A person may be blessed with natural abilities, but through human nature, we desire personal connection and motivation. The movie Stand and Deliver told the story of a high school class that fell short of academic requirements.
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Angel was a student, first introduced as a trouble maker. As the audience realizes that there is more to Angel than his tough guy routine, so does Mr. Escalante. He is a compassionate grandson, taking care of his sickly grandmother. Angel showed up to Mr. Escalante’s house on Christmas Eve with his grandma, and although it was an act of resentment, they were welcomed in for dinner. Personally, when I was younger my grandpa was very sick; I would spend nights in the hospital with him and my family unable to complete homework assignments which ultimately set me behind in classes.
However, like Mr. Escalante, my teachers understood that my life did not always revolve around the classroom. I had other responsibilities and worries on my mind. However, Mr. Escalante also did not allow his students to let their worried minds become excuses for their lack of success or sloppy work ethic. All Mr. Escalante asked of his students was ‘ganas’ or the desire to learn. He held them to a higher standard than they ever had been before which motivates me well because it gives me something to prove.
I want to join the Navy after high school and a friend of my sister’s said that I do not have the desire for it. After I heard that, I became more encouraged than ever. Also no excuses were tolerated in his classroom which I believe is a fantastic tactic. Students know exactly how to manipulate teachers, whether there is a sincere justification for something or just an excuse. When Angel is late to class, Mr. Escalante kicks him out, since his tardiness shows that Angel does not see the value in learning.
Later, Angel again comes into class tardy, this time after being with his grandmother in the hospital. Although Angel’s excuse is genuine, Mr. Escalante does not accept it and asks Angel to leave. It is this attitude that inspires the students to attend class regularly and on time. In life, excuses get you nowhere except back where you started. Teachers who do not accept excuses are the ones who care about you enough to get you ready for the real world. Mr. Escalante was very successful. He started with a class of students who did not care about grades or math at all.
However, through his tactics, within a few years, those same students passed the advanced placement calculus final. Mr. Brechlin, I will do better in math and school in general if I am forced to be all I can be just as Jamie’s students were. I am a slacker… and need to be pushed! Like Angel I do have personal and family issues and need help and guidance at times. However, as Mr. Escalante put it, when I’m getting hired for a job they will not want to hear my problems
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