What if Superman is already here? Who, then, are we waiting for?
I’ve asked these two questions often and no one really has a response, and maybe there isn’t one. But, maybe Rorschach of The Watchmen did answer it for us in a fashion when he commented on superheroes being looked to for help: “[The people] will look up and shout ‘Save us!’… and I’ll whisper ‘no.'”
What if Waiting for Superman had it all wrong? What if Superman was in the school, didn’t feel supported, and left? What if Superman took a job somewhere else? Or, what if Superman is still working in the school, and no one recognizes/rewards him?
Well, maybe this new film American Teacher will tell the tale that people seem to dismiss, ignore, or miss. Michael Alison Chandler summarizes the film thusly:
It follows a handful of smart people who work long hours in front of the classroom and deal with resoundingly common problems.
The teachers talk about what inspired them to go into the field (moments of discovery, teaching someone to read, the intellectual challenges of translating one lesson to 35 different learners) and what burns them out (low pay, little support from management, 65-hour weeks, the overwhelming task: “I feel I give everything I have, but it’s never enough,” one teacher said).
Chandler further states:
In an op-ed in The New York Times,the documentary’s producers – who are also the founders of the 826 National tutoring centers – say that real salaries have dropped for 30 years in a row.
The average starting salary is $39,000 and grows to $67,000 after 25 years in the profession, they write, yielding paychecks that price them out of the housing market in 32 major metropolitan markets.
The film offers more in the way of storytelling and explaining than a clear path forward — but urged the kind of political will that found money for three concurrent wars, the bailout of investment banks, or the project that sent Americans to the moon.
Maybe, just maybe, this film will portray teachers and the profession accurately and with a sobering dose of reality for the public to see. Maybe the straw man argument of the so-called “bad teacher” can be put to rest , and a real dialogue about the realities of teaching can be discussed when this film hits the silver screen.