At this point it is evident that The Hollywood Model of the
“good teacher” can be extended far outside the classroom walls from
the police station to the meth lab. While translating the model
specifically to mentors in movies and television, elements such as
personal involvement and mutual learning stay the same. Other
elements, such as tension with administration, are slightly altered.
Finally, there are entirely new elements created in these narratives, such
as life overlap and tension between right and wrong. The result is a new,
hybrid model that I would like to call the “good mentor.”
In Roslin Smith and John Peter Watts’s respective chapters in
Screen Lessons: What We Have Learned From Teachers on Television and in the
Movies, they dissect the characters of Yoda (Star Wars) and Dan Dunne
(Half Nelson) respectively, holding each up to The Hollywood Model for
the “good teacher” (Smith, 17-22 and Watts, 37-44). I would attest that
the true significance of the “good mentor” model I have constructed is
that it provides a more appropriate measuring stick for characters such
as these. The lines are blurry, especially in the case of Dunne (Ryan
Gosling) who is an actual public school teacher in the movie. But I
believe the difference lies in the goal that drives the character’s actions.
The “good teacher” looks to set students up for transformation to be
able to change their lives while the “good mentor” is the actual change
in the lives of their “students.” I believe that assessing characters that
fit into the latter category by the “good mentor” model can provide
valuable insight into the motivations behind their actions and a more
complete picture of who they are as characters.
Additionally, the cultural significance of these big screen
adaptions of mentorship roles is just as significant as the applications
of the model itself. As movies and television shows are such an
influential part of society today, people all around the world are
constantly being bombarded with the ideas and models forwarded by
Hollywood. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the stereotypes
Hollywood creates foster peoples’ expectation in the real world. When
it comes to the “good mentor” model, these expectations are mostly
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