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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required viewing for all
The First Year is a wonderful documentary that shows the daily struggles of public school teachers in the face of apathetic administrations, parents, and students. As a teacher in the state of California this film strengthened my own resolve to be the best educator I can. At the same time the film also illustrates the break down of the public school system. The notes with...
Published on July 4, 2004

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11 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed
after reading the reviews from pbs i was excited to see the film. im so happy i rented it as opposed to getting it from here, which i would have done had i not found it somewhere else. while all the teachers had great intentions, it was obvious they were not equipped with the skills needed to engage the children in a community/learning environment. from observing body...
Published on November 18, 2006 by Brandy Thompson


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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required viewing for all, July 4, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The First Year (DVD)
The First Year is a wonderful documentary that shows the daily struggles of public school teachers in the face of apathetic administrations, parents, and students. As a teacher in the state of California this film strengthened my own resolve to be the best educator I can. At the same time the film also illustrates the break down of the public school system. The notes with this disc states that The First Year was "created to recruit and retain the next generation of teachers."In some ways I think this film will scare teachers off because of the way some of the teachers are treated by the school's administration.In any case I think this should be required viewing by any school board members, teachers, and civil servants in national and state goverments.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very inspiring, October 16, 2006
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This review is from: The First Year (DVD)
I don't own this product (yet), but it was shown in one of my teacher certification classes. I was really inspired by how much the teachers were willing to sacrifice to make sure their students had at least the opportunity to succeed. However, I was saddened that they HAD to give so much because often the district/administration wasn't doing its part. The documentary showed teaching in a very realistic light rather than the "oh, well they get weekends and summers off" light that many people think of it as. This video was shown in a class of 23 potential teachers and I really think it strengthened our resolve to become teachers.

Update===

I now own this DVD and have been teaching for almost five years and can say that this film does a great job of depicting the frustrations of rookie teachers and the obstacles teachers have to overcome just to do their jobs. If you're considering becoming a teacher, I would definitely recommend buying this movie to get a realistic idea of what you're getting into.

[...]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an important documentary, March 8, 2012
By 
Matthew G. Sherwin (last seen screaming at Amazon customer service) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The First Year (DVD)
"The First Year" was not an easy film to watch. It highlights the real challenges first year teachers face when they want so badly to educate youth, especially in a low income area where resources are scarce, to say the least. We see automobile repair shops turned into makeshift classrooms; teachers who don't even get to have their own classrooms; apathetic parents who don't show up for meetings with their children's teachers even when they know their children are not performing well in school; and how both politics and a speech therapist who almost never showed up for her appointments with one child can nearly ruin one teacher's quest to find speech therapy for one of the kids in his classroom.

The film moves along at just about the right pace; I was never bored. These poignant, human stories grabbed my attention and never let it go until the end of the film. I agree with other reviewers who write that this film would be an excellent resource for people learning how to be teachers and not just an exposé of how we need to provide better education to all of our youth.

The DVD comes with a few extra features. I like the epilogue with tis information about what happened to the teachers and some of the children alike; and there is a very well done short entitled "Teach." There are optional teacher running commentaries as well.

I highly recommend "The First Year" for people learning how to be teachers so they will know what they may well be up against should they decide to teach in a low income area with a paucity of resources; and those of us interested in the subject of quality education in general would do well to add this to their collections.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful documentary about a job I could never do., November 27, 2011
By 
R. Sullivan "SF Bob" (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The First Year (DVD)
Just rented this from Netflix and it moved me to tears. I see negative reviews on here and to me they've missed the point. Sure these first year teachers might not be equipped right from the start but you can tell those kids were impacted in a very good, significant way from having these instructors in their lives. I know I could never teach. It is an important job that our society doesn't value anywhere near as much as it should. I did a little facebook poking around and it looks like all but one of these teachers is still at it a dozen years later. I applaud them and their skills. And obviously this filmmaker has gone on to grander things as well!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Year, February 5, 2012
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This review is from: The First Year (DVD)
This was an EXCELLENT video because it showed the real world events of a teacher's first year. A new teacher could learn a lot from the video and it would be interesting to watch.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First Year DVD, November 23, 2009
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This review is from: The First Year (DVD)
I used this for my introduction to teaching class. Excellent view into the first year of a teacher.
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11 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed, November 18, 2006
This review is from: The First Year (DVD)
after reading the reviews from pbs i was excited to see the film. im so happy i rented it as opposed to getting it from here, which i would have done had i not found it somewhere else. while all the teachers had great intentions, it was obvious they were not equipped with the skills needed to engage the children in a community/learning environment. from observing body language and facial expressions in some of the classes, the children were not engaged (notice how they lit up when they were finally engaged through the photo project!). the answers to questions about behavior were the answers that the teachers wanted to hear and the teachers knew it. if they watched the video, i hope they would take not at how they talked to the students (a couple teachers in particular). getting angry, answering your own question, making students write why they wont misbehave anymore, etc. are old school ways of gaining compliance and they wont reach todays children.

this video would not make me want to be a teacher, if anything, it shows just how much preservice teachers need to be exposed to various cultures, they need to learn how to build a community in the classroom, and they need mentors who are aware of the needs of diverse learners. in order to attract students to a profession, make a video that highlights teachers who are able to make a difference despite the odds, schools that have made drastic turnarounds, and students who excel when they should be another negative statistic.

there are some positive things in the video, they are just overshadowed by the other stuff. and, yes, i agree with a previous writer. another video could have been used in the classroom to expose students to the lives of homosexuals.
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13 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Confusing purpose - Bad focus, July 2, 2010
This review is from: The First Year (DVD)
This documentary is a real testimony to the problems in inner city schools. Though not its premise, it exposed a real problem. Teachers, specifically young ones, are not equipped to do their jobs. They have no idea of how to deal with the mental processes of their students.

Although well meaning, they were antagonistic, inflammatory, and often worsened the problems. The documentary highlighted that the teachers expected little, and they got exactly that. They had either no ability or no desire to engage their students. They did not use innovative methods, nor did they seem concerned with finding better methods to target their student's capacity to learn.

In one scenario a teacher attempted to relax his students prior to administering a test. What he actually did was cause distress. He seemed to have no idea that he was the source of the problem, when the students showed anxiety.

One of the saddest facts exposed in this documentary is that teachers are harsh, intolerant and lacks the ability to provide positive reinforcements/feedback. They approached their students as criminals, future gang members, and it was clear that those were the expectations. The overall approach to problems was confrontation, which created an Us versus Them environment. It was as if they prepared the children for failure, poverty, and prison.

The unintended message of this documentary is that teachers need more training. These skills must include their ability to engage, to handle conflict, and to reinforce positive behaviors.

I did not, at the end of this film find these teachers heroes. I don't understand how doing your job, and badly, makes you a hero. Is it simply showing up or not quitting?
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A little dated!, October 23, 2011
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This review is from: The First Year (DVD)
Material is dated! Teachers do experience the same
frustrations. I guess when I purcahsed the product
I didn't realize that it was already ten years + old.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The first Year, August 14, 2009
This review is from: The First Year (DVD)
Not what I expected. The video runs very slow, which makes it difficult to watch for an extended period of time.
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The First Year
The First Year by Davis Guggenheim (DVD - 2004)
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