A well meaning but burned-out high school teacher tries to maintain order against the backdrop of a pending lawsuit against his school district when it comes to light they gave a diploma to an illiterate student.
The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Massachusetts.
Life in the trenches of that most honorable and frustrating profession...teaching. It's the start of a memorable new year at Harrison High. The self-conscious Mr. Stroope is convinced that his time has come - this year he will be furnished with the golden title of "Teacher of the Year," if only his smarter students would stop using words that he can't understand. Peek into Mr. Lowrey's History class and you'll see that he's struggling to even call himself a teacher. Woefully inept due to a complete lack of experience and social skills, he earnestly stutters his way through class. The only interaction his students offer him is when they steal his chalk. Men aren't much interested in the spunky and officious Coach Webb, but "not all P.E. teachers are gay" and she pines for some romantic company. Her once best friend, the newly appointed assistant principal, Mrs. Reddell, doesn't seem to have time for her either, as her new power post is all-consuming; battling egos, enduring teacher ... Written by
Attention Bruce Burns, I am so very glad you are not a teacher because you seem far too smug and self-important with apparently no sense of humor. You would be a terrible instructor.
Moving on...I am a middle school English teacher who absolutely *adored* Chalk. It nailed the nuances, struggles, and joys of teaching, and it made me even more convinced I've got one of the best jobs on earth.
As someone who entered teaching as a second career after working as a reporter, I can honestly say teaching is not for everyone. But if you're bright, caring, and can think fast on your feet, you might be cut out for it. The rewards are everything you would imagine them to be, and the challenges are far bigger than you could envision. "Chalk" celebrated it all without being overly sentimental like so many of those cheesy teacher as lifesaver films that are out there.
For me, the best moment of the film came at the very end when Mr. Lowery is trying to rap with his students. It was so human, and the hard-won affection from his students was so real...I could totally relate.
Schools are like little small towns full of gossips, crazies, heroes, and everything in between..."Chalk" nailed that as well...complete with the Happy Hours every teacher knows and loves (and depends on!).
Overall a great little film that will ring true for anyone with a sense of humor...and especially with anyone who has ever uttered the words, "All right everyone, get out a piece of paper and put your name on the corner." :-)
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