22.214.171.124 Lessons from teachers.
** What do we learn about Miss Stewart?
The Headmistress, or "Old Stew," as Pauline referred to her, was a
formidable woman and a traditional disciplinarian. We see her standing at the school
entrance checking the arrival of each pupil in the opening credits; enforcing attendance
was one of her important duties [mc] and one she took seriously. In the assembly, she
commands the students to "Sit-tuh!" and does so again when she intrudes into
Miss Waller's French class. We get the impression Miss Stewart liked to run a tight ship.
Later, Honora Rieper received a letter from Miss Stewart voicing concern over Pauline's
performance at school, so Miss Stewart also took a personal interest in the progress of
her pupils. Although she was feared and respected by her students [note: Confirmed.
ap,mc], Miss Stewart would have also been an important role model of sorts for the girls.
She was obviously a spinster, and the school was obviously her whole life. The girls would
have learned from Miss Stewart that it was possible for a woman to be a successful and
highly-regarded professional and that a woman's fulfillment and happiness in life wasn't
necessarily tied to finding a man and producing babies. Very progressive and subversive...
I have no idea if Miss Stewart would have approved of the message, but there you go. Given
the emphasis at CGHS on academics, I rather suspect she would have approved. [jp]
** What do we learn from Miss Waller's comments?
"I will not have girls talking out of turn in my class!" "It is
customary for a student to stand when addressing a teacher." Discipline and a
traditional code of values and conduct were valued highly.
** What do we learn from Mrs Collins' comments?
"That's very clever, Juliet. But when I set you a topic, I expect you to
follow it. Throw that away and start again." Even the Arts required discipline.
** What do we learn from Mrs Stevens' comments?
Mrs Stevens shouted at Juliet: "I suppose you think it witty and clever to
mock the Royal Family, to poke fun at the Queen of the Empire with this rubbish!...A girl
like you should be setting an example!" This community took things like the Royal
Family very seriously indeed. There is an additional dynamic, however. This incident took
place on May 11, 1953, according to "Heavenly Creatures." King George VI had
died on February 6, 1952 and, since that time, the Coronation ceremonies of his successor,
Elizabeth II, had been in the planning. The Coronation itself was a huge spectacle and it
was followed by ceremonies and celebrations all over the world and especially all around
the British Commonwealth (or, what used to be "The Empire")--basically, this was
to be a bash people would talk about for decades to come. The Coronation was scheduled for
June 2, scant weeks away, so Royal-mania would have been at an absolute fever pitch in the
British-mad Commonwealth community of Christchurch. And, in real life, there was a Royal
Tour of Australasia which passed through Christchurch (be still my heart!) around
Christmas, 1953. Royal-mania was to become Royal-frenzy in late 1953, although the Royal
Tour was not featured in the North American release of the film. [jp]
** What do we learn from the gym teacher?
And her regimental calisthenics? Hmmm...
** Were the teachers really that strict in real
In spite of the CGHS teachers being pretty strict, dishing out lots of detentions
etc, they could still be quite human and caring if there was a real reason. Help was given
to families where there was an illness. Allowances were made or provisions made for girls
from really poor families.