Cate Blanchett’s a great actor, but this is something else
Cate Blanchett is one of the most versatile actors around and yet her most demanding role was homeschooling her 7-year-old during the pandemic. That’s because her daughter demanded that mom dress up as, and do the voice of, her actual teacher. Yes really. As if working, being a parent, and acting as an interim homeschool teacher during the pandemic wasn’t enough of an ordeal, Blanchett had to do it in costume.
Blanchett — who is mom to Dashiell, 20, Roman, 17, Ignatius, 13, and Edith, 7 — joked to Australian talk show The Project that teaching her kids was “amazing for two weeks” and that her “older kids were fine, they would self direct,” but it was seven-year-old Edith’s Zoom school that broke the actress.
It started with Blanchett, very quickly, realizing she couldn’t keep up with her daughter’s math lessons.
“I realized that I couldn’t even teach her grade 1 math and she sniffed that out after 14 days,” Blanchett joked. “I was a dead duck. There was no respect there.”
Then, Edith demanded that mom “dress up as her teacher” and “put on her teacher’s voice” before their homeschool sessions.
“She wouldn’t allow me at all to teach maths or do phonics unless I dressed up as her teacher [Mrs. Venables Kyrke] and put on her teacher’s voice,” Blanchett joked. “I had an array of stuffed animals who also had to be taught. It wasn’t an offer I made. It was a request she made.”
Blanchett added that the animals all “had the names of all the people in her class. It felt like some weird kind of cross between The Muppets and MasterClass. It was quite traumatic actually.”
Now Blanchett says her days playing teacher are done.
“Mrs Venables Kyrke? No. It was so traumatic for me I’ve actually put my Mrs. Venables Kyrke to bed. She was her teacher then. She’s a saint,” Blanchett added.
And, as every parent has realized and noted throughout the pandemic, Blanchett says teachers are gods who deserve to be paid all of the dollars.
“In Finland, which has the highest and most respected level of education anywhere, teachers are paid the same as doctors and lawyers,” she shared. “And they should be because the level of skill to engage a bunch of, often disinterested, students for eight to 12 hours a day is one of the most profound, respected skills of any profession anywhere.”