I asked the students, “Are you guys reading The Crucible?”
“I would have rather taught that than watch Freedom Writers.”
One student asked me, “What do you have against the movie?”
I don’t have a problem with the movie. I don’t have a problem with the author’s methods of teaching.
I do have a problem with the assumption that there haven’t been amazing, wonderful things happening in classrooms all around the country. I do have a problem with the assumption that there haven’t been educators worthy of a book deal or movie. I have a problem with people who have a profound impact on students that leave the classroom (she left the classroom after fours years of teaching, according to Wikipedia, but is still in education). I have a problem with books made into movies that Hollywood-ize everything, portraying the worst of every stereotype and race.
I cringe whenever I have to show a movie but since the author herself visited the campus last week, I suppose it warranted a showing. (That and the teacher did not anticipate her absence today.)
I assigned an essay to be written during the movie. Nothing major, just a couple of paragraphs that summarized the movie and commentary with examples. I wish I had written down some of the quotes I read from them. Most essays were full of observations and questions; many shared my concerns regarding stereotyping and exaggerating for Hollywood. But how many teenagers, let alone people, have been taught to think critically?