This Danish series brings alternative approaches to teaching to the table.
“Rita”, a Danish series released in 2012, can be categorized as a dramatic comedy that shows the personal and professional experiences of its protagonist (Rita Madsen). This teacher who works in the Danish public school, now close to forty years old and without mincing words, has an innate tendency to go against established norms.
During its four seasons issued to date (and without official confirmation on its renewal or final completion), the plot reflects in a reflective and critical way the problems and vicissitudes that can intrinsically arise in the performance of teaching work, as well as other types of crossroads, conflicts and personal and interpersonal experiences that the protagonist lives in her most familiar and sentimental environment.
A fiction focused on the educational task
Taking into consideration that since it is a series in which the outcome of some of the situations exposed throughout its 32 chapters may present a resolution at some point easier than that which could occur in real life, the truth is that the explanation that the scriptwriters make on how to manage issues such as parental overprotection of children, questioning of the teaching figure by families, bullying, acceptance of different sexual orientations, etc., allows an act of reflection on what kind of values sustain today’s society.
Indeed, Rita tends to use an unorthodox methodology, generating enmity or confrontation with the rest of the adults (such as her co-workers, the students’ parents, family members and friends) although on the other hand, she seems to be highly valued and loved by the group of minors who attend their classes.
What can the series “Rita” contribute?
Given the variety of questions that the series raises, let us see what type of learning, values, teachings and reflections the monitoring of this peculiar and interesting television production can generate, both within the individual’s own personal and emotional development, as well as in a more global sense. general on the way of understanding the current society.
1. Give more weight to moral aspects over legal aspects
Rita has a tendency to act independently and is often very little influenced by the opinions of others. An example of this is shown when he decides to take over the “co-tutoring” (unofficially speaking) of an adolescent whose mother has bipolar disorder and decides not to report this situation so that the boy is not separated from his mother figure.
2. Actively confront the cause of discomfort
The character of Rita does not miss a single opportunity to solve a school situation identified as problematic, getting involved and looking for alternatives on how to proceed if the option applied in the first place does not work. The teacher seems to defend a positive conception of “change” by not conforming to the established just because it is usual or the most comfortable.
A sample of this is observed in the assumption that she herself makes about the sexual orientation of her youngest son Jeppe and how she confronts the situation with the parents of the couples that the boy presents at home.
3. Be consistent and accept the consequences of your own decisions
On many different occasions, the protagonist tries to convey to both the students and her own children that they must learn to decide for themselves and that every act is followed by a certain effect. She also defends as essential to base one’s own choices taking into account these consequences, even if they involve the renouncement of a benefit or involve a high personal cost.
In one of the problems exposed in the third season, Rita prioritizes opting for the financial salvation of the school over keeping her job as a teacher and director. However, it is also true that in her role as mother she has some emotional deficiencies that negatively interfere with the manifestation of a responsible, mature and more cautious attitude.
4. Express and share both cognitions and feelings
It is something important to promote proper emotional management. This learning is one of those that Rita may value as more complex to achieve, since in the first seasons a very significant emotional isolation is observed in her with respect to her own family, especially her children and her mother. Little by little, the teacher is learning to establish more intimate interpersonal bonds, being able to show more her feelings towards the other, although initially she makes these approaches erratically.
5. Avoid falling into prejudice, stigmatization and unfounded criticism
In one of the chapters, Rita advocates defending a student with an attention deficit against an accusation of vandalism by the educational community. This means acting against the majority opinion and standing firm in her personal convictions. Later, he will defend until all possibilities are exhausted the maintenance of an inclusion space for a part of the student body with learning difficulties and other adverse psychological characteristics.
Learn to forgive yourself, accept and learn from your own mistakes. This is undoubtedly one of the latest lessons that Rita manages to internalize after re-encountering some traumatic events in the past that have taken a toll on her character and her way of functioning in the interpersonal sphere. This is very evident in the fourth season, where continuous moments of flashbacks present a rebellious teenage Rita with a great family problem in tow.
After this brief analysis of the content included in the footage, it seems that the series offers an alternative perspective on how to deal with everyday situations that, both personally and professionally, can occur in the different interaction environments of the same individual. Although it is true that the character tends to trip over the same stone several times and that he is usually in the crosshairs of the rest of the adults with whom he interacts, the teacher manages to teach her students (and the viewer) a series of values that go far beyond the academic content that other teachers in the series are willing to transmit.
Thus, every vital situation is plagued with nuances that must be contextualized and taken into account in order, ultimately, to escape the dichotomies and rigidity that are normally associated with the belief of certain conventions lacking practical sense regarding the work within the actual society.