for the success of their students. In Stand and Deliver, Escalante has a
heart attack right before his students are scheduled to take the AP
calculus exam. The school administrators and other teachers have
doubted Escalante could even teach his students basic math, but with
an intense work ethic and creative pedagogic strategies, he proves that
not only can he teach his students basic math, he can teach them
calculus so well that they would have the ability to pass the AP calculus
exam. Everything looks as if the students are on track pass the test, but
of course they still need more practice before the big day. Right when
it is crunch time for their preparations, Escalante has the heart attack.
His doctor’s advise him to rest and take a break from teaching.
Escalante boldly disobeys, coming into the classroom to teach only
mere hours later. He brings the same energy and intensity to the
classroom as he has every other day. As a result, his students master the
material necessary to pass the AP calculus exam, and prove to school
officials and others that they possess the intellect, and just needed this
special teacher to unlock their success.
Miss Paeck was the same way. She did not rest and recover.
Instead, she cared more about her students than her own health, a
choice that can be questioned, perhaps, but one that always seemed
more fitting for a Hollywood movie than a real life classroom.
Regardless, she wanted us to succeed, and she would do anything for
this to happen. Just as Escalante showed no pain or exhaustion on his
face, nor did Miss Paeck reveal her feelings to students in her classroom.
Both Escalante and Miss Paeck treated their students like their very own
children, and gave more than what was required of them.
The Hollywood Curriculum: Teachers in the Movies outlines what
exactly these “good teachers’” traits are that make them movie worthy,
and both Miss Paeck and Escalante exhibit them. Mary M. Dalton
outlines five characteristics of the Hollywood Model of the “good
teacher” that include: 1) Teacher as an Outsider 2) Personally Involved
with Students 3) Teachers Learning from Students 4) Tension Between
the Teacher and Administrators 5) and A Personalized Curriculum
(Dalton 25-38).
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