March 1st, 2006


Last night i watched Teach, a half-hour documentary about teachers in public schools. It's available for free online under a Creative Commons license. I highly recommend it. It was inspiring and it really made me think.

Thought one: how is it that these teachers can give themselves so completely to this job? I mean, i understand the compulsion — if i had to take care of all these kids i would feel such an incredible responsibility for them. But i would die after a couple of weeks. I'd burn out. I can't imagine sustaining that level of attention and commitment for years at a time. It's unbelievable.

Thought two: when i was a kid, i had no concept of what it was like to be the teacher. No empathy, no idea whatsoever what the teacher was thinking or going through, even when i got to high school. They had authority over me, they told me to do things, i did my best to do them, and so it went. I wonder how different my experience would have been if it had ever occurred to me that they were human beings.

Thought three: all those kids in the movie are like little proto-people. These teachers are having a huge effect on how they're going to turn out when they're 20, 30 — how their whole lives are going to go. They get to shape these people. What would i do with that kind of power? Hey, wait a second... i do have that power. I'm a proto-person too. I get to invent the person i'm going to be when i'm 40, 50 — who is that person going to be?

Anyway. Check out the movie. It's powerful.