Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Readiness is All
                                                             -Shakespeare's, Hamlet

Wow!  This was an awesome documentary.  It was so bittersweet for me.  It was so totally inspiring in relation to "the power of one"  but sad that teachers like Rafe Esquith are so rare. In a nutshell, he teaches in one of the largest elementary schools in inner city LA and all of his students are children of non English-speaking parents.  He takes these "disadvantaged" kids and teaches them that "there are no shortcuts" in life.  He motivates them through great literature and many experiences that teach them what it means to be an American.

I have never heard of or seen a teacher so committed as Rafe.  The most amazing thing he does is teach these children the classics, including Shakespeare.  Keep in mind that these are fifth graders!  There are clips of the children crying as they read "Huckleberry Finn" out loud as a class.  He moves them and motivates them on so many levels.  The climax of the year, is the children performing a Shakespearean play.  Not only do they comprehend the stuff, but they memorize it, learn instruments, and act it out.  You can't believe how much he expects from these kids and how they excel throughout the year. 

As a person who is tormented by the notion of homeschooling--this documentary made me a little depressed.  There are so many possibilities out there for our kids, but most schools just don't offer a great education these days--let alone inspire the kids.

I would recommend seeing this if you want to feel motivated to do better with your own children. Nick and I have definitely decided to make some changes in our house. While I will probably never homeschool, I CAN teach my kids the classics, Shakespeare and give them meaningful historical experiences.  This is our new goal.

I just ordered three used copies of "Huckleberry Finn" from Amazon.  I taught this one as a teacher back in the day, and think it might be a good place to start. Plus, Nicholas has read the abridged version and it is one of his favorite books. 

Definitely see this film, it is so amazing to see what one person with commitment, drive and heart can achieve.

What do you think?
Have you been inspired by a teacher?


up in bubbles said...

Wow, I want to see this. I also want to hear what you and Nick plan on doing. I always like good ideas. I am starting to read about some great Americans to my boys. We started with George Washington and the apple tree. (honesty) Hopefully these will rub off.

up in bubbles said...

I also had one really great English teacher in High School, Mrs Bester. She was super and made everyone feel good and that they could achieve. It is sad to say that she is the only great teacher I experienced in my education growing up. It does not however mean I am great at English.

JENNIFRO said...

I'd love to hear what you're using for the great Americans--that's great--kids love that stuff, I think.

What an awesome name for a super teacher
Mrs. "Best"er! That's sad she's the only one. A good teacher can make ALL the difference I believe.

You'll like the movie. Get it.

Rebecca said...

I hadn't heard of this documentary, but we'll definitely see it now. We have the children's Book of Virtues by Bennett and I like that a lot. I love the idea of formal character education curriculum in the home.