collection of individuals, anchored by the protagonist and antagonist,
instead of big groups, which is why teachers tend to have one class
featured in the movies and the focus is on a small group of students.
On a final note, although many students can be classified as
either struggling or superlative in terms of academics or emotional
capacities, all too often there are students both in film and in real
classrooms who slip through the cracks and miss out on the opportunity
to establish a relationship of some sort with a teacher figure. In Elephant
(2003), for example, a film inspired by the tragic killings at Columbine
High School, two students who struggle with self-identity and
emotional stability start a devastating school shooting. Throughout the
film, there is a heavily emphasized lack of adult presence and an absence
of support from teachers, parents, and coaches alike, which makes
viewers question what could have happened if these students would
have had some sort of meaningful student-teacher relationship during
such a formative period of their lives. On the other hand, in American
History X (1998), the benefits of having a teacher and role model figure
in a struggling student’s life are clearly portrayed when an older brother
having just returned from prison and inspired by visits with his former
teacher does everything in his power to guide his struggling younger
brother away from this same path of racism and violent crime.
From an analysis of Hollywood teacher films, it is clear that this
group of students left without meaningful student-teacher relationships
is in need of one final teacher model: the teacher as the prophet. As
David E. Purpel notes in The Moral and Spiritual Crisis in Education: A
Curriculum for Justice and Compassion in Education, “The educator as a
prophet does more than re-wind, re-answer, and re-invigorate -- the
prophet-educator conducts research and joins students in continually
developing skills and knowledge that enhance the possibility of justice,
community, and joy” (105). This model deviates from most other
teacher models in the sense that it focuses on the teacher and student
as equals who work together as one rather than emphasizing the divide
between the student role and the teacher role. In order to bridge the
gap between teachers and the complex students who fall outside of
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