The American Teacher: Finding Reliable Reviews and Essays

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Question: How do you find reviews and essays about video documentaries? Describe your search strategy and cite the 5 most thoughtful reviews or background essays on a designated video documentary. Your search results may include scholarly and/or popular press, but do your best not to include those featured on the film’s companion site. (Hint: the goal of this question is to help your classmates identify thoughtful sources that do not necessarily agree with the policy stance taken by the film.) Add a brief explanation for why you recommended each of the five sources you selected.

When looking for reliable material, everyone’s initial response to figure out something they don’t know is to Google the material. So, that’s what I did. Using Google Scholar, I entered all the information needed to link The American Teacher and any reviews that would need to go with it.

When visiting the first visiting the website, it appears as if you’re googling a normally on the primary website. Click on the small arrow next to the search button, and an advanced option to search articles appears.

Originally, it took me a while to find many reviews pertaining specifically to the actual documentary because just typing in “American Teacher” into the search bar brings up any article using both words. Specific words like American Teacher, documentary, 2011, reviews, education, and the teacher salary project narrows down the search to find articles more specific to the movie. Being as specific as possible with the search is crucial to finding a specific review for the American Teacher documentary.

Many of the articles will vary from the topics they talk about; therefore, skim each preview of the article you wish before actually including the article because although the search made the scope a lot smaller, many of the results may very well still be talking about a different topic than reviewing the film.

When I read the previews, I would make sure that the title of the movie was somewhere present along with an overview of the film to make sure the film was being reviewed.


1. Yamada, Teri. “RESTRUCTURING Public Hi Ed.” RESTRUCTURING Public Hi Ed., 2 Oct. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.<>

In this blog post, Yamada takes an overview of American Teacher, and uses it as a positive aspect to support his claim over the growing amount of public relations campaigning.

2. Harris, K. “Amazon Official Comment.” K. Harris “Film Aficionado”‘s Review of American Teacher. Amazon, 9 Feb. 2012. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. <>

The reviewer goes in depth and analyzes both the pitfalls and successes of the film and bases his review on both perspectives. Moreover, the reviewer goes in depth about what improvements can be made to the documentary.

3. Willmore, Alison. “American Teacher.” AV Club Live. The Onion, 9 Sept. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. <,62512/>.

In this review, the author refers back to key scenes in the movie and describes in depth how American teacher is a positive impact and acknowledges the counter arguements within the film and also about the film.

4.Campbell, Christopher. “American Teacher” DISQUS, 14 Feb. 2012. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. <>.

The review is very down to earth and makes the reader associate better with the reviewer and how his review may be misconstrued. Also, the review provides some outside knowledge and takes a definite position on the problem proposed by the documentary.

5. Walker-Bickett, Jeri. “JeriWB: What Do I Know?” JeriWB What Do I Know. WordPress, 16 May 2012. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. <>.

The review really puts into perspective all of the statistics presented by the movie and gives a great overall view of the movie as well as present the hopefulness of creating change for teachers.

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Veronica Armendariz

Currently a student at Trinity College with a strong interest in teaching mathematics, volunteering, and tutoring.

One thought on “The American Teacher: Finding Reliable Reviews and Essays”

  1. With a movie title like “American Teacher,” a more thorough search strategy would have included the name of a director (Vanessa Roth) or other unique information. By combining both terms, this source appeared in Google Scholar:

    Miles, Ben. “Film Review: American Teacher.” National Social Science Journal 39, no. 1 (2012): 94.

    And this source appeared in Education Full Text (one of the specialized databases listed on the Search Strategy page):

    S. M. D. “American Teacher (review).” Harvard Educational Review 82, no. 2 (Summer 2012): 322–324.

    Other specialized databases (such as Lexis Nexis, NYTimes, etc.) yield other fruitful sources.

    Furthermore, most of the sources recommended in the post above are from individual’s websites or comments on another organization’s site, which have less credibility than articles appearing in an established publication (whether print or online).

    Let’s meet to discuss how to enhance your search strategy for next time.

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