“Teachers make thousands of decisions a day, and they don’t do it about an abstract idea, they do it about the life of a child. You can’t imagine anything harder.”
-Brad Jupp, Senior Program Adviser on Teacher Initiatives, Office of the Secretary
On Friday, January 27, the US Department of Education will welcome over 200 teachers for a screening of the documentary, American Teacher. Narrated by Matt Damon and directed by Academy Award winner Vanessa Roth, the film chronicles the stories of four teachers living and working in different urban and rural areas of the country. It follows the teachers as they reach different milestones in their careers and provides a rich and compelling portrait of the teaching profession in America today.
Following the screening, participants will engage in a discussion regarding how we can reshape the culture of American education to better attract, retain, and support highly effective teachers. Because all of the tickets for this event were completely given away less than 48 hours from the start of registration, the Washington Teaching Ambassador Fellows have created a “virtual” outreach opportunity for teachers from across the country.
Following the screening of the film, while participants in ED’s Barnard auditorium are engaged in a live discussion, you will have the opportunity to engage with your colleagues, ED policy experts, and Washington Fellows in a Twitter discussion. We will be joined by ED’s own, John White (@RuralED), the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach. Participation in this virtual event is not dependent upon your having viewed the film. ED is looking for your input on education reform and ways to improve public perception of teachers so they are respected and held in high regard. How do we attract, retain and support the best teachers? To be a part of the discussion, log onto Twitter and use the hashtag #TeachTalk, starting at 7:45pm EST.
Greg Mullenholz is a Washington Teaching Ambassador Fellow on loan from his school in Rockville, Md.