How To Get Away With Murder
Is a show based around a Harvard Law class called Criminal Law 101. The professor, and esteemed defense attorney, is Annalise Keating. A rigid, intimidating, and ruthless woman.
Season 1 Episode 1
The first scene we see with Professor Keating in it has a shot from behind her, showing her students looking in awe at their teacher as she writes "How To Get Away With Murder" on the blackboard
SO. She waltzes into a classroom, demanding the attention of the viewer AND all of her students without showing her face. Talk about powerful. We don't even need to see her to know she's the boss
Mrs. Keating demands attention even when she isn't speaking.
The scene, involving the Professor calling on students rapid-fire, still centers around her, even when other students are talking. They speak normally, she yells back, pacing the room.
Even her stage is interested in what she's saying.
The lecture hall Keating preaches in is full of tiered seats, all facing the table she has in front of her blackboard, and herself. The lights from the front of the room surround her.
Power in Pose
The transition between shots are quick and sharp, like Professor Keating's questions, and require your full attention in order to follow. It keeps the viewer - and the students - engaged.
But that's the thing, isn't it?
You don't just have to pay attention, you WANT to. The whole scene makes you beg for just a glimpse of her face. And when you see it, you just want to know what she's thinking.
Annalise Keating: A teacher that demands attention
All of the staging, lighting , and filming techniques point to Mrs. Keating, making us and her students pay attention. Not only that, but she makes us feel like we NEED it.
A strong, engaging teacher
Professor Keating is an uncompromising woman who doesn't waste time. She's quick, loud, and doesn't give second chances. She fits the mold of "tough teacher" pretty well.
And when one student gets in the way of another's questions,
Professor Keating angrily tells her she's out of line. She defends the student who didn't know the answer, saying the disrupter "robbed [the student] of a learning opportunity."
We see compassion for teaching, not just embarrassing kids.
Which makes Annalise such an iconic "tough teacher", because that trope is often seen as cold or evil, but Annalise Keating actually cares about how the students receive her education.
"A tough criminal law professor"
Is what it says in the Netflix description, describing Annalise Keating. But from just this one scene, we know she is much more than "tough".
Annalise Keating: Badass
Someone with rigid classroom management and compassion for her students is a teacher I think we should all strive to be. She is not kind, or gentle, or motherly, like other teachers are portrayed
She is a teacher.
One who isn't afraid to push her students, or be disliked. She goes against the modern "nice lady" teaching trope, and beyond the "tough guy" trope. She is, purely, uncompromisingly, an educator.