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3.5 out of 5 stars
The First Year
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2004
Format: 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
on October 17, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
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
Format: 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
on November 28, 2011
Format: 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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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2009
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I used this for my introduction to teaching class. Excellent view into the first year of a teacher.
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on March 31, 2015
Format: DVD
“The First Year” is an award winning film directed by Davis Guggenheim following five teachers during their first year of teaching. The 2001 film documents the first year teacher’s struggles and disappointments and all the hard work that has to be put into that classroom. It isn’t easy and in this movie, that is a major point. It depicts the frustrations of every first year teacher in situations that other future teachers need to be aware of. I would recommend this movie because I thought this film was good, it was interesting. I also like seeing what I may have to deal with as a future teacher.
Maurice and his Kindergarten classroom was the most interesting to me as I would like to teach Kindergarten. I think it’s a very realistic view of the struggles of teaching and I’m glad that there are movies out there that illustrate that. The worst part of this film was the fact that it jumped around a lot and it got a little confusing at times to remember who the teacher was. It was also a shorter film at only an hour and 20 minutes but it was pretty boring so it seemed much longer. This film showed a number of teachers though that cared for their students and wanted to help them out, so they tried hard to make sure they learned. What I got out of this film is that one of the best teaching strategies is a value that all teachers should have, all teachers should care about each individual student. It was cool that these teachers cared and tried to help so much, though you can’t help them all. So I would recommend this film to all future teachers whether they’re going into Elementary Education or High School.
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on April 1, 2015
Format: DVD
The First Year (2001) directed by Davis Guggenheim is a very realistic documentary. It can be hard to watch for some people because of the content. This movie went into depth about the difficulties teachers can have during their first year of teaching. From having a problem student to having a war between whose going to give up first (teacher or student), this documentary gives vivid examples on the struggles teachers have. The documentary goes into the lives of five different teachers who begin their career teaching kids of different demographics.
One of the teachers, Maurice Rabb (a kindergarten teacher) is very devoted to his students. One student in particular struggles deeply and Rabb does everything in his power and more to make sure this student gets the help needed. He is also very adamant with his parent teacher meetings. He wants to make sure he can have the chance to speak with all the parents and is even willing to do home visits if need be.
While there are good things these teachers do for their students, there are also some not so good teaching strategies done. For example, Nate Monley, a fifth grade teacher, gave into bribing in a way. He stated that if the students were quite, they would get 50 points which was an unrealistic statement. Granted all he wanted was his students to behave, he went about it in an incorrect manner.
Overall, this movie was very realistic and showed true struggles to being teachers. It was sad at times and hard to believe at times but do not let that stray you away from teaching. I give this movie a three out of five stars.
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on March 29, 2015
Format: DVD
The First Year is about a group of teachers who are teaching for the first time. These specific teachers are teaching in inner city schools that don't have a lot of money and the kids usually have difficult home lives and aren't always well behaved or have learning disabilities that aren't addressed. I have mixed feelings about this documentary because it only relates to a small population of teachers and what they have to deal with. The teacher that I liked to most was Maurice Rabb. Although all of the teachers were persistent and cared about their students, I thought he really went out of his way to get help for a student who needed speech therapy. Another teacher who I liked was Nate Monley. I thought he took a lot of time to connect with his student in and outside of his classroom. One of his students that struggled he would go fishing with or take out to dinner. I would recommend this documentary to anyone who wants to be a teacher, but to understand that it isn't realistic for all teaching situations. One thing that you could take from the movie is that if you're teaching in a school like this one, it's important to sometimes teach your kids more than just math or reading, like about violence or gangs, because these are the things that they will be faced with and might benefit from the most. Once they learn how to deal with things in life like these, it will be easier for them to focus on school subjects.
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on March 30, 2015
Format: DVD
This documentary showed some troubles that a few teachers encountered in their first years teaching. Some of these problems included students disrupting class, parents not coming in for meetings, and inadequate school resources. The documentary showed how each scenario was handled by the teachers and sometimes the teachers talked about what was happening.

When one teacher faced the problem of a student’s parents not coming to conferences, the principal told him to call and say he was coming over to their home. I thought this seemed a bit extreme. It seems unprofessional for a teacher to just come over to a student’s home uninvited. Other teachers had students who were disruptive or disrespectful; they responded by making their students write reflections on their behavior. Some students had to take these reflections home and read them to their parents and have them sign them. Other teachers had to work through inadequate sources. One example was a speech teacher who didn’t come in often enough and so a child did not receive the help that was deserved. Another example was teachers not having their own classrooms.

I think it’s a decent movie that shows the realities of teaching and the variety of problems that teachers encounter every day. The movie also showed that the teachers found that it is worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
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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