Beyond the Blackboard

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(2011) ★★★

Channel 5: Thursday 28 May, 3.15pm

Emily VanCamp as Stacey Bess, a 24-year-old mother of two who has her shiny enthusiasm knocked back after happily landing her first teaching job in the 1980s – a new programme for homeless students. She thought she’d be teaching at a school. She didn’t realise it would actually be at the shelter, with real actual homeless people hanging around. “Count the kids, show them a movie, keep them off the streets,” says her scary greeter, the teacher who’s quitting. “If it gets really bad, call the police.” It’s not ideal: when the freight train passes by, it disturbs the rats. Ultimately a typically warm and fuzzy Hallmark movie in minor Up the Down Staircase mode, but no less sincere for all that. At least it addresses a subject America shuns like Iraq. “Poverty disgusts me,” admits the dedicated teacher to her husband. “I’m afraid of it.” TV movies aren’t generally that honest.

Certificate: PG
Duration: 100min