Some teachers just don’t give an F. For example, there’s Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz). She’s foul-mouthed, ruthless, and inappropriate. She drinks, she gets high, and she can’t wait to marry her meal ticket and get out of her bogus day job. When she’s dumped by her fiancé, she sets her plan in motion to win over a rich, handsome substitute (Justin Timberlake) – competing for his affections with an overly energetic colleague, Amy (Lucy Punch). When Elizabeth also finds herself fighting off the advances of a sarcastic, irreverent gym teacher (Jason Segel), the consequences of her wild and outrageous schemes give her students, her coworkers, and even herself an education like no other.
“Elizabeth isn’t a teacher because it’s noble – it’s just a job, a necessity: she has to pay the rent,” says Cameron Diaz, who plays a teacher redefining education in Bad Teacher. “In fact, her whole motivation is to find a way that she never has to teach again.”
When the idea for the movie came to the screenwriting team of Gene Stupnitsky & Lee Eisenberg, they knew they’d hit on something incredibly rare and special. “It seemed like there weren’t a lot of comedy roles for women,” says Eisenberg. “We would see so many funny women on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and on talk shows, and they’d be hysterical and charming, and then we’d go to the movies and they’d be props to get two guys to become friends or whatever. We really wanted to write a project for a comedienne.”
Elizabeth Halsey’s Top Ten Teaching Tips
1. There is no heel too high, no sweater too tight, no neckline too low. Besides, it’s nothing these kids haven’t seen on the internet.
2. Movies are the new books. You would be surprised how educational Stand By Me and Dangerous Minds really are.
3. Stay hydrated: keep a bottle of your favorite liquor in your desk drawer.
4. For those moments when the booze doesn’t cut it, keep an emergency J in your purse. It’s medicinal, and it’s OK as long as you do it in the gym.
5. Always be honest with your students. If they suck, they should know.
6. Get your rest. If you stayed out too late the night before, sleep in class.
7. Throwing things at your students prepares them for the real world.
8. If you are the school’s top fundraiser, they expect you to skim a little off the top.
9. Cut corners wherever you can. Like top ten lists… just do nine. No one will notice.
Amy Squirrel’s Top Ten Teaching Tips
1. Alexander Pope once wrote, “A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.” Like, duh!
2. Whitney Houston once sang, “I believe the children are our future,” and I truly, truly believe that. Truly.
3. Anything your students bring you is something they have obviously poured their heart and soul into and deserves your full attention. And probably a place on your wall.
4. Method teach. Get into character and engage your students by incorporating voices, costumes and charades to get their attention. Trust me, your students won’t think it’s lame.
5. You are a role model and the students take their behavioral cues from you. So take any opportunity to chaperone a school event.
6. Keeping a close eye on your lunch quadrant is next to Godliness.
7. Diverting from the lesson plan could affect a student’s future. Treat your curriculum like the bible.
8. Try giving your students an apple for once… After all, we learn as much from them as they do from us.
9. You will find that there are other teachers who are not committed to the profession as you are. If you need a secret satisfaction, just remind yourself that you are a better person than they are.
10. Never talk about that thing that happened in 2008.
11. Always give a little more than what they asked for.