The First Year
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Winner of numerous awards including the prestigious Peabody, this powerful and moving film is a "must-see" for anyone who is, or has ever thought of becoming a parent or teacher. The film chronicles the first year of five young teachers as they fight the
A deceptively simple documentary, The First Year follows five teachers in California through the first year of their teaching careers. The teachers are a diverse lot, teaching different ages and classes at five different schools, but what remains consistent are the difficulties they face and the determination they bring to it. Though The First Year is partly a recruiting effort that hopes to persuade more people to pursue teaching, the movie doesn't avoid the problems teachers face, from bureaucratic stumbling blocks (one teacher can't get her own classroom; an ESL program faces being defunded) to the kids themselves, who can be as angry and frustrated as the teachers, often for reasons the teachers are helpless to change. At times, the passion and empathy these five teachers demonstrate is profoundly moving--not because they're performing great feats, but because of the simple, small acts of faith that so rarely get made. --Bret Fetzer
- Bonus film: Teach
- Teacher commentary tracks
- Teacher profiles
- Epilogue with teacher commentary
- "How to Get Involved" booklet
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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.
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.
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.