(Miranda Cosgrove), asks “Are you going to teach us anything?” and
Finn replies, “Just do whatever you want,” which prompts her to
respond in her true know-it-all fashion, “I want to learn from my
teacher!” This is an example of Finn beginning his journey as a flawed
teacher and representing some characteristics of a bad teacher, like not
caring enough about the subject he’s supposed to be teaching, to make
the class interesting for the students (Dalton 78). The main event that
starts Finn on this journey of becoming a good teacher is when he hears
the students in their music class playing instruments. Because he
connects with them through music, this is when his passion kicks in and
he gets a nod of encouragement that he has the skills to teach these
children, even if it’s not the traditional curriculum, and have them learn
from him.
The Hollywood Model of the good teacher is explained in a
chapter two of The Hollywood Curriculum: Teachers in the Movies by Mary
M. Dalton. While I think Dewey Finn hits all of these elements, it is
especially important to note that he does not start out as the good
teacher. Over the course of the film, however, his experience molds
him and changes his character into a person who upholds all of these
elements, including being seen as an outsider, becoming personally
involved with his students, learning from his students, having tension
with administrators, and creating a personalized curriculum. By fitting
this mold of a “good teacher,” he gains credibility with the students, the
viewers, and eventually with adults in the film to be able to “rock” the
standardization that precedes him, which positions him as an
educational reformer.
Although his transformation takes the course of the movie to
unfold, there are many examples of how Dewey Finn becomes a “good
teacher.” It is pretty obvious throughout the movie that there is tension
between Finn and the administrators. Finn knows that teaching the kids
music is not part of the curriculum he is supposed to teach, but it is all
he knows. He sneakily uses the kids to help him hide the instruments
he’s moved into the classroom. He butts heads with Principal Mullins
after she says he cannot take the students on a field trip, but he does
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