surround students with a sense of morality that may have been lacking
in their previous education, and they will provide whatever support is
necessary to save these students and to give them a fresh, new
perspective on the opportunity life holds for them. As seen in Blackboard
Jungle, protagonist Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford) begins teaching at an
inner-city school with many struggling and hostile students who resist
his efforts to help them, yet he never gives up. He fits the mold of the
martyr and the redeemer for the academically struggling student
because he opens students’ eyes for the first time to this opportunity as
he “throws himself headlong into the task of saving those
students...making accessible to them the cultural riches of knowledge
and a vision of a world beyond their entrapping circumstances”
(Brittenham 159).
Finally, the good teacher can also be viewed as a role model for
students who struggle academically. Many films show that where there
is an academically struggling individual, the good teacher becomes a role
model for the student because of the teacher’s dedication to improving
the student’s academic success by getting involved personally in the
student’s life and then using that connection to personalize the
curriculum. In other words, these good teachers show a level of
commitment to improving the lives of students that, in many cases, may
not have been experienced by these individuals before this point; they
thus become figures to be looked up to as a result of their ability to set
a powerful example. In the Pat Conroy biopic Conrack (1974), a young
teacher (Jon Voight) delivers impassioned lessons on anything and
everything to undereducated African-American students on an isolated
island in a one-room school houses. He faces extreme resistance from
administration and racial tensions in the community beyond the island,
yet Conroy continues to teach his students to the best of his ability
based on his observations of their personal and academic needs, such
as the introduction of swimming lessons after discovering their inability
to swim (and the large number of drownings in the community each
year) despite living on an island. Even though his unorthodox methods
eventually get him fired, he persists because of his love for the students
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