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
Simple words that start a war: "Good morning. My name is Miss Barrett. I am your Home Room teacher..."
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Did You Know?
The winter scenes were filmed on a hot day in August 1966. 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
I've just seen your type before, that's all. There's one every year. "Not living up to your potential," they say. Is that what you were going to say, teach? "Just wanna help you, Joe?" "Just wanna be your friend?" Then they get to feeling very sorry for your about your "environmental factors", and your "low socio-economic level". Till you've just have to tell 'em; "Get your nose outta my environmental factors, will ya? Keep your damn hands off my potential"... and then they turn you in.