The two “good teacher” distinctions that apply to Miss Paeck
and Jaime Escalante most are directly their personal involvement with
students and the personalizing the curriculum. Dalton says, “the
teacher-student relationships as portrayed in films vary in their degree
of intimacy but often involve some sort of ‘breaking the rules’” (28).
For example, in Stand and Deliver Dalton points out that “Escalante
provides a bright student, who is also a gang member, with three sets
of books- one for his locker, one for his class, and one for his home-
so that his friends won’t see him carrying books and tease him” (Dalton
28-29).
Miss Paeck was the same way. Like Escalante, she played
favorites, but for the right reasons. There was one girl in my class who
was particularly mean and manipulative. She was very bright for the first
grade and would manipulate the other students (including myself) into
doing exactly what she wanted. She was bossy and excluded girls from
her “group” even at the age of six. While I have described Miss Paeck
as the most loving and kind person, she did not like McKenna, and she
did not hide it. I did not know this at the time, but as I got older, my
mom told me that Miss Paeck used to pull my mom aside and tell her
how terribly McKenna treated me. I was too scared to tell my mom that
I did not want to hangout with McKenna and go on play dates with her,
but because Miss Paeck became personally involved in my life, my mom
helped me distance myself from McKenna. In addition, when the
elementary classes went to recess, we would always have to walk single
file with our teacher to the playground. All the students had to walk
behind Miss Paeck, but she would allow one student to hold her hand
and walk with her in the front. McKenna always wanted to be the lucky
student in the front, but Miss Paeck played favorites, and chose to have
me in the front with her each time.
Another way Miss Paeck exhibits elements of the “good
teacher” that The Hollywood Curriculum discusses is her maternal
predisposition. Dalton explains that, “Teachers themselves and teachers
in the movies are generally committed to caring for children” (Dalton
88). It is important to note, however, that this is not a general theme of
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