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Watch “American Teacher: A Documentary”

Playing at AMC Empire 25
234 West 42nd St. in Manhattan
October 1–6: 10:40 a.m., 1 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 11:45 p.m.

Oscar winner Matt Damon narrates this eye-opening look at the American education system, as viewed from the perspective of four dedicated teachers and seeks to counteract popular misconceptions about the teaching profession by showing, in a style of close-up realism, what teachers actually do and what their lives are really like — and how continued neglect of the profession may be jeopardizing the nation’s future.

Directed by Academy Award winner Vanessa Roth and produced by Dave Eggers and Ninive Caligari, American Teacher: A Documentary aims to address the difficult questions about the broken public school system through honest dialogue with the people who strive to give our children a proper education. The film is part of the Teacher Salary Project and is based on the book “Teachers Have it Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers.”

The film portrays five K-12 public school educators from across the country as they navigate the daily challenges of balancing their teaching career with their personal lives. Every day, Jamie Fidler, Jonathan Dearman, Erik Benner and Rhena Jasey each preside over a classroom full of children with unbound potential. But due to the fact that funds are in short supply and the hours can be grueling, it’s a constant uphill battle. Perhaps even more troubling is the revelation that over three million American teachers will be eligible for retirement in the next decade, and that the current crop of college graduates are turning away from the profession in droves due to minuscule wages and a complete lack of prestige. Realizing that quality teachers are the key to a good education, Roth profiles four educators who have devoted their careers to the betterment of today’s youth but recognize that the entire system could collapse at any moment.

Read more about the film:

Official website of the film

Los Angeles Times review

Education Week review

“Do Teachers Have it Made? Hardly, a New Film Says,” SchoolBook, The New York Times

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