Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 74

70 Populär Culture Review it, and the discussion leads to a lesson on simile, metaphor, and Oxymoron. After the students leave Rago muses with some wonder: “I’m teachin’ Shakespeare.” His success encourages him to make a serious effort at teaching, and because the students come to believe he is really interested in their success, instruction progresses fairly well. But, as typically happens, things fall apart when the students suddenly think he does not care about them, a set piece in these films. He is late for d a ss one aftemoon and apologizes by confessing that he had to attend a job interview. They are surprised and disheartened because they thought teaching them was his job. “That’s okay, Bill,” says one. “W e’re used to it,” i.e., not being important. “W e’re part time, like a paper route,” says another. “Hey, what do ya want from me?” he asks in irritation. “N ot much, I guess,” one replies “L et’s get out of here. Who needs him?” “W e ain’t nothin’ but a hobby to you,” another says as the group leaves the classroom. “Last time I come to this d a ss.” The incident is a tuming point for Rago. Their disappointment and his realization that he has let them down makes him angry with himself, and he realizes that he is about to fail again. This realization causes him to admit to him self that he has come to care about teaching them. “If I lose ’em now, I’H never get ’em back.” The d a ss walked out fifteen minutes before d ass was over, so Rago decides to demonstrate that he does care about them by confronting them on a rappeling tower to get the fifteen minutes back. Seeing him do the same thing they are being asked to do impresses them enough they retum to d ass, and eventually they volunteer to take a final exam which they are not required to take even though they will be discharged if they fail it, which none o f them do. At the graduation ceremony, his students salute him as they pass in review, and Rago sticks around for the next batch o f recruits that has sawdust for brains. Teaching English changed Rago. He began his teaching career a cynic who valued only money. Although he could afford it, he refuses to buy his daughter, an aspiring astronomer, an airline ticket to Mexico where her Science d a ss is going on a field trip to observe an eclipse; he doesn’t see her dream as a career choice for grown-ups, which he defines as one that will lead to the “big bucks.” She sees his criticism as evidence that he does not care about her. But his success as a teacher