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
Simple words that start a war: "Good morning. My name is Miss Barrett. I am your Home Room teacher..."
See more »
Did You Know?
Film debut of Bud Cort
, in an uncredited walk-on role as a student. He is seen at the tail end of the film, chewing gum and tossing a book in the air as he passes by Sandy Dennis in the school hallway. See more
In the classroom scene where Harry A Kagan is talking, his necktie alternates between being tucked into the belt and in front of the belt. See more
When I finally get the chance, the first few precious minutes to talk to them about something I want them to understand, and I find that I am some kind of enemy... the butt of some enormous joke.