Hollywood has frequently tapped into the challenge, triumph, and tension in teaching to obtain blockbuster material. In this vote, Stand and Deliver took a solid first, followed by Mr. Holland's Opus and Dead Poets Society -- each of which propelled a great actor into the role of a great teacher. Our favorite response: "Gandhi -- now that's a teacher!"
Immortalized by Edward James Olmos in the movie Stand and Deliver, the real Jaime Escalante now lives in Bolivia, and occasionally teaches at the local university. Escalante, who taught advanced math classes at Los Angeles's Garfield High School, spends time with his grandchildren and still keeps in touch with several former students.
For today's teachers, Escalante sent this message, via email: "Every student is 'gifted.' It is only a question of helping them find the ganas within them -- the desire, the willingness to sacrifice, the wish to get ahead. Teachers must do whatever it takes to bring learning alive, to give the student a purpose for study. This takes work, and it is not the same for every student."