In the movie Stand and Deliver, double entendre ra
n rampant. During an Algebra lesson one day at the beginning of the school year, Mr. Escalante told Angel, a gang member, to “fill the hole”. Not only was he referring to the hole as an illustration, but also to the hole in the students lives as a result of lack of education, the gangs, and in many cases, a poor upbringing.
Mr. Escalante must have seen some potential in Angel and was trying desperately to fill the hole caused by a lack of education in his life. However, Angel, tied very deeply to his gang “family”, would have none of it. Jaime wants Angel to pull a complete attitude reversal by learning and self improvement, but Angel, stubborn to the core, was not going down without a fight. Through seemingly endless struggles, Mr. Escalante endures hardships and insults to try and save the students and the school. Finally, he finds a handhold and clings to it as if his life depended upon it. In the end, Angel, as well as the other students, makes a huge stride by studying and passing the AP Calculus exam.
In yet another interpretation of this seemingly meaningless statement, Mr. Escalante could be referring to the hole caused by discrimination. Jaime knows that because of their ethnic origin, they will have a constant struggle to overcome the hurdles life has already set for them. ETS questioning of the results of the first AP exam is just one of the many obstacles his students will encounter in their strive for success. Mr. Escalante is doing his best to fill the discriminatory holes for his students, even as life undermines his efforts.
Analyzing the statement once again, it could be said that he is regarding the hole caused by low expectations. Mr. Escalante believes with all of his body and soul that the students will rise to the level expected of them. To the astonishment of the teaching staff, his methods begin to prove themselves.Jaime even begins to teach an AP Calculus class to his Algebra students, an even more amazing feat of teaching brilliance. Mr. Escalante begins to fill the hole initiated by family, friends, society, and even his fellow colleagues.
Jaime Escalante should be an inspiration to everyone, not only to the teaching profession, but the whole country. By filling many of the holes in his students lives, he has proven that there is hope for everyone. With the help of Mr. Escalante, the students are ready to begin their new lives in the real world, not the one of gangs, violence and repression, but the world with jobs, loving families, and personal happiness. If every teacher were as successful as Mr. Escalante, our educational system would be leading the rest of the world, not following it.