Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 78

74 Populär Culture Review principal, who reassures her that she is a “bom teacher.” She agrees to stay until the end o f the term, but at the end o f a m ock trial on Silas Marner she changes her mind about quitting when a Student expresses his regret that she is leaving and teils her: “I think your English this term was the greatest subject I ever had.” There is one significant difference between these two teachers, however, and it is in this difference that we see the definition o f a good English teacher begin to change. Despite her similarities to Dadier, Barrett is a new kind of teacher. She wants to have a more personal relationship with her students, something Dadier, the first and last o f the traditional teachers to show up in films, never really tries to do. Like Dadier the problem she thinks she faces is a lack o f communication with her students. She had hoped in her opening talk to move from traditional English teacher concems to “communication between Student and teacher, and finally, mutual respect and even love.” Dadier expresses no such concem . W hen this mutual respect and love does not happen, she takes steps to make it happen: she puts a Suggestion box in her classroom in the hope anonymity will encourage the students to communicate with her. M ost o f the slips she finds are facetious, but one reads: “I am not a good penman, but I must teil someone. I put this in the Suggestion box for the record. Today is my birthday. Happy Birthday to me. Signed, M e.” After reading this note aloud to a colleague, Barrett responds to the expression o f loneliness and isolation in motherly fashion. “I just want to do something for that child,” she teils her colleague. (“Pupil” is the usual way the rest o f the teachers and administrators at this school refer to students.) Like a mother, she wants to make the child’s hurt go away. But she has clearly connected with the Student. She later receives another slip from “me” who wants to know if she’ll be teaching Creative writing next term. “You showed me that writing clearly, means thinking clearly.” This is the Student who eventually teils her that her d a ss was the best one h e ’s ever had. Despite their dedication, however, neither ever considers inserting him or herseif into the personal lives o f their students to help them cope with the problems outside the classroom that are creating obstacles to leaming. Dadier does visit a Student at work to encourage him to continue in school, and Barrett, in the hope that she can bring him around, does try to cultivate a personal relationship with the juvenile delinquent in her dass. It is clear that many o f the problems Barrett’s students have are rooted in situations at home, but the only effort she