Most helpful critical review
Depressing look at the first year of teaching
on November 2, 2015
The First Year follows five teachers in their first year of teaching. There are two elementary school teachers, one middle school teacher, and two high school teachers--all teaching in poor school districts throughout the United States. Rather than showing the ups and downs of teaching, this documentary chooses to highlight the greatest struggles the teachers face. It keys in on a few select students and their relationships with the teachers. One of those students--Tyquan--was a kindergartener in need of speech therapy. Another--Marvin--was disruptive in his . Mike is a high school student who makes a derogatory comment about homosexuals and we see his teacher work with the class to overcome negative stereotypes. Juanito disrupts another elementary school class and gets special attention from his teacher. These case studies show the dedication of their teachers, as well as those teachers' frustrations in working in schools that are underfunded, full of red tape, and lacking administrative and parental support. It also shows how some teachers make real efforts to work with their students' families, even if the parents seem disinterested in their childrens' education.
While the film was designed to help recruit a new generation of teachers I'm afraid that by skewing the film to only show that bad parts of teaching, gives an unrealistic look at a profession as rewarding as teaching is. This film could more effectively be used to scare away those who lack the dedication and determination to become outstanding classroom teachers.