One of the most influential scene from the documentary is when Jason Kamras talks about how teachers were strictly evaluated and bad teachers should be fired to guarantee the quality of the education offered to children, while “there’s nothing more difficult than the life of a teacher.” (Guggenheim 41:23). The filmmaker switches the angle from the political scene, which people normally see on the television, to a teacher-to-student scene. Putting the evaluation forms and data aside, the film illustrates a real daily school life to the audience: how teacher actually interacts with students at school, which is barely seen by people. The film shows not only teachers’ struggles but also devotion at school (Guggenheim 41:30).
This scene is crucial that it shows the back scene of teachers’ life and also perfectly contrasts to corruption in Teachers’ Union. Teachers are facing all various uncontrollable factors and putting their efforts to make a difference every day. However, what is seen by the media is only the contract with the Teachers’ Union and all different types of teachers’ evaluation results. This contradiction indeed hinders American Education from moving forward, but behind the roughness the filmmaker still positively states the little hope that still exists at school.
The entire documentary mostly gives a heavy feeling and hopeless impression on the American education system. Even at the end when the little boy is finally offered for a spot at school, the scene is depicted with vagueness and low energy. The film focuses on the interviews and stories of the unaccepted children but never gives a word to these children who are accepted to school. There’s short footage showing their excitement right after lottery picking. But what are their thoughts and what are their expectations? Do they understand what is lying in their future? Does getting into school mean absolute success as what schools claim for? That’s something worthy to explore as well.
Guggenheim, Davis. Waiting for “Superman.” 2010. Film.