Saturday, February 18, 2006

Summary of "First Year"

The following is a summary of the movie First Year that we had to watch in class. I think it is a good movie for anyone who wants to be a teacher when they leave college.

Watching the movie First Year allowed me to see how children in different socioeconomic classes behave at school and just how difficult and passionate teachers are about their jobs. Since the teachers in the movie taught at public schools in California, an extremely diverse place, it showed how and why children grow as they do.
The movie focused on about six different teachers all of which teach in different grades or schools. It was apparent that teaching was something these teachers loved to do and they were very determined. They each had one student that they had trouble with more than the others and the movie focused on how the teacher reached out and made that student strive.
One kindergarten child, for example, had a speech problem. The teacher thought this would be something easy to address but the school as well as his mother did not seem to be concerned, showing that his problem was not going to get any better due to his environment. If he would have been of a higher socioeconomic status, his problem would probably have been addressed much sooner. A child in a few grades above this boy had an extreme behavior problem that the teacher wanted to get to the root of. In doing so, however, he found that the child lived with ten other children, his dad had no job, and his mother had been killed, and his two brothers were in gangs. The teacher did what he could to try and befriend the boy and become someone he could trust, but due to measures beyond the boys concern, his life was going to stay the way it was.
A high school teacher had problems with a boy who said offensive things about gay people. She solved this problem by not only making him write a paper about why what he said was wrong, but by making the entire class watch a documentary about gay high schoolers going to prom. She asked the class why the movie would make them uncomfortable and a few students gave the answer of how it is uncomfortable simply because it is still uncommon. She showed the students how everyone is different, and although that boy may have been raised in a home that discouraged same sex relationships, that the entire world was not with him in his views.
The last teacher that stood out to me was the bilingual teacher. She had just been told that the school might cut out the classes designed to teach English extensively to those who did not know it as a first language. She explained to her students what was going on and they showed much distress about it. She showed the children that they had a say in it and encouraged them to write letters to the school board telling them how much the class was helping them and how they would not prosper without it.
In looking at a classroom in the perspective of the teacher, it is easy to see how different the children in the class really are. Socioeconomic status plays a key role in how children behave and group themselves together. The fact that some students behave the way they do cannot be changed with a note home or a warning because the base of their problems lies at home. Until something can be done to even the playing field economically, there will always be those few students who give first year teachers a hard time but in end a good lesson.


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