Representations of Teachers in 60 Years of Films: A Database promoting Critical Analysis of Teacher Image with regard to Race, Class, and Gender

This data set was developed as a resource for Foundations of Education Courses and Other Courses in which learners will critically examine the representation of teachers and students in popular culture. I viewed 51 films released from 1939 to 1998 and analyzed each with respect to teacher and student representation in terms of race, class, and gender. For each film I described the story line, social context, implicit view of teaching, implicit view of students, and themes. All of the comments recorded (including data on race, class, and gender) reflect my interpretations and are subject to reinterpretation and critique. I hope you find the data tables useful, and please do share suggestions for revision/addition with me at beyerbac@oswego.edu. Please also write if you would like a searchable, Access file of the original database from which these tables were produced.

Film Title

Date

Teacher Race

Teacher Class

Teacber Gender

Student

 Race

Student Class

Student Gender

Goodbye, Mr. Chips

1939

White

upper

male

White

upper

male

 

The Corn Is Green

1945

White

middle

female

White

working

both

Blackboard Jungle

1955

White

middle

male

mostly White

Urban poor

both

Our Miss Brooks

1956

White

middle

female

White

middle

both

The Miracle Worker

1962

White

middle

female

White

middle

female

A Child Is Waiting

1963

White

middle

female

White

middle

both

To Sir With Love

1966

Black

middle

male

White

working

both

Up the Down Staircase

1967

White

middle

female

multiracial

working

both

Rachel Rachel

1968

White

middle

female

White

middle

both

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

1969

White

upper

female

White

upper

female

Conrack

1974

White

working

male

Black

working

both

Looking for Mr. Goodbar

1977

White

middle

female

multiracial

middle

both

Grease

1978

White

middle

both

White

middle

both

Fame

1980

multiracial

middle

both

multiracial

middle

both

Amy

1981

White

middle

female

White

middle

both

Educating Rita

1982

White

middle

male

White

working

female

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

1982

White

middle

male

White

middle

both

Porkys II

1983

White

middle

female

White

middle

male

Sixteen Candles

1984

unknown

unknown

unknown

White

middle

both

Helen Keller

1984

White

working

female

White

upper

female

Teachers

1984

White

middle

male

White, one Black

working

both

The Breakfast Club

1985

White

upper middle

male

White

working

both

Dead Poet Society

1986

White

middle

male

White

upper

male

Ferris Buehler's Day Off

1986

White

middle

male

White

middle

both

Children of a Lesser God

1986

White

middle

male

White

middle

female

Stand and Deliver

1987

Hispanic

middle

male

Hispanic

working

both

The Principal

1987

White

working

male

multiracial

working

both

Summer School

1987

White

middle

male

White

middle

both

Madame Soustaka

1988

White

upper

female

Indian

middle

male

Jacknife

1989

White

middle

female

White

middle

both

Lean on Me

1989

Black

middle

male

Black

working

both

Heathers

1989

White

middle

both

White

upper

both

Kindergarten Cop

1990

White

middle

male

White, a few token Blacks

middle

both

Class of 1999

1methas98.htm990

Multiracial

middle

both

multiracial

working

both

Separate but Equal

1991

Black

working

both

Black

working

both

Boyz N the Hood

1991

White

middle

female

Black

working

both

Just Another Girl on the IRT

1992

White

middle

male

Black

working

both

Juice

1992

unknown

middle

unknown

Black

working

both

School Ties

1992

White

middle

male

White

upper

male

Daughters of the Dust

1992

Black

working

female

Black

working

both

Renaissance Man

1994

White

middle

male

White

working

male

The Browning Version

1994

White

upper

male

White

upper

male

Dangerous Minds

1995

White

middle

female

multiracial

working

both

Mr. Holland's Opus

1995

White

middle

male

White

middle

both

Billy Madison

1995

White

middle

female

White

upper

both

Higher Learning

1995

Black

middle

male

multiracial

middle

both

The Substitute

1996

White

middle

female

Black

working

both

High School High

1996

White

Upper

Male

multiracial

working

both

In and Out

1997

White

middle

male

White

middle

both

187

1997

Black

middle

male

multiracial

working

both

Disturbing Behavior

1998

White

middle

male

White

middle

both

                               

Table 1.  Films Representing Teachers by Year Released, and Race, Class, Gender Data on Teachers and Students

Film title

Storyline

Themes

Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Love of a woman turns a cold man into a good teacher. She says, "You can do anything you set your mind to, if you want to... You can be headmaster if you want". Students run wild at first, and are caned by the headmaster for it.

Fast times-- "in these times" refers to moral decay. Housekeeper-- "things are different now". Women are props-- sacrifice is essential. Wife sacrifices life in childbirth, all talk is about moving to headmasters house, supporting husband-- and she was a liberal, independent woman by her own definition. "A strong minded female who rides a bicycle and wants to vote". They meet on a mountainside in a mist where he foolishly goes up to rescue her. She kissed him-- "You'll have to marry me now" she says. She charms his friends and students. Years later, as he is about to retire, he is described as old-fashioned and into Latin, not modern languages. Five years later the headmaster regrets this view, and toasts him at his retirement.

The Corn Is Green

Miss Moffit, a strong, independent woman, inherits a house and decides to start a school in a poor mining town. With a houseful of books, she elicits the help of an upper middle class gentleman and transforms the conventional views of the townís people. She develops a protťgť-- a male student, who is tempted by Besse, who becomes pregnant. Miss Moffit convinces him to be a scholar, and takes the child to raise as her own.

Miss Moffit is represented as strong, but in general gender roles are reinforced. Town resists school at first. Miss Moffit is controlling, sending Bessie away to have the baby-- Women are either cerebral or carnal (Miss Moffit is has no love interest, Bessie is pure carnal temptation). Girls are absent in first half of film. Miss Moffit says to her scholar student, "You have a duty, but not to that loose little lady". He has a "duty to the world". She pushes him over the wall and tells him to become a great man, and not come back. She accepts his baby as hers. Bias against Welsh culture.

Blackboard Jungle

White male hero establishes control in urban school, protects woman in his life; overpowers bad student by using force.

Tokenism re Black student; women portrayed as bodies; males tough and protective. Women are represented as delicate and needing protection. Teacherís wife says about teacher who was nearly raped, "Maybe she provoked the boy, teachers oughtn't dress sexy". Teacher uses violence against a student who was trying to rape a female teacher. Teacher confronts racism by confronting name calling of a Hispanic student. There is a homophobic comment that goes unchallenged.

Our Miss Brooks

Miss Brooks falls for the shy biology teacher and conspires to win him. She challenges a rich father who challenged her teaching, and urges him to be a better parent. She uses him to bait her husband.

Miss Brooks admires the picket fence/house across the street. "What a perfect place to wait for a man". Jealousy motivates the shy biologist to make his move. Women portrayed as bodies, plotters. A meddling old woman and his mother plot to bring the couple together.

The Miracle Worker

Ann Sullivan teaches Helen the concept of "word," and to communicate.

Empathy-- Ann can teacher her because she was blind. Mother believes she is bright and will not give up.

A Child Is Waiting

Filmed at Pacific State Hospital in California, a woman takes a position as teacher, and develops a strong relationship with a male student, calling his mother in who he hasnít seen in years. Male psychologist challenges and guides her, promotes institutionalization and independence of students.

Promotes institutionalization as the answer. "Your boy knows what its like to be different. He won't be different here". Represents parents as out of touch with their kidsí lives, and the psychologist as the one with answers. Shows retardation as a devastating blow to a family, causing divorce and heartache. Mother doesn't see son because she loves him too much. Clark-- "I haven't helped Rubin at all, but Iíd rather fail with him than have him denatured by your love". He thinks Rubin needs structure and discipline, not love and suckling. He wants kids to learn to help themselves, and that they should be loved as they are-- they have meaning and purpose.

To Sir With Love

A first year Black teacher with no degree in teaching struggles to discipline/control urban students. They get the better of him; he tries treating them as adults and teaching to their interests, and succeeds. Thinks of leaving teaching but stays.

Tokenism, one Black male teacher, all White students. Gender stereotyping. "Most of you girls help your mother with the shopping-- girls soon you will concern yourself with marriage, and no man likes a slut" More flexible gender roles-- e.g. alternatives to physical fighting to resolve disputes, a boy is seen crying. Rugged individualism is reflected. Poitier says, "If you work hard you can do anything you want." Social injustice is not considered, the message to urban poor is that they are responsible for the conditions in which they live. Less rigid gender roles than in earlier films, e.g. alternatives to physical violence are presented as a way of disciplining students; a boy is seen crying.

Up the Down Staircase

Idealistic new teacher in a bureaucratic mess, builds relationships with students and parents, upholds standards. Male student thinks she is nice to him because she wants sex. She thinks of resigning but stays.

Explores ironies of schools "Why are you late?" Black male responds, "I was in the late room, thatís where you go to make up for your lateness. Otherwise I would have been on time." Stereotypic violent urban context.

Rachel

Rachel leads an ordinary life but imagines an extraordinary one (e.g. passing out on the street and being taken away on a stretcher}. She spends too much time with internal talk, calling herself a coward for not leaving the school. She ventures out to date, thinks she is pregnant, and eventually leaves her over-attached mother to start a new life in Oregon.

Depressed introvert is afraid, but takes some measure of control in her life. "I will be afraid always. I might be lonely always. What will happen?"

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Teacher shapes "her girls" into cultivated women, while having an affair with a married man. She is fired but not dispirited.

A woman can either teach or marry; explicit gender stereotyping; man forcefully kissing her as she plays hard to get (violence accepted). Miss Brodie begins to challenge stereotypes as she suggests her girls might have to march in war if called to serve. Her student, Mary, dies enroute to fight for Franco and Miss Brodie tells her students she would have been a heroine if she had lived.
Miss Brodie is a curious mix of traditional and progressive, daring and conventional, challenging and conforming. She has affairs but refuses to marry. Ultimately a student turns on her, betraying her confidence. She tries to rally her students in support, acknowledging she is past her prime.

Conrack

White male hero works to teach rural poor Black kids to rid self of stench of racism. He is seen as too radical for his times and is fired.

Sexist, racist, cannon unquestioned.

Looking for Mr. Goodbar

She writes an essay on temptation, comes on to her married teacher, and has sex. Has had back surgery. Friend is pregnant by one of two boyfriends. She imagines a more glamorous life. Teacher is abusive to her. Aimless existence, she teaches by day and has sex and cocaine by night. Meaningless. Pushes away the one guy who loves her.

She subjects herself to an affair with an abusive man, seducing him. "I just can't stand a woman's company right after I fuck her". "Its not very sporting for a mistress of married men to be jealous". Film portrays gay guys kissing in a bar. She claims, "I'm my own girl". She is beat up and eventually stabbed to death by a homophobic gay guy who can't perform sex with her. Racist slur in film.

Grease

Summer love thwarted by peer pressure.

Appearance is important; constrained career choices, guys tough.

Fame

Students audition for the school, teachers observe. The film follows the lives of 8 talented teens as they follow their dream of fame.

Set high expectations. English teacher (White female) tells Black male student his work is garbage. She orders him to read. "No you f. . . Bitch." He goes in the hall and has a tantrum, knocking out windows. She shuts the door and keeps teaching.

Amy

Amy, an oralist, teaches speech at a school for the deaf. She doesn't sign. Most of the teachers don't believe deaf can lip read or speak. Amy ran away from her husband after their deaf son died.

"You know how people around here feel about the deaf- You can't mix 'em." Amy encourages integration.

Educating Rita

Rita is under pressure from her husband to start a family. A working class hairdresser, she takes a British literature class, and embarks on a path of self-discovery. Her alcoholic professor falls in love with her.

He thinks Rita might be too good to be tarnished by the cannon. But he teaches her and it gives her power to choose a different life.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

High school kids experience sex, talk about it, how to get a guy, girl gets pregnant, abortion, and aimlessness.

Teens are shallow, sex crazed, begins to challenge gender roles.

Porkys II

Farce, social commentary, Revenge for the gym teacher everyone loves to hate. Opens with a guy with a rubber on his head. Male pranks, anti-intellectual, adults try to shut down drama production because of fornication-- Shakespeare. Teachers are mocked.

Social satire, with lots of isms represented. Bigotry is emphasized, and hypocrisy. KKK is put in its place . . .

Sixteen Candles

Its Samantha's 16th birthday but her family is preoccupied with her sister's wedding. Film is about her coming of age, thoughts about guys, body image. Nerdy guy likes her, she likes popular guy, who falls for her in the end.

Gender stereotyping. Girls as bodies.

Helen Keller

From wild to taught, Helen Keller's life.

Ann Sullivan is portrayed as an activist and advocate. Male narrates the story. Some stereotyping re Native Americans (e.g. Headdresses). Ann is Helen's window to the world, but not her shield against it. Ann is an activist and advocate.

Teachers

Urban decay. White female lawyer investigates male teacher re lawsuit of student who can't read.

Negative view of principal, most teachers, most students; objectifies women, racist. The white male principal criticizes the teacher for trying to make a difference, saying, "That's not your job. Your job is to get him through and keep him out of trouble. Don't pull that Mr. Chips crap on me."
Women objectified-- "great ass", and racial stereotypes are rampant (e.g. a Black student has been stabbed and sits in the office).

The Breakfast Club

5 kids in in-school suspension break stereotypes and come to care about each other, for a day.

Encourages us to look beyond stereotypes, but limited to White middle class, parents as villains.

Dead Poet Society

Teacher who is loved by students is too radical for the bureaucracy.

Cannon isn't questioned, another White male hero.

Ferris Buehler's Day Off

Ferris cons parents, has innocent fun, makes principal look stupid, sibling conflict abounds.

Gender typing, White male principal, female secretary, girlfriend is a follower; Blacks segregate in parade.

Children of a Lesser God

Love story of an idealistic special ed. Teacher and a deaf girl. He wants to teach her to speak; she has no interest. He goes to see her mother, who reveals kids made fun of her when she tried to speak. She leaves him to go on her own, returns.

Tokenism-- one Black male student. In contrast to many deaf communities, this film advocates learning to speak and read lips. Sara wants to know why others aren't interested in learning her language.

Stand and Deliver

Escalante sets high standards, connects with their cultures, challenges students to take a calculus exam--they are accused of cheating, retake exam and pass.

Sexism, male hero teacher, female principal doesn't support him.

The Principal

Violent context. Tough White teacher becomes principal and kicks ass. He challenges Black male gang leader; challenges drug dealers. Black security guard protects him from getting himself killed.

Fight violence with violence. Teaching vs. security, You can write some students off. Teachers only want to teach "good" students.

Summer School

Teacher (a coach) is enroute to vacation when he is forced to stay and teach summer school English. Sexual innuendos, he gets arrested, frustrated, and leaves teaching but returns when students beg him to.

Women as objects, student comes on to teacher. One Black male student, one Latino female.

Madame Soustaka

Teacher forms intense bond with student prodigy who is pulled by mother who wants him to earn money. He learns from teacher and leaves her.

Female teacher linked definition of teaching as caring, nurturing, bonding. Male individuation--breaking away. She is portrayed as in love with her student.

Jacknife

Three friends in Vietnam, one died, two connect 15 years later. Dave is still haunted by the death and is an alcoholic, living with his sister, Martha. Megs rekindles Dave's life and tries to bring him into the present. Falls for Martha.

Martha is represented as caring, conscientious, looks out for her alcoholic brother. Interested in Megs. Likes to cook. Stand up to her brother and leaves, connects with Megs, who leaves out of fear and then returns. Of course Martha is there waiting for him.

Lean on Me

Activist hero sets high standards as principal--gets rid of hoodlums, discipline. Based on life of Joe Clark

Stereotypes Blacks as violent, into drugs, schools as corrupt, community against principal.

Heathers

Popular girls pick on the out crowd-- fowl mouthed rich girls, sexually explicit. Veronica tries to fit in with Heathers but despises their shallowness. She and her boyfriend kill and fake suicide of 1 heather, then 2 football players . . .Boyfriend is evil and leads this. In the end he abandons plot to blow up school and blows up self.

Unusually vulgar language for girls, sex and violence are also linked to girls in this movie. Explores popularity. Gay issues.

Kindergarten Cop

White undercover cop becomes K teacher to protect damsel in distress. They get together romantically

Devalues teaching and women, violent, stereotypes gays, as a mother wonders if this kindergarten teacher is gay. A mother worries her boy who is playing with dolls is gay, and the teacher assures her he is just looking up their skirts, legitimizing the objectification of women.

Class of 1999

Four robot teachers- three White men, one Black woman, sent to Kennedy school to restore order.

Typical boy saves girl story as the students fight the bad robot teacher. Black woman robot gets disassembled first, guts spill out, gets blown up by White male in chem. lab- "Guess I blew that course". White male robots also get destroyed.

Separate but Equal

Documentary. Challenges to separate but equal. Blacks have low self-esteem as a result of inferior education.

Women are under represented in film, male in lead teaching role.

Boyz N the Hood

Doughboy is a drug dealer, Ricky is his brother, and is college bound. Two friends and these two try to make it in a tough, urban context. Mom gives her son to father to raise. He tries to guide him, while his peers get In trouble. Ricky gets shot in a drive by shooting.

Black cop-- says about a burglar who was shot at but not hit -- "Too bad you didnít get him. That would have been one less nigger on the street". Women treated as sex objects. Movie offers social critique of race relations.

Just Another Girl on the IRT

A Brooklyn teen girl coping with life in the projects aims to go to college to become a doctor. Chantelle challenges White male teacher about why he doesnít focus on today. Claims Black males are endangered. She is strong, independent, and sassy. She becomes pregnant, plans abortion but can't go through with it. Has baby and wants boyfriend to get rid of the baby in the trash. He can't. They become parents, and as the movie ends she is going to community college and getting her shit together.

Great narrative by Black female re people who judge you by how you dress. Principal is a Black male who tells her she needs to learn to be more like a lady "Tone that mouth down". She replies, "What the fuck does being a young lady have to do with becoming a doctor . . . What the fuck does my attitude have to do with it." To her boyfriend-- "You don't make decisions for me, this is my body." "A film Hollywood dared not to do" Leslie Harris, filmmaker.

Juice

Four Harlem friends hang out, looking for a way to get respect and power (juice). O tries to be a d.j. another goes bad and shoots a man and then one of the three friends. In the end, Q kills him in a fight (dropping him accidentally over a building). Others say he now has the juice.

Guys insult each other by calling mothers whores and fathers faggots. Male centered script. Women objectified. Black adolescents watch old (white) violent movies. "We all go down unless we stay together" (he went down). Blacks call Hispanic boy "spic".

School Ties

Jewish student brought in as ringer on sports team.

Degrades Jewish people, women, sexism as normal, lots re privilege and power. Racism is exemplified. Film focuses on discrimination against a Jewish student, yet the sexism in it is seen as normal and acceptable. Racist slurs are also evidenced in the film.

Daughters of the Dust

Explores cultural conflicts and choices as Black Gullah family prepares to move to the main land.

Black young woman loves a Native American and defies elders to stay with him. Commentary on slavery is offered. Belief in magic vs. God is explored. "We carry too many scars from the past. Our scars own us. We wear our scars like armor,Ē says a young, Black, pregnant (by rape) woman who encourages the family to see their strength and goodness, and to move forward without fear. She stays behind with Iona (and her NaÔve American) and her great grandmother (the wise one). Story is narrated by her unborn child.

Renaissance Man

Businessman takes job teaching in the army with a bunch of underachieving misfits. He teaches them and they all choose to take the exam at the end, and pass.

Critique of parenthood, he doesn't believe in daughters' dreams, but then gives her a telescope (she wants to be an astronomer).

The Browning Version

Stern, belittling teacher, brilliant but disliked, is touched by a student. Wife having an affair. He apologizes to his students on retirement, for not giving sympathy and care. "I have failed as a teacher."

"Itís a multicultural society after all"-- argues for modern languages . . .

Dangerous Minds

New teacher learns the hard way, connects with those most in need, home visits, student she helps gets killed, system fails.

Administrators stereotyped as incompetent and not caring. This teacher learns the hard way, supported by strong men who protect her. De-emphasizes oppressive choices, and claims "Each idea gives you another choice".

Mr. Holland's Opus

Teacher is under appreciated but later school pays tribute.

White male hero, loved by female student, touches hearts of all and makes impact. Once again a white female student falls for her white male teacher, but though tempted, he "does the right thing" and stays with his wife.

Billy Madison

Billy is a goof up who has to go back to school to do it rights.

Stereotyping in terms of gender, sexist, racist-- Black woman maid, Principal is a gay murderer who comes on to Billy but also saves him from being shot.

Higher Learning

Begins with a collage of freshmen moments, male, female, Black, White. White male privilege is clearly evidenced-- Blacks who hang out are called gang members, White frat boy rapes and gets away with it, Girl who was raped joins women's group. Excellent representation of racism, sexism, homophobia. Skinheads incite racial violence, and Black female star is killed.

Great exploration of sexism, racism, homophobia. Segregated student body-- Whites drink and are rowdy, Blacks into dancing to rap-- drink and smoke pot. Gender roles accentuated. Black male-- "I'm not no dumb athlete". White Aryan skinhead goes nuts and kills Black girl. Black boyfriend fights him. Police favor white male. Film ends with the word, "Unlearn".

The Substitute

White male saves White female teacher by subbing for her and conducting drug sting at school--busts corrupt Black male principal.

Women as sex object, White male hero in Black context.

High School High

Comedy, White male leaves his father's elite corporate position to teach high school. He is idealistic, motivates students to take the test.

Stereotypes exposed-- butch gym teacher, student tries to rape female teacher and hero intervenes. White female defeminized principal. Principal is a drug dealer.

In and Out

Teacher Howard Brackett is outed as gay by a former student who is now a famous actor. Teacher tries to deny this, as he plans for his wedding, but eventually comes out.

Be true to yourself. Unveils and probes stereotypes, e.g.. Reading poetry, dressing in bowties, walk, and watches Barbara Streisland, and dancing.

187

Black male teacher is threatened with death, by 187 written in a textbook (code for homicide). He is tough teacher, room gets trashed, gang kills girlfriends dog. He challenges students to learn. Accused of killing student. He dies for a student-- killing himself to teach a lesson.

Black male teacher is lead, dates white blooded female teacher. Student comes to his house and undresses to try to thank him. He tells her to dress and tutors in the library. One in 9 teachers are attacked in schools, 95% by students.

Disturbing Behavior

Kids are brainwashed and become jocks that kill in this plot. Sexual violence, rampant stereotypes and cliques.

Robot students vs. real ones. Ending-- all of a sudden itís an all Black classroom-- "You're getting a new student teacher, show her a little more respect than the last on"-- White guy.

 Table 2. Film Title, Storyline, and Theme.

Film Title

Context

View of Teaching

View of Students

Goodbye, Mr. Chips

England, Elite Brookfield School for wealthy boys.

"We're here not only to beat a rival at sports, but also to do decent on exams." Chipping discourages questions, "Please get on with your work". Discipline is essential to good teaching. After he meets a woman on a mountain and marries, he becomes a more humane teacher.

"They don't carry guns," says one teacher. "The boys are a bit restless".

The Corn Is Green

Set in Wales in a poor coal-mining town.

Schools are to combat ignorance, filth, and poverty, to give meaning. Town squire is anti-school, sees ignorance as a form of social control. School is "cramming a few more facts in" for the exam. Cannon is unquestioned.

Poor, White, rural-- education is the key to a brighter future. Male students are the focus.

Blackboard Jungle

Tough urban context

Got to have discipline; obedience is necessary; be tough. Active engagement is important. Students have a responsibility-- when student breaks records of teacher, he says "I don't know which of you did it, but none of you stepped in to stop it". White male teacher says you've "gotta have discipline and that means obedience. Don't be a hero and never turn your back on the class".

Rowdy, no respect. Sidney Poitier is a Black student (albeit a wonderful role). The teacher tells him, "you're smarter than the others."

Our Miss Brooks

Large, suburban high school

She encourages parent involvement, but this teacher is occupied with getting a man, not pedagogy.

Students play a minor role in this story.

The Miracle Worker

Helen Keller's home, and the stone house on their property.

Dedication, teach baby talk first, eventually she will understand. Mother gives child to teacher when other attempts fail. Teacher uses positive reinforcement, and teaches parents to also. Get the upper hand and then teach. "All's fair in love and war".

Stubborn, clever, violent, blind and deaf.

A Child Is Waiting

Institute for the mentally retarded, mostly White students, token Black student

Anyone can teach-- she has no teaching background. Mr. Clark-- "Sometimes I think we should be treating the parents".

Played by actual institutionalized children, realistic.

To Sir With Love

London, urban, White, racist, violent. Teacher uses physical force to resolve disputes.

Respect, students are responsible, be reasonable, teach to studentsí interests, and take field trips. "If you work hard you can do anything you want". You can enter like a lady or a brat. Emphasizes using "sir" and "miss". When the headmaster greets Sidney Poitier as the new teacher, he emphasizes the importance of control (in relation to race), commenting, "So you're the new lamb for the slaughter, or should I say black sheep."

Unruly, urban, racist, rebellious. Students mock African women for dressing topless. A teacher describes these white, urban students as "illiterate, smelly, and quite content.

Up the Down Staircase

Urban poor, NYC, Calvin Coolidge High, ethnically diverse, unsafe neighborhood.

She had planned to talk on diction, communication, mutual respect, and love. She is met with chaos. Teaching is control, and then an open discussion. She wants to get students to think.

Urban, diverse, unruly. Bright underachieving male is on probation and pulls a knife on her. She guides and disciplines him. He gets an 86 on an exam and is accused of cheating.

Rachel Rachel

Small town, little red school house

Children have heads on desk for rest time. She feels protective to a young boy who the principal wants to talk to for excessive absences. Teaching is peripheral to the story.

White, middle class, elementary, conforming.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

All girls school, conservative, curious about sex

"Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she is mine for life"; Beauty, truth, art come before safety, teaches the cannon--great White men.

Conforming, curious re sex.

Conrack

East coastal fishing town, backwards, Black

Students are dumb and lazy and need discipline, unconventional methods, succeeds in teaching the cannon but is fired. Curriculum focuses on Newton, Keplar, Beethoven, Brahms, to the exclusion of women or persons of color.

Uneducated, rural, lazy, stupid, violent. This poor Black community is represented as backwards, defined by their culture of poverty.

Looking for Mr. Goodbar

Urban, mostly White, deaf adult students. Also multiracial children in summer school

In teaching a deaf child, she is patient and caring. "I love you,Ē signs a student. "I love you too, Amy."

Deaf, multiracial, not the focus in this movie.

Grease

Large suburban high school.

Students are not into school.

Cliquey, boy crazy girls, unruly, men are rats. Girls focus on curlers, makeup, breast exercises, and consider careers of waitressing and telephone operator. Peer pressure makes guys act like tough jerks. Girls stab each other in the back over guys, while agreeing they are rats.

Fame

Manhattan's High School for the Performing Arts. Urban, multiethnic.

Woman disciplines Black male for listening to "ghetto blaster" in class. Sets high standards, provides accurate career info. "You'd better like yourself because that's all youíve got to work with." Creative teaching strategies.

Students represented as talented, multiethnic, White majority.

Amy

Rural, school for blind and deaf, turn of the century

Believe in students. Teach students to speak, one word at a time.

Students are capable of what you expect of them. Focus is on deaf children.

Educating Rita

British university

Support students' growth. Teach middle class culture; classics. Good teaching is giving your student choices.

Striving, working class White female. Dominated by males throughout-- threatening husband.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Large suburban high school

Teacher rules with force, out moded fuddy duddys, one teacher does a home visit.

Shallow, pot smoking, defiant rebels; middle class, partying sex fiends. Kids experiment with sex and talk about it. Student goes for an abortion. Students seem to have meaningless lives.

Porkys II

1980's view of the 1950's. Much of the original cast is back to take on right wing bigotry, religious fanatics, and politicians. Drinking, partying, loud city on the beach.

Teachers as fools, lots of sexual innuendos, Shakespeare play was suspended, administrators let the students practice as a class project. Teacher stands up for Shakespeare.

Anti-intellectual makes fun of guy who plays Mac Beth. "King of the fairies". Anti-gay. Anti woman, anti Indian, anti Jew references made. Slut references.

Sixteen Candles

Suburban

School is irrelevant in these students' lives.

Preoccupied with opposite gender, body image, and peers.

Helen Keller

1880 Alabama, rural

Persistence, discipline, patience, devotion are valued.

Persistent, stubborn, bright.

Teachers

Urban decline

Heroic teacher who cares can make a difference, save society, corrupt system, school as prison.

Unruly, violent.

The Breakfast Club

Upper middle class, White, in school suspension, high school

Negative disciplinarian, or no intervention.

All in trouble all White.

Dead Poet Society

Elite, White, male prep school

Teach the cannon, use creative, unconventional methods, and stand up for beliefs, most conservative and burnt out.

Rich, preppy.

Ferris Buehler's Day Off

White, wealthy, suburban

Teachers are boring idiots; kids are smarter.

Aimless, mischievous.

Children of a Lesser God

School for deaf teens in a small town

Start where the learner is at, give reasons to learn (lip-reading), explain why itís important to speak, persist.

White, deaf, female, strong

Stand and Deliver

Tough, urban

Male hero, math teacher, sets high standards, believes in students.

Tough guys, sheltered girls.

The Principal

Urban, violent, rundown decaying building with graffiti

"No more". No more missing classes, arson, and robbery . . . Teachers uprise, they don't want to teach. One hero among incompetents.

Multiracial, urban, violent gangs fight to control the school, deal drugs.

Summer School

White, middle class, beach, teacher teaches summer school-- remedial English

White male hero, one teacher can make a difference. "Inside every bad kid is a good kid".

A few token students of color represented.

Madame Soustaka

Gifted young pianist, urban

Teaching piano interweaved with teaching life; teaching is caring, as a mother; donít release bond until pupil is fully developed and breaks away.

Talented pianist.

Jacknife

Suburban, post Vietnam era. Meggs is a working class male auto mechanic, Martha teaches.

Teaching is hard work (up late grading papers). Film focuses on her personal life, not teaching.

At the prom.

Lean on Me

Urban, Black, violent, drugs, graffiti, fights.

Some kids are dispensable, discipline, teach basic skill; take care of social needs.

Black, violent, low test scores, into drugs. Some students are written off as incorrigible and are written off to save others.

Heathers

Wealthy suburban school, Heathers are popular but mean.

Teacher uses Heather's fake suicide note to teach literature, "Are we going to be tested on this?" a student asks. Hippy teacher holds "love in" to discuss suicides. "We have to talk, whether you kill yourself or not is one of the most important decisions a teenager can make".

Shallow, concerned with status and fitting in.

Kindergarten Cop

White middle class school, invaded by thugs

Anyone can teach; lead has no prior teaching background. Teacher screams, "shut up," brings ferret in, police strategies, marching. He uses a 'show no fear' approach.

Middle class rascals.

Class of 1999

Violent urban context, guns, gangs.

Respect, obey, and learn. Robots get carried away and kill some students (who are dispensable) to restore order. Kids fight back.

Students as violent gang members, but do fight robots to reclaim school.

Separate but Equal

Rural SC segregated Black schools in early 50's

Teachers/resources influence self-concept. Women are underrepresented in the film.

Black, obedient, hardworking, poor.

Boyz N the Hood

Urban, 1984, south central LA. The 'hood' has drive by shootings and unemployment. Violent, bleak.

Irrelevant to kids lives. Teacher drones on about Thanksgiving while kids observe drive by shootings.

Unconnected to school, struggling to survive violence.

Just Another Girl on the IRT

Black female is protagonist in the urban poor Brooklyn projects.

White male teacher is irrelevant to her life, focused on history, not current context. Chantelle describes her education as "miseducation".

Chantelle is portrayed as bright but not fitting into mainstream (she swears, challenges male teacher).

Juice

Urban, violent, focus on 4 Black "bad boys".

One brief school scene, no teacher talk. School is irrelevant to their lives.

Violent, trying to get by in an impossible context.

School Ties

Elite all White prep school, racist

Winning at sports, discipline, tradition, elite, and judge selves by the highest standards.

One Jewish, persecuted.

Daughters of the Dust

Gullah islands in early 1900's. Extended family prepares to migrate north to the mainland. Much filming is outside on the beach.

Teaching takes place outside of school by Black Grandmother, spiritual healer. Black woman from the mainland returns to teach young girls the proper way to sit in a chair . . . Old teaching clashes with new. Teaching is integrated into living, no schools, no age grouping, elders are wise.

Learning is part of living, strong family ties, draw towards the new and unknown.

Renaissance Man

Unemployed Business man gets job in army in Georgia

Job is to teach them to think, Draws on their experiences, teaches Shakespeare.

Striving, lacking in confidence. He tries to get them to believe in themselves.

The Browning Version

Prep school, elite, religious, boys, British

Tradition, cannon are important. He is called the Hitler of the lower sixth. Study of the classics is what is important to our future.

Disinterested for the most part, elite prep school.

Dangerous Minds

Urban, multiracial, graffiti, rap, helplessness

Get their attention, teaching is an act of courage, find a hook, link to their knowledge, each idea gives you a choice (knowledge is power)."All you've got to do is get their attention,Ē the lead teacher says.

Mostly people of color, disrespectful. Focus is on a class of "special kids"

Mr. Holland's Opus

Mostly White, middle class

Arts are undervalued; teaching is making a difference, passion for subject.

Disinterested but engaged by hero.

Billy Madison

White suburban school, rich

Teachers are dolts; some make a difference.

Bumbling, but there is hope.

Higher Learning

College with diverse, mostly White students. Alcohol saturated campus.

Black male professor welcomes students to the real world by sending those who haven't paid tuition from their class. "There are no free handouts in this world. Go settle your bill and don't return till you do." He shows no favoritism towards Black male lead, but offers guidance. One's primary purpose at a university is to "learn how to think".

A diverse array of students are represented and shown in their journey of self-discovery and learning about diversity.

The Substitute

Urban, violent, drugs, gangs

Anyone can teach; White male hero with no experience teaches.

Violent, tough, swearing.

High School High

Decrepit gang rode high school in the city.

White male hero, other teachers don't believe in kids. Cram for the test, teach cannon. Work as hard as you can and nothing can stop you.

Will work for you if you believe in them and get to know them personally.

In and Out

Small town in Indiana, conservative

Loves his work.

Conservative, they ponder whether they have really had a gay teacher all year.

187

Urban, mostly Black males focused on; violent murders.

Teachers care. "Anyone here can be a scientist". Sets high expectations for all. This class is our sanctuary; respect it.

Black working class.

Disturbing Behavior

Suburban school

Minor role in this film.

Interesting twist on stereotypes, as freaks become good guys, jocks are bad. Violent, like Colorado massacre. Kicks over custodian's bucket and calls him retard. Skaters, preps, drug dealers, metal heads, geeks, mechanics.

 Table 3. Film Title, Context, Images of Teachers and Students.

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