wildebeests, but Simba unfairly blames himself for the tragedy. Read the full review.


  • 6
    Why you should watch out: This story about a family dealing with divorce and remarriage takes a tragic turn when the kids’ mom is diagnosed with fatal cancer. Read the full review.


  • 7
    We Bought a Zoo
    Why you should watch out: Here, the mom passed away six months before the movie begins, but the impact on her family is very much in evidence. Sometimes watching characters deal with grief can be even more painful than the death itself. Read the full review.


  • 8
    Why you should watch out: While Ellie isn’t a parent (which is another emotional aspect of the movie), her death at the end of an extremely poignant montage early in the film has a powerful impact. Read the full review.


  • 9
    Bridge to Terabithia
    Why you should watch out: Anyone who’s read the book that this touching drama is based on knows what’s in store for fearless, imaginative Leslie — misfit Jess’ only friend — but those expecting a fantasy adventure à la Harry Potter should be warned: Tragedy ahead! Read the full review.


  • 10
    Grave of the Fireflies
    Why you should watch out: Beautifully animated but unrelentingly sad, this heartbreaking WWII-set anime tale centers on two children — brother and sister — who sicken and die. Read the full review.


  • 11
    My Girl
    Why you should watch out: The unexpected death of preteen Vada’s best friend (by bee sting, no less) hits many kids very hard, especially since much of the rest of the movie has a sweetly nostalgic feel. Read the full review.


  • 12
    The Odd Life of Timothy Green
    Why you should watch out: Technically Timothy doesn’t die, but he disappears forever, causing pain for those who loved him, which can be just as hard for kids to deal with. Read the full review.


  • 13
    Why you should watch out: No, E.T. isn’t exactly a child, and no, he doesn’t really die — but for a few moments, it seems as if he has, and those few moments can be enough to send young fans of the spunky little alien into a tailspin. Also, plenty of kids who love the little alien are still afraid that he might be living with their stuffed animals in the closet… Read the full review.


  • 14
    Charlotte’s Web
    Why you should watch out: When Wilbur’s dear friend and constant champion weaves her last web after doing so much for others, many kids are caught unprepared. Read the full review.


  • 15
    Marley & Me
    Why you should watch out: Many families decided to watch this based-on-a-true-story tale because of ads featuring silly dog antics… and were left distraught by Marley’s sad death. Read the full review.


Ron Burgundy Gets School Named After Him (Video)

December 7, 2013



Click on the link to read Nine-Year-Old Stands Up for His School (Video)

Click on the link to read Inspiring Kids who Look After a Sick Parent

Click on the link to read The Perfect Example of Courage and Self-Respect

Click on the link to read Woman Re-Mortagages Her House To Feed School Kids

Click on the link to read Insensitive ‘Parent Bashers’ Take Aim at Grieving Colorado Parents

The Teacher Than Inspired Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann

May 26, 2013


I love stories about inspiring teachers. What makes this teacher’s story so special is that she inspired one of my countries most loved and respected filmmakers:

FILM director Baz Luhrmann’s career could have turned out very differently had it not been for his English teacher at Narrabeen High School.

Lorraine Bowan took Mark Anthony “Baz” Luhrmann to his first Shakespeare play.

And when Luhrmann prepared for his first audition for the National Institute of Dramatic at the age of 18, she helped him. But, most importantly, Ms Bowan brought him back to class when he dropped out of school in Year 11 to work in a Mona Vale shop.

She was doing the morning roll and when she realised Luhrmann was not in class, a student told her he had quit school to take up work at a shop.

“Straight after school I drove up to Mona Vale to find him and said, ‘Mark, what the hell are you doing? Make sure you’re back in class tomorrow’,” she said.

While Ms Bowan later forgot about the episode, Luhrmann recounted it up in front of all the guests at a party she attended at his Darlinghurst home about 10 years ago.

“He said ‘you’re responsible for what I’m doing now’,” she said.

“It’s very nice that he remembers me in that way.”


Click on the link to read Proof that Teachers Care

Click on the link to read The Short Video You MUST Watch!

Click on the link to read Is There a Greater Tragedy than a School Tragedy?

Click on the link to read School Shooting Showcases the Heroic Nature of Brilliant Teachers

Click on the link to read Meet the Armless Math Teacher

Click on the link to read The Case of a Teacher Suspended for Showing Integrity


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