Movies: 13 Things You (Prolly) Don't Know About "TEACH"
#edgifs Earlier this week in class, President Obama raised his hand to ask a question about TEACH, the new Davis Guggenheim documentary about four dynamic teachers. Just out of my White House briefing session, I've now been cleared to share with you some of the key information I was able to glean (plus a ton of gifs).
1 -- As you may recall from my epic self-loathing post about him three years ago (Distaste For Davis), Guggenheim's first name is actually Phillip, not Davis:
2 -- The new documentary TEACH is premiering on CBS rather than cable or as a feature film so that it reaches the broadest audience. "I wanted it to have a broad appeal, to be seen by regular families moms and dads who have kids in traditional schools," said Guggeinhem in a telephone interview. "To see what great teaching is."
This is NOT great teaching:
3 -- Later this month, it will then re-air on Pivot, Participant Media's newish cable TV channel aimed at the youths (aka Millennials). Participant also runs the TakePart website, and seeks to "seeks to entertain, encourage and empower every individual to take action."
Yes, they have their own TV channel now.
4 -- Bill and Melinda Gates were asked to fund the film and did so out of their personal accounts rather than through the foundation.
More important: Why are there no good Gates gifs out there?
5 -- Guggeinheim still remembers some of the "animated" Q and A sessions that took place after his 2010 film, Waiting For Superman, and wanted his next education project to be about what makes schools great. Guggenheim isn't atoning for Superman, he says in EdWeek, but rather answering the "what next?" question that it asked:
6 -- Speaking of Superman, Guggenheim says he wanted to include district schools that have admissions lotteries (like LA's LACES magnet school) in WFS but was denied permission and so ended up with an all-charter documentary:
7 -- All four of the teachers profiled in Teach are at regular district schools, not charters. They were obviously picked in part for racial and gender balance, but also for their ability to reflect and tell their stories and also according to Guggenehim whether they were at a turning point towards becoming great teachers (ie, not newbies, and not veterans). I forgot to ask if they were TFA core members or alumni. I'm guessing two of the four are TFA types, just by the way they look:
8 -- Speaking of TFA, what was AFT President Randi Weingarten doing at this WFS event with Guggenheim and Michelle Rhee (and what was so funny)?
9 -- Guggenheim is being much more careful about addressing non-school factors this time around. “Certainly, a teacher can’t do everything,” he told LA School Report. “And many teachers are fighting forces that are outside the classroom — social issues, poverty issues. But the best teachers I see are the ones who do whatever it takes and have a sense of mission.”
Clearly, he's handed in his reform card, right?
10 -- Guggenheim and his team started out shooting footage of roughly 50 teachers before winnowing itdown to the four. Email or Tweet at me if you were one of the early candidates and tell us what it was like to be blocked at the last second from your one big dream of being on TV, like Maroon Five's Adam Levine does to this poor couple:
11 -- The film does make subtle references to some hot-topic education issues and programs. EdWeek notes that one teacher's school is going through turnaround, another is using the Kahn Academy, and another is doing "360-degree math." This gif was tagged #khan but I'm not sure why -- Star Trek?
12 -- There are celebrities! Well, sort of. Jon Cryer, Rashida Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Allison Janney all make appearances, along with host Queen Latifa (remember when she did this?):
13 -- Last but not least, there's more TEACH to come. Participant says that there's going to be an 18-month social action campaign "to inform and engage students and recent graduates as they consider career choices. The initiative aims to rebrand and reinvigorate interest in the teaching profession."