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 first mistake this pretty young teacher made was to get off the bus. The second was to walk into Calvin Coolidge High School for the first time. The third was to fall in love with it.
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Did You Know?
Benjamin Franklin High School on Pleasant Avenue and 116th Street is now the Center for Mathematics and Science. The building is seen on the cover of the DVD with Sandy Dennis in foreground. 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
The theme of MacBeth is that too much ambition can lead to ruthless ambition, and end up in disaster. That's what words are for - to be used. Who can tell me what "ruthless" means? Joe?
[Gets no response, decides to ask...
Steps all over.
Use it in a sentence.
Steps all over, like white people. I know because I'm colored.
Referenced in The Acid Eaters