Academy for Success
Ep14 Positive Cinematic Spotlight : Breakfast at Tiffany's
Welcome back, Wolf Pack, to another Positive Cinematic Spotlight! This week, I’m letting everyone in on a little secret of mine: I like romantic comedies. And this week we are looking at a classic from 1961, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, struggling writer Paul Varjak moves into an apartment building where he meets socialite party girl Holly Golightly. The two develop a quick friendship as both discover the similarities of their lives. Holly is taken care of by a string of men she dates or had friendly relationships with, while seeking a wealthy man to marry. Meanwhile, Paul is taken care of by 2 E, a wealthy married woman willing to help him financially as he tries to earn a living as a writer. Their friendship begins to develop into romantic affection, making both characters face the possibility that they have to change their lives for each other. Paul is the first to come to that realization. He breaks up with 2 E, leading her to wonder what woman could have gotten Paul to fall in love with her. She concludes that whomever it is, she has to be wealthy to help him, the way 2 E had been helping him. Paul responds, “Curiously enough... she’s a girl who can’t help anyone, not even herself. The thing is, I can help her, and it’s a nice feeling for a change.” While it’s new to Paul, the positive feeling of helping others is not new to most teachers, as it’s a draw for many of us in the education field. It’s also something we sometimes need to remind ourselves of. We can get distracted by pacing guides and paperwork and standardized tests. But these are not the source of those “nice feelings” Paul refers to. It’s the help we can give our students. Whether that help is academic or emotional, emotional or social, whether it’s the a-ha lightbulb moment in class, or the security that some students find in school that they don’t find out of school, those “nice feelings” are most of us got into the education field. It certainly wasn’t the paycheck, am I right? But, that being the case, also be sure that you are taking care of yourself. Your ability to help your students is limited if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Don’t give so much of yourself, your energy, your time, that you have none left for yourself. Back in Breakfast at Tiffany’s Paul tells Holly how he feels, but Holly balks saying that she belongs to no one and that she’ll “never let anybody put her in a cage.” Holly views marrying someone out of love rather than financial security as being put in a cage. However, Paul tries to convince her that marrying for money rather than love is a way of Holly putting herself in a cage of a loveless marriage. Paul’s love isn’t about control or ownership, but support and encouragement. Similarly, our students sometimes respond to schools and teachers in the same way. They don’t recognize that we are trying to keep them from putting themselves in cages with limited options. We want them to have all possible options able to decide the kind of life they want after high school. Yet, they will react to us as if we are trying to put them in cages. So, what should we do? Not get angry and storm off like Paul does. We should remain patient and compassionate, understanding that, as teenagers, they are trying to hold onto any semblance of control, and while sometimes the control they exert is self-destructive, if we remain in their corner, there is a better chance they will mature and realize that we are trying to give them more control over their future. Thank you for everything that you do, thank you for being the best, and thank you for the patience and compassion you show your students.
Duration: 21 min