American Teacher

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"Dedicated. Brilliant. Inspiring. Underpaid. Misunderstood. Scapegoated. There's a lesson here."
  • TV-G
  • 2011
  • 1 hr 21 min
  • 6.7  (251)
  • 60

American Teacher is a documentary film released in 2011 that delves into the lives of public school teachers in the United States. The film, directed by Vanessa Roth, features interviews with several teachers who share their experiences, challenges and aspirations, highlighting the difficult conditions and low salaries that affect the profession. The film also features insights from education experts, government officials, and celebrities like Matt Damon, who is an advocate for education reform.

The film primarily focuses on four educators from different parts of the country - Jonathan Dearman, Erik Benner, Rhena Jasey, and Jamie Fidler - who are passionate about their jobs but are struggling to make ends meet. Erik Benner, a third-grade teacher in Texas, works extra jobs to support his family and pay off his student loans, which he took out to become a teacher. Rhena Jasey, a high school English teacher in New Jersey, is a single mother who has to deal with financial pressures on top of the challenges of being a teacher.

Jonathan Dearman is a math teacher in North Carolina, who earned the Teacher of the Year award in his school district but felt disillusioned by the lack of support and respect for teachers. Jamie Fidler, a preschool teacher in New York, has a deep love for her students and believes in the fundamental importance of early education, but she too struggles to pay her bills and make a decent living.

The film depicts the various challenges faced by teachers in the US, including inadequate pay, lack of resources, high-stakes testing, and the pressure to produce results. It shows how teachers have to work long hours, spend their own money on classroom supplies, and often neglect their own families to meet the demands of the job. The film also touches on the importance of teacher tenure and the debate about its effectiveness in improving the quality of education.

In addition to the personal stories of the teachers, the film features interviews with education experts such as Diane Ravitch, Linda Darling-Hammond, and several union representatives who share their thoughts on the state of public education in America. The film examines the complex issues that plague the education system in the US, including funding disparities, teacher accountability, union politics, and the impact of standardized testing.

Throughout the film, the message is clear: the teaching profession deserves more respect, higher pay, and better working conditions. The film calls on the public to support teachers and prioritize education as a national priority. It emphasizes that investing in quality education is crucial for the future success of the nation and that teachers need more support to perform their jobs effectively.

Overall, American Teacher is an emotionally powerful documentary that sheds light on the challenges faced by public school teachers in the US. It provides a platform for teachers to share their stories and struggles, highlighting the need to address the systemic issues that affect the profession. By raising awareness about the importance of education and advocating for teachers, the film seeks to inspire change and improve the state of public education in America.

American Teacher is a 2011 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 21 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7 and a MetaScore of 60.

American Teacher
Where to Watch American Teacher
American Teacher is available to watch free on Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent American Teacher for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 21 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (251)
  • Metascore