The Valpo Core Reader


Tom Anders

Document Type

Description Essay

Publication Date



In the recent movie, Class of 1984, the viewer meets a high school biology teacher who is giving a pop quiz with one question for each student. If the student answers correctly, he receives an A. If he gives a wrong answer, the teacher uses a gun held to the student's temple to give him a permanent failing grade. Although to many this movie teacher's methods for testing may appear unbelievably severe, Pauline Kael in her article "High School and Other Forms of Madness" suggests that the teachers in high schools are very close to controlling their students with such tactics. Kael describes teachers as being brilliant at delivering and enforcing severe, petty, and often unfair rules and procedures. During my junior and senior year in high school, I met Miss Hilton. She would have made Kael smile from ear to ear, because she was a living example of Kael's idea that high school teachers are severe, rule-enforcing, military double-talking dictators.