By now, millions of people probably have seen Booking.com’s “kindergarten” commercial, which features a frazzled teacher surrounded by a classroom of screaming kindergartners throwing balls, banging bats and playing in the classroom fish tank.
“There’s nothing more important to me than my vacation,” the teacher says into the camera, seemingly resigned to the student mayhem around her.
Alana Milich, a teacher at Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington, caught the online travel website’s commercial at home Tuesday, her second day of spring break.
Trying to relax during a week of down time, the veteran teacher became increasingly upset as the commercial played over and over.
“I don’t usually get the time to watch television,” she said in an interview, “but it’s vacation. So I’m home, cooking and indulging in HGTV.”
What she saw, over and over again, was a portrayal of a teacher as inattentive to the classroom and obsessed with her upcoming vacation.
“The commercial came on several times and irritated me more each time,” she said. “I’m so sick of teacher-bashing.”
So Milich did something about it. She put her frustrations into words and fired off an email to Booking.com, a site that allows travelers to book airfares and hotel stays.
“After watching your ad several times I am moved to do something I’ve never done before – write a company to complain of the image they are portraying of my profession,” she wrote. “As a 15 year veteran teacher, I can assure you that my stress does NOT come from the students in my classroom.”
“If you want to show a teacher needing a vacation, how about showing one burnt out on caring too much?” she added. “Giving of her own time and money to her kids while an uncaring administration makes ridiculous demands on her?”
“That would be relatable and not turn off the 3.1 million public school teachers in the US.”
Milich later published her email to the company on her personal Facebook page and on an online Facebook forum for the Badass Teachers Association, a national teachers network.
Dozens of fellow teachers lauded her efforts and said they would lodge their own complaints with the company.
Later Tuesday, Milich received a reply to her email from Booking.com, saying that the commercial “was only intended as a light-hearted bit of fun.”
The commercial was produced by Deutsch NY and directed by Jared Hess of Community Films, according to SHOOTonline.com.
Booking.com’s public relations team defended the commercial as a lighthearted attempt to underscore the importance of vacations for working professionals.
“We highly value and appreciate all professions, including teachers,” said Paul Smailes, the company’s director of U.S. marketing. “Our ad was only intended as a bit of fun about overworked and undervalued professionals and the importance of vacations in a lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek manner.”
Milich isn’t the only one who was troubled by the commercial. Peter Greene, author of the popular teacher blog “Curmudgucation” weighed in after reading Milich’s letter online.
And others have registered their objections online as well:
Here is Milich’s complete email:
After watching your ad several times I am moved to do something I’ve never done before- write a company to complain of the image they are portraying of my profession. As a 15 year veteran teacher, I can assure you that my stress does NOT come from the students in my classroom. My stress comes from endless meetings forcing me to enact tactics that do not help my students learn and achieve; my stress comes from not getting a cost of living raise in 10 years; my stress comes from national figures who know nothing of public education working to destabilize our system in favor of private, religious, and for-profit charter schools that are free to discriminate against differently-abled children with no penalties.
Isn’t there enough teacher bashing without you adding to the myth of the inattentive, non-caring, child-hating teacher?
If you want to show a teacher needing a vacation, how about showing one burnt out on caring too much? Giving of her own time and money to her kids while an uncaring administration makes ridiculous demands on her? That would be relatable and not turn off the 3.1 million public school teachers in the US.
And here is the company’s complete response to her:
Dear Dr. Alana Milich
Thanks for your feedback.
We’ll be sure to pass it on to those relevant. At Booking.com we value all professions, including teachers, and this ad was only intended as a light-hearted bit of fun. We are passionate about connecting our customers with great stays, empowering them to experience the world in the easiest, most seamless ways possible, which this advert aimed to convey.
Booking.com Customer Service Team