Teaching: The Movies v. The Real World

The Following commentary on tenth grade teacher, Tom Moore’s, movie review is quoted from Where the Blog has No Name.

“Tom Moore is a tenth grade history teacher in the Bronx and his op-ed in today’s New York Times deconstructs the Hollywood image of teacher as hero/martyr

In analyzing the recent film “Freedom Writers,” Moore argues that the “dangerous message such films promote is that what schools really need are heroes. This is the Myth of the Great Teacher. Films like “Freedom Writers” portray teachers more as missionaries than professionals, eager to give up their lives and comfort for the benefit of others, without need of compensation.”

While there’s plenty of room for more love and idealism in the classroom, martrydom is not the answer to the problems teachers and students face in schools. Moore says he doesn’t expect to be thought of as a hero for doing his job. What he wants is to be respected, supported, trusted and paid.

Moore says that “every day teachers are blamed for what the system they’re just a part of doesn’t provide: safe, adequately staffed schools with the highest expectations for all students.”

He’s right, of course, but here he seriously downplays the responsibilities that teachers share as part of the system.

It’s true that “one maverick teacher, no matter how idealistic, perky or self-sacrificing” will not transform the system, collective action among teachers choosing to work in the interest of students (as opposed to the corporations and the state) could turn the system upside down.”

Click here to read Tom Moore’s article in full.

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