Everything I Learned About the American Education System I Learned From The Simpsons–Extra Mile Teachers


The link to the video is here.

In this episode

Springfield Elementary School holds a fund-raising auction, announced as “Drowning in Debt” on the school’s marquee sign. Bart, seeing an opportunity for mischief, pulls a prank via phone, telling auctioneer Principal Skinner that he’s an English widow called Edith Knickertwist. He places bids of thousands of dollars on each item in the auction, meaning that the school would have raised $116,000 had the bids been real. However, Bart reveals the prank in front of everyone attending the auction, disgusting the parents and teachers and publicly embarrassing Skinner. The next morning, Superintendent Chalmers confronts Skinner over his handling of the auction, calling him “a nitwit in an ill-fitting suit”. At this, Skinner is finally pushed over the edge, loses his temper, and challenges Chalmers to take over Bart’s education if he thinks it’s so easy. Chalmers accepts the challenge, promising that “For once, that boy is going to learn something.”

Bart’s new education, Chalmers-style, begins at the Springfield Library and the topic is American history. Chalmers is appalled when Bart only recognizes a few of the Presidents, but he sees a picture of Theodore Roosevelt and an idea comes to him. He asks Bart, “What if I told you there was a President who was an actual cowboy?” Bart says that he would only pretend to be interested, but Chalmers figures that’s a good enough place to start. After reading books and watching an online multimedia presentation about Roosevelt, Bart is genuinely interested in him and is impressed that he was once shot by a saloon keeper while giving a speech, yet still finished it. For the first time in his life, Bart wants to learn more, and Chalmers is pleased with his success.

Bart’s enthusiasm about Teddy Roosevelt spills over onto Jimbo, Nelson, Dolph and Milhouse. Bart asks Chalmers if they can join in their studies. Chalmers readily agrees, and says that the group will take an overnight trip into Springfield Forest to search for Roosevelt’s legendary lost pair of spectacles. Nelson finds them in a ditch, but falls in and is slightly injured. Mrs. Muntz sues the school, and State Comptroller Atkins fires Chalmers for taking the boys on an unauthorized field trip.

Back in regular class, Bart finds learning out of a book to be unappealing. When Mrs. Krabappel calls on him to answer a question about rocks, Bart complains that Superintendent Chalmers would actually have taken them outside to see the rocks. Walking home from school, Bart sees Chalmers fishing and asks him what Teddy Roosevelt would do. Dejected, Chalmers says that he’s no Teddy Roosevelt, nor even Kermit Roosevelt, which shocks Bart. He reunites the Roosevelt study group (with the addition of Kearney) and they meet in Bart’s treehouse. Bart announces the formation of the Brotherhood of the Spectacles, whose mission is to get Superintendent Chalmers his job back. Bart then states his plan is to take over the entire school, and not give it up until Chalmers is reinstated.

The next morning, the group goes into action: While Jimbo distracts the receptionist, Bart sneaks into Principal Skinner’s office, gets on the PA system, and announces that a car in the teachers’ lot has its headlights on. The announcement (along with Bart’s description, which could fit any of the teachers’ cars) causes all the teachers to leave the building to check on their cars. After the teachers leave, the Brotherhood lock the doors and windows, holding the rest of the students hostage. (Brotherhood member Milhouse, however, is ordered to take a nap, on the grounds that he’ll get cranky if he doesn’t have one.) Bart gets on the PA again and informs the locked-out teachers of the takeover. Skinner tries to break the door down by having Groundskeeper Willie drive at it in his tractor. However, Nelson and Dolph threaten to drop the school’s photocopier out the window, and Skinner calls Willie off because the photocopier has a thirty-year mortgage on it. The police and the media quickly surround the school, and a standoff ensues. Kent Brockman, interviewing Homer and Marge on location at the school, reports the lockdown on Channel 6 News. Chief Wiggum refuses to negotiate, and the Brotherhood refuse to leave until Chalmers has his job back. Chalmers arrives on the scene and asks to speak to Bart.

Chalmers tells Bart it’s time for them to stand down, and adds that Bart has changed from “a thick pile of infractions” to a young man “who I am proud to call my disciplinary problem”. Bart appreciates the compliment, but still refuses to leave until Chalmers has his job back. The police are about to storm the school when Chief Wiggum drops his pistol, which goes off and shoots State Comptroller Atkins in the leg. As Atkins rolls on the ground in agony, clutching his leg, he not only restores Chalmers to his position, but also gives him a promotion, to “Super-duper-intendent”. With their demand met, the Brotherhood of the Spectacles open the doors and release the hostage students, ending the standoff. Milhouse, however, not realizing that the standoff is over, and also having missed his nap, pushes the photocopier out the window.


What I took from this episode was how Chalmers did not follow the typical method of teaching or reaching out to Bart.  He realized that the traditional methods did work, so Chalmers went the extra mile to teach Bart and the bullies.  He went outside the classroom, he had sit downs, they went on an awesome field trip.  He made learning personal, relatable, and interesting.  By going the extra mile, Chalmers was able to Bart and the boys.

So as far a real life application, we might not be able to give this kind of special attention to every student, but the idea of going the extra mile in our future teaching is the moral of the story.  If we see an opening to go the extra mile, we shouldn’t lose that opportunity.  Seize it, and run with it, and see what great impact you can make on your future students.


About jamesthoughtsblog

I like turtles!

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