Monday, January 16, 2006

Books (Comic Strip): Frazz Addendum

I was working my way through the third volume of The Complete Calvin & Hobbes over the weekend and I realized I wasn't really fair to Miss Wormwood in my Frazz posting when I compared her to Mrs. Olsen. There's no evidence that Miss Wormwood is actually a bad teacher. Susie Derkins doesn't have any problems with her that we can see, for instance. In Frazz, though, it's quite clear that Mrs. Olsen hates the students (though, as Frazz points out, that's only because she hates everyone).

One strip in particular emphasized the difference in attitude between Calvin and Frazz, when Calvin tells Miss Wormwood that "You can teach me the material, but you can't make me care". Caulfield's attitude in Frazz is more along the lines, "I care about learning, but you don't have anything left to teach me", a significant difference.


Len said...

Well, as Bill Watterson says of Miss Wormwood: We see hints that she's waiting to retire, that she smokes too much, and that she takes a lot of medication. I think she seriously believes in the value of education, so needless to say, she's an unhappy person.

Basically, 25 or so years ago she was an enthusiastic teacher who tried (and probably succeeded) to be a good teacher, but all that time of dealing with students like Calvin (I'm sure Calvin wasn't the first of his type, though he was probably the best at causing his particular type of mayhem) is going to take its toll eventually.

James said...

I just got to a strip yesterday where she keeps reminding herself that she only has five more years to retirement.

I think the strips suggest that she still is a pretty good teacher. In Frazz, though, Mrs. Olsen was never a good teacher -- Frazz had her for third grade 21 years before, and apparently she hasn't changed much in that time.