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?
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?
Like Dangerous Minds
(1995) 28 years later, this movie was filmed in an actual urban high school building, using real high school kids from the neighborhood as extras, many of whom were believed to be armed on the set. 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
[Defending her inability to treat an abused student
Nurse Frances Eagen
I give them tea. At least that's something.