Examine the characterization of Mr. Weston.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Weston's characterization in the novel is offered as the veteran teacher who has become burned out due to the demands of his profession.  Weston's introduction is one where he is shown to have appropriated the very worst of his students' behavior.  The joke about Braithwaite's skin color to start is reflective of this.  Weston has lost the initial passion that once drew him into the profession.  In talking about how Hackman, Braithwaite's predecessor, had "escaped," it becomes clear that Weston is a burned out teacher.  This is furthered in his discussion of students as "morons" and how they enjoy "teacher baiting."  Weston is offered as representation of the Status Quo.  He is shown to be the inertia in the teaching profession that prevents a full understanding of the transformative capacity intrinsic to teaching.  In many respects, he is the "anti- Braithwaite."  Whereas Braithwaite has a sense of hope and progressivism about what he can do, Weston lacks these qualities.  Weston's characterization makes clear that from the earliest of moments, Braithwaite's challenges exist in educating both the students and the adults, as well.

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