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?
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?
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
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
If you deny what you know, or what you are, or where you are, you deny the simplest part of being alive, and then you die.
Referenced in The Acid Eaters