One film I use in a class on representations of teaching is Pump up the
Volume.  It is certainly Hollywood-ish, but it also poses questions about
contemporary alienation among highschoolers and the complete lack of
interest/support/understanding that adults offer to the specific problems
they face.  The ending is triumphant but not, I would say, happy.
Fun, but bring up real problems
-Zombie High
-Fast Times at Ridgemont High
-The Class of 1999
More Gritty
Grittier Still
-Menace II Society
And I think you should look at To Kill a Mockingbird and To Sir, With Love.
They're classics. And take seriously the feelings, memories, and yearnings of
people.  If you would consider a non-American flick, try My Life As a Dog
Sounds like a good course.  Good Luck.
Kal Alston
236c Education--UIUC
1310 S. 6th Street
Champaign, Il  61820
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