Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 77

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly 73 Principal, who happened to be observing her that day. Because the lessons are traditional, both teachers use texts in traditional ways. Although he inspires his students to engage in a discussion, Dadier never encourages them to use the lesson on Jack and the Beanstalk to reflect on their own lives, their values, or the problems o f their society. His lessons are not designed to prepare his students for College or help them understand the nature o f juvenile delinquency or the impact o f W orld W ar II on their lives. It is intended to help them land jobs as mechanics, electricians, and plumbers. The same is true o f Barrett. In getting her students to connect a text from the previous Century to their own times, she has moved a Step closer to Contemporary pedagogy; her introduction to the novel offers, in Robert Probst’s pedagogy, invitations to dialogue and intellectual inquiry, but she fails to take the next Step. There is no hint the students will move to an exploration o f the best and worst o f their own times and the impact these advances and problems are having on their own lives and values. Rather, Miss Barrett’s discussion is intended to help students better understand the novel they will read. As she teils them at the end o f d ass, be alert to differences between their times and Dickens’s “because that will make us understand why this book still can be exciting and interesting after being written one hundred years ago.” Despite their devotion to their calling, both teachers are, like the teachers in the first films we discussed, eventually overwhelmed by the difficulties they face and give up. Dadier is beaten up by his students so badly that he is off work for a week. Thus he is already on the verge o f quitting when one Student who has been trying to get rid o f him Starts a mail and phone campaign to convince Dadier’s pregnant wife that her husband is having an affair with another teacher. The stress causes the baby to be bom dangerously premature, and that prompts Dadier to quit. But he decides to try again when his wife wants him to keep trying. After facing down a knife-wielding Student and eaming the respect o f his students, he decides to stay on. Two incidents lead to Barrett’s resignation. A female Student in her d a ss named Alice attempts suicide, and Barrett feels that she could have saved Alice because the young women had tried to talk with her before school. But Barrett didn’t have time. Shortly afterward Barrett is nearly attacked by the juvenile delinquent in her d a ss who has misinterpreted her efforts to help him as sexual overtures. She feels she has failed the students who need a teacher most and resigns. “A teacher should be able to get through to her students,” she explains to the