Waiting for Guggenheim: any value added in “Teach”?
For the third time in his documentary film career, Davis Guggenheim turns his lens towards education, this time in “Teach” – airing on CBS tonight (8-10 p.m. ET/PT).
Guggenheim’s first education-related film focused on teachers in their first year in the classroom. His next ed-flick was “Waiting for Superman” – a film that blurred the propaganda/documentary lines by adopting a rather uncritical stance of the education “reform” storyline that glorifies charter schools, vilifies unions, and puts inordinate pressure on teachers for accountability that policymakers and the general public are often able to shirk. To make that storyline seem even more emotional, Guggenheim manipulated the audience by distorting the connection between a mother and the charter school she was touring.
But Guggenheim promises us – he loves teachers. Honestly, I don’t need his love. I don’t think we need teacher-as-hero narratives – though they’re better than the opposite approach. I just hope this film is more honest about our profession. The approach this time around was for Guggenheim and crew to follow four teachers for an entire year, and if he chose the teachers and schools well, and edited more carefully, maybe we’ll see something more useful and educational this time.
Are you planning to watch? Or did you already? Is this a shot at redemption for Guggenheim? Does the film offer any valuable information or insights? Share your thoughts below.