downsides to setting standards that high—but watching a large number
of “good teacher” movies and reading about others makes me conclude
that at least one real life teacher from my past matches the very best of
the Hollywood teachers. I am living proof to tell you this screen
narrative can be true. In fact, Jaime Escalante’s heart attack is relatively
minor compared to Miss Paeck’s cancer. I wanted to write this chapter
to celebrate the heroic teacher ideal and encourage a more open mind
about savior teachers portrayed in movies. There is too much
pessimism involved in analyzing popular culture, and we might all be
elevated by inspiring stories if we choose to embrace them.
Amazing teachers who fit The Hollywood Model of the “good
teacher” Model that Dalton outlines really do exist. They really do
change the lives of their students. They really do put their students
before themselves. Some are actually young, female, and have
“Hollywood” looks. Some even interact with their students like a
mother. I can say this because Miss Paeck had all these things. She gave
her life to teaching like we see in iconic movies decade after decade.
Miss Paeck had such a pivotal impact on the person I am today. My
only wish is that everyone could have had her as a teacher because I
suspect, if they did, they would see that many of these Hollywood
teachers in movies are much more realistic than they might have
previously thought.
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