Sylvia Barrett is a rookie teacher at New York's inner-city Calvin Coolidge High: her lit classes are overcrowded, a window is broken, there's no chalk, books arrive late. The administration is concerned mainly with forms and rules (there's an up and and a down staircase); bells ring at the wrong time. Nevertheless, she tries. How she handles the chaos and her despair in her first semester makes up the film: a promising student drops out, another sleeps through class, a girl with a crush on a male teacher gets suicidal, and a bright but troublesome student misunderstands Sylvia's reaching out. A discussion of Dickens, parents' night, and a mock trial highlight the term. Can she make it? Written by
The year's #1 best seller picks you up and never lets you down.
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Did You Know?
Bel Kaufman, in the Preface to the 25th anniversary edition of the book, writes: "The movie was filmed in New York City, in and around Haaren High School, which had been emptied for the summer." See more
During opening scenes of kids returning to school, the voice of Miss Finch (Jean Stapleton) blares from public address system (urging students to report to different rooms, ignore real time bells, etc.) yet when Sylvia walks into office where Miss Finch is working, she has no access to a microphone or other broadcast equipment that would enable her voice to be heard throughout entire school. See more
[Frequently Over Intercom
Disregard all bells.