My Reflection Over the Documentary Waiting for Superman

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My Reflection over the Documentary Waiting for Superman

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The documentary, Waiting for Superman, was eye opening and emotional to me. This film impacted me greatly as a teacher. I was also surprised the amount of empathy I felt for these children whom I have never met. I can interpret that the title of this film means that all society does is wait around for something or someone to swoop in and magically make everything better. There is no superhero that is going to save the education world. Waiting for Superman discusses on many topics of the education system from the different kinds of schools, how education is funded, how union laws affect teachers and most importantly how reformers are attempting to fix a broken system.

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One of the toughest parts to watch during Waiting for Superman was the issue of the charter school lotteries. It explains the process used by some schools and then follows multiple families as they try to enter their child in the lottery. This part of the film is very emotional to me and I had no idea that was such a major struggle for certain families in different areas of our country. For many of these children, a charter school is their last hope for a better education. It hurt my heart so badly to see the disappointment and heartbreak on those families’ faces when they found out that they were not lucky enough to have their number chosen to get into a school with quality education. These emotions were captured so well by the filmmaker that I felt as though I was experiencing this awful situation. It is just sickening that in order for their child to even get a chance at a decent education, they have to base their chances off of luck. They don’t have public schools that provide a quality education. Here in South Carolina, most of our public schools have great funding and a high quality of education and educators. My hopes are that someday, public schools all across America will have a quality education and that kids won’t have to enter into a lottery just for hopes of getting into a decent school.

One of the factors of this movie that resonated with me the most was that teachers whose students show exceptional progress cannot be rewarded, but as stated by Geoffrey Canada, “you can be tenured for breathing for two years”. By the same token, what I found most upsetting is that these lackadaisical teachers are ultimately the ones who are shaping America’s future population. The film shows great examples of how directly teachers influence their children’s education. For instance, a good teacher can cover up to 150% of the material they are supposed to cover for the year but a bad teacher will only cover 50% of the material, while still being paid the same amount of money for their job. It absolutely breaks my heart to hear that teachers are telling students that they are being paid whether these students learn or not. When I was young, especially around the age of the students in this film, I found my teachers to be my role models If one of them were to tell me that they did not even care about my education, I would be completely shattered and discouraged. I work at a title one school and I know some of my students have a hard life outside of school and have dealt with major trauma before entering my classroom. I always try to be very caring and nurturing to my students. This is often sometimes the only love or affection they may receive each day.

The moral of Waiting for Superman is that the public-school system is failing, and there needs to be a change. According to the film, change needs to start with teachers. These teachers need to be effective and they need to have high expectations for their students as well as for themselves. They also need to build relationships with these students and show them that they care about them. I feel this is important for all educators to understand. Therefore, I would highly recommend Waiting for Superman to educators as well as future educators. Anyone interested in the education system would also enjoy watching this film.

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