Teacher, Teacher is a play by Ellison Carroll in two acts which explores two different ways of teaching and learning. The traditional method of teaching is exemplified by Hamilton Cade, a young man who has been a teacher at many schools. The second method which is activity based learning or practical learning is tried by Charles Carter, an air force pilot but currently a handyman.
Both Cade and Carter are hired by Niles Putnam, an architect, to teach and take care of his challenged son, thirteen year old Freddie Putnam. Freddie is a slow learner and has never been to school. The only reason for not sending Freddie to a proper school or allowing him to mix with other boys is because Putnam doesn’t want anybody to taunt or pity him.
Cade has an unsuccessful teaching career because of his drinking habit. He is badly in need of a job and when he gets to know that the ‘exceptional’ child is mentally challenged, he hesitates to take up the job offered by Mr. Putnam .But finally Cade heeds to Putnam’s request and decides to take up the challenge.
Cade believes in using flash cards and pictures to teach simple words. He is keen to teach Freddie to read and write because he feels that it is important for him to learn them to face the real world. Carter on the other hand teaches Freddie how to use a jack, move a screwdriver, make a small house, read with a helper and write simple words. Carter believes in teaching through activities in a fun-filled way. He also brings his nephew, Joey, to Putnam’s estate so that Freddie gets a chance to interact with another boy of his age.
Though Cade tries different ways and means to help the boy, he is more inclined to learn simple skills that are taught by Carter. This makes Cade feel jealous of Carter and eventually tells him that he is at the Putnam’s’ to teach Freddie and Carter must not interfere with his work…
Carter leaves Putnam’s estate after a tiff with Cade. Freddie leaves the house alone and goes out looking for his friend Carter and his nephew Joey. On the way he helps a lady change the car tyre and gets paid a dollar for it. He even finds Carter.
Niles Putnam learns that Freddie should venture into the outside world to lead a normal life. He decides to send him with Carter and his nephew to get acquainted with the world that is new to him.