You will hear me say this on many occasions... I am always beyond grateful to receive comments on my blog. Salman even likes to tease me and say "oh! you have comments!" sending me into an hysterical jubilation, only to then realize that he is joking and just loves to see my reaction each and every time for his own sick amusement.
The other day on my "Waiting for Superman" post, I received the mostly lengthy, well thought-out comment ever to appear on my blog. As a rather opinionated person myself, I was immediately drawn into what this reader had to say about the school system in the US and the importance of teachers' viewpoints, and the lack thereof in the film's trailer.
Let me first say this: Kudos to those who have the guts to say what they believe is right! I enjoy posting on this blog for what it is- a place to tack up my amusements, inspirations and everyday thoughts. When another person takes the initiative to look hard and deep into what I've written or portrayed, I am very honored and thankful.
Specifically regarding the reader's comment in relation to the trailer: I agree that the teacher's role is not adequately portrayed within the film's advertisement- that is not to say that it will not be within the film itself, but I do understand where you are coming from. I hope that the film gives a much more accurate and well-rounded portrayal of the US school system in comparison to the trailer's attempt at a summarized version. I also believe that you are wholly and without-a-doubt correct- teachers need to be a part of the revamping of our public school system! They are, in fact, the only adults present in the classroom day in and day out, along with the children. They are the ones who see the gruesome truths that come in and out of those classrooms in a daily basis...not to bash school administrators or those in the upper-echelons, but it is simply the hard fact that teachers do a lot of the dirty work for the least amount of payback (and I'm not necessarily talking about salary, but "payback" in terms of having a heard voice within the system's administration).
I am not a teacher. I have, however, spent the past 5 years living in Baltimore City, where drugs, crime and overall negligence have taken a toll on the most innocent of the population: children. When you see the hunger in a child's eyes for the ability to read and write at the level of his classmates and peers, you realize that administration and the rights of teachers and parents are all important, but what is the bottom line of it all is the fact that children need THEIR rights heard and addressed. They need to have the right to dream and turn their dreams into actions. When a child is asked "what do you want to be when you grow up" and they answer "a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, a policewoman," you want to be able to tell them that they have every opportunity to make that happen. With Canada's appearance in the trailer (the man, not the country) there is a sense of realization that the education the children within his school are receiving is not cheap and available to all, but it SHOULD be.
From the point of a film director, I think the purpose of asking a child "what do you want to be when you grow up" and receiving those answers filled with passion and determination is to draw the emotions out of your audience. That being said, I do believe that teachers can also give very raw, emotional and provocative answers to questions if they were given the chance to speak their minds; part of the reason there aren't many teachers speaking up in the film trailer may be simply because they are not being given the opportunity due to the politics surrounding their position. However, if you are a teacher and you have something to say that could change the face of education in this country, then by all means, please say something! Children, as much as they should have a voice, do not. They are seen as "immature" and "naive" when in fact, they are quite mature in their wisdom and will amaze you most of the time. Since this is not a well known fact, apparently, you (as the teacher) are their key to a voice within this society. You have the power to give a voice to what can otherwise turn into a lost generation. "Be the change you wish to see in the world," said Ghandi.
Again, I love to receive comments on both the pretty and the not-so-pretty things I post, so please feel free to speak up!