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The Myth and Reality of Heroic Teaching

Education Next – Thomas Arnett

“A popular theme in movies about K–12 education is the archetype of the heroic classroom teacher. From Robin Williams’s character in Dead Poets Society, to Richard Dreyfus’s character in Mr. Holland’s Opus, audiences are inspired by teachers whose dedication and passion changes their students’ lives forever. And lest we dismiss the archetype as just endearing fiction, many of the most popular stories are based on real teachers, including Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver, Ron Clark in The Ron Clark Story, and Erin Gruwell in Freedom Writers. Unfortunately, part of the reason why movies and society celebrate these teachers is because they are so rare. Mainstream society often fails to appreciate that being just an average teacher is incredibly hard work.”(more)

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