The Detachment of Education

Dear Readers,

“Detachment” has been one of my favorite movies for a long time.  If you question the difficulty of teaching and the passion of teachers, or wonder about the issues with the education system, I suggest you watch this movie.  It is truthful, honest, and very realistic, and what I like most about this film is the multi-levels of detachment shown in displaying what the word truly means.


1) The Difficulty of Detachment

Have you ever tried helping someone that needed help, but didn’t take it?  Have you ever given your all to making someone’s life better and had to watch them day-by-day throw that hard work and effort back in your face, therefore making your life feel worthless?

That is probably what it’s like for several educators out there who have to deal with students that not only show no respect or care for the educators, but for themselves as well.  To watch a person literally destroy their life when your job is to help them get it together is truly a painful experience.  When your job is to help make a life better, how is detaching from caring about that person’s well-being easy?

2) The Detachment of Parents from Education

I have said this before in a previous post, and I will say it again: Education Starts at HomeEducation Starts at Home.  Education is a three-way partnership: teacher, student, and parent.  Everyone has to be involved, or it simply doesn’t work.  Oh, and there’s that thing that not all students are taught at home: respect.

3) The Forcing of Detachment

I truly feel that it is a common belief that teachers are supposed to be magical robots with no feelings or emotions, and that they are placed on Earth to only teach strictly from the text to magically and easily instill knowledge on their students who all magically receive it in the same way.

And it is because they are supposed to be like robots that teachers are not allowed to feel or show emotion.  One of the best scenes in “Detachment” is when Adrian Brody’s character is approached by one of his bullied and outcasted students.  She felt like he was the only one that could understand and relate to her, and there was one point where she starts crying and proceeds to hug Brody.  Though Brody was hesitant about the girl’s approach, he was still extremely concerned about her even after another female teacher walked in the classroom just as it happened, causing the girl to run out of the room even more upset that she wasn’t able to talk to Brody alone.  What I liked most about this scene was the point that the director was trying to make.  There was no attraction because the young girl was a lesbian, and even though the female teacher was probing Brody as to why he was “touching her,” and why he was alone in the room with her, he continued calling the girl’s name and actually attempted to chase after her until he realized what the other teacher was getting at.  And after justifiably shouting her an explanation, the teacher asked him what he expected her to think and he so wonderfully replied “stop being so f-ing judgmental.”  There is no doubt that this scene hit home with many viewers.

I understand that there are and should be certain boundaries between teachers and students, but how are troubled students to be helped and comforted when they are expected to be robots when in fact many teachers mean so much more to their students.  Robots cannot connect or relate.

4) The Detachment from Learning

When I say “learning,” I’m talking about learning.  Education today is more about test scores and placement standings, rather than teaching students what they want and what matters in ways that they can retain and actually learn from.  It seems to be more about the glory of the schools rather than the glory of the students themselves.

One of my favorite lines from Kingdom of the Sun is when my character Helena states that “there is something seriously wrong with this system.”  This system, many systems, there is definitely something wrong with them, don’t you think?

Peace and Love,


Posted on July 22, 2013, in Education, Kingdom of the Sun and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. As a former teacher I can relate to your post. Many times I saw step-parents rather than the real parents. I actually had one child who had two steps and did not know his real parents. Kind of like an orphan. Children get confused easily and resentment and anger replaces normal interaction. Mistrust becomes a standby as the walls of isolation are built like a moat not letting the ones who care in. Has it gotten worse with time. Where the students of the 50’s better off because they had stabler parents. I really doubt it. The tracks of the past have been lost on the current generation and the evils hidden by time.

    • Thanks for your comment, Barry! So many students have issues that they are dealing with at home, and sometimes school can be their escape or the last place they want to be.

  2. I haven’t heard of this movie? I’ll have to look for it:) I really agree on the parent front though. We can work wonders in the classrooms, but the respect for learning must first be cultivated in the home. The same is true about behaviours. So many times I have had to meet with parents about behaviours, and as soon as they open their mouths…… You can see where the child gets it from.

    • Thank you so much for your comment! Yes, it is a wonderful movie. Please check it out, and let me know what you think, if you can.

      Peace and Blessings

  3. I haven’t seen this movie, but will definitely check it out. I think that it is truly hard today to teach. It seems that along with not being able to discipline students, teachers can’t show affection to their students. I really liked what you said about how teachers are supposed to magically impart knowledge without feeling. You can get that from a computer screen, but education like that should not come from a teacher.

    • Thank you so much for your comment. It’s interesting that you mention computers…it seems to be a common belief that technology is the answer to education’s issues and that couldn’t be more wrong.

  1. Pingback: The Superman Dilemma in Education | Hope, Honor, and Happiness

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