Thursday, August 21, 2008

Do you have my Chalk?

In the words of second year math teacher The Smallest Twine, if you haven't seen the movie Chalk, you need to get on that!

Filmed in the mocumentary style of The Office, Chalk chronicles the lives of three teachers and a vice principal through a year at their high school. It's one of the best movies on teaching I've seen. Why? Because it shows the profession as it truly is, and doesn't glorify teachers into superheros who do the impossible at a detriment to themselves or their family.

As you might remember from this post, I am not a fan of Freedom Writers or other films that suggest good teachers must be selfless miracle workers. Teaching is a job - a profession - not a higher calling by some divine energy. Teaching is also not a "gift." Good teachers are not "blessed" with an affinity for the job. They learn to become competent and successful over time through experience, good mentoring and support, professional development, and continued education.

It's a well established fact that individuals in the education profession need the above to become successful. Yet why is it that many mentoring programs (my school excluded - ours is legitimate and was extremely beneficial for my development) are superficial, that teacher support is undervalued by administrators, that school-sponsored professional development usually has no relevance or application in the classroom, and that teachers have to spend their OWN money to take classes that are either required or will allow them to do their jobs more effectively?

Why is it that the state will pay for police officers to take college courses and earn degrees, but not teachers? It's absurd.

Check out the Chalk trailer below, then head out to your local video store and rent it this weekend. If you share some of the righteous indignation about the teaching profession that I do, Chalk will resonate as it brings to light many of the job's absurdities.

It will also remind you of its importance, and why it's necessary to do it as well as you can.


Midwest Teacher said...

I tried to watch Chalk. It depressed me too much. And, I'd like to think I don't know any teacher (myself included) who's that hapless. Yikes.

Mr. B-G said...

I think the point is that we've all been there. We've all felt that. The movie humanizes the teaching profession, as opposed to the typical over-the-top glorification that's standard with most Hollywood teacher flicks.

Dr Pezz said...

Great flick! Loved it I especially loved the teacher enlisting his students for Teacher of the Year honors. Priceless. I know that guy. He used to teach with me down the hall.

Mr. B-G said...

Yeah. He's a classic character. Charismatic and totally self-absorbed. I especially liked it when he told one of his female students that she knew more about history than he did, and that she needed to "tone it down" and not steal his limelight.

Or another time when he asks a male student not to use large vocabulary words that he doesn't understand.


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