February 23, 2006

First year teacher - a movie

Anita also links to an excellent, short (35 mins) documentary about teachers and teaching. The cameras folow five young teachers in their first year of teaching in Los Angeles schools. It might remind you of why you became a teacher, or make you reconsider why! But also, I thought, what a cool way to introduce American-style classrooms to people who haven't ever been there. Have EFL or education students watch this and give their reactions: what things surprised you, impressed you? What did you notice that was the same as/different from schools/teachers in your own country?

This is really well worth watching. My favourite quote:
What can pull these kids into school? What can make them interested? And make them want to learn?...Obviously kids need to know how to read. They need to know how to write. But they also need to know that they're good people. And, some of them don't. That's my job: to tell them I'm happy that you're here at school today; I'm happy to see you.
I saw teachers and young people struggling in a Kafkaesque world. Another quote I remember: a young boy who has a very hard time with English is finally, after huge efforts by his teacher, hooked up with a speech therapist. We see the boy and the speech therapist together for a few minutes. Then, as the two go hand-in-hand down the stairs and disappear out of sight, the teacher's voice-over: "That's all the time he got with the speech-therapist this year". Kafkaesque, I tellya!
Thanks, Anita.

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