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 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
Up The Down Staircase, is the story of a girl who fell in love with a monster... (The Girl is Sylvia Barrett. Occupation: Brand new teacher)
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Did You Know?
Bel Kaufman's original description of Sylvia Barrett was closer to that of Audrey Hepburn. See more
When GO President Kagan is talking to Miss Barrett, his tie keeps changing lengths. In the close-ups it is short, just above his belt. In the long shots is appears to be tucked into his belt. See more
[urging Mr. Barringer to dance with a student
Why do you always say "maybe later"? Maybe sometime, maybe Thursday, and there never is a Thursday.