Film: 'American Teacher'
By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
Films about teachers often tend to be stereotypical in nature. “Waiting for Superman” blamed “bad teachers” for being complacent and ineffective. Other movies — “Freedom Writers,” “Stand and Deliver,” “Dangerous Minds” — portray teachers as self-sacrificing saints eager to take a vow of poverty. “American Teacher” is more realistic. The film shows that the majority of teachers are smart, resourceful, hardworking, and doing the best they can in challenging circumstances. Instead of playing the blame game, the film makes a strong case that our teachers — who are responsible for educating America’s future generations — deserve to be valued, supported, and paid what they are worth.
The documentary is based on the book “Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers” (New Press 2005) authored by journalist and teacher Daniel Moulthrop, writer Dave Eggers, and Ninive Calegari, a former teacher and co-founder of 826 National, a student writing center.