Fresh out of school, Sylvia Barrett begins her high school teaching career in a tough inner city neighborhood. The school is disorganized and lacks proper supplies. The classrooms are overcrowded. There is chaos that exists both within the staff and student body. Despite these problems, Miss Barrett comes into the school with an idealistic view of being able to assist students in learning, regardless of obvious or hidden obstacles. Some of the students who may be facing some of these obstacles are moody but bright. Joe is always on the verge of expulsion, Alice is romantic but socially awkward, and Roy is continually falling asleep in class. Paul, a fellow English teacher, tries to advise Miss. Barrett not to take her job so seriously while he dreams of getting out of teaching to become a novelist at the same time he is attracting the attention of many a female student. Through it all, will the school get the better of Miss Barrett or will she get the better of the school and the students?