Walter White, the lead character in AMC’s recently-ended Breaking Bad, did a lot of nasty things. He used his chemistry skills to make highly addictive drugs, lied to friends and family, and murdered people. But according to one Johns Hopkins political scientist, his real crime was that he was a terrible teacher.
Samuel Chambers, who teaches a fun-sounding class at the university called Cultural Politics of Television, theorizes that throughout the series, White serves as a bad teacher and mentor for Jesse, his former student ad partner in the drug business. He yells, intimidates, and insults. In contrast, Gus Fring — the show’s terrifying drug kingpin — is actually much better when it comes to helping Jesse learn.
“Walt failed as Jesse’s teacher because he could never for a moment stop playing the stultifying schoolmaster, the one who insists upon his superior intelligence [and] demands recognition of that superiority from his students,” Chambers told the Hopkins Hub. “Only a bad teacher tries to establish mastery by way of assertion of superior intelligence. Walter White is, therefore, an awful teacher.”
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