Teach documentary invites us to walk in the shoes of educators
I have had the privilege of meeting countless innovative, dedicated and caring public school teachers during my career here at The World. I marvel at the sense of commitment they show to bringing out the best in their students despite the growing number of challenges they confront. I believe teachers are our greatest asset and vital to our community’s future and we ought to do everything we can as community members to help our teachers succeed in preparing our next generation.
That’s why I’m excited about a documentary called Teach that will be shown at the Numerica Performing Arts Center at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25. The film, sponsored by the Washington Elementary School Parent Teacher Student Association, follows four teachers during a full school year as they deal with the complexities of teaching children from widely varying backgrounds and abilities.
Rick Wray, a PTSA member and someone who has spent more than a decade teaching first students and then teachers how to tell stories through video both here and in the western United States, stopped by to chat about the film. Wray is also the founder of the Vox Docs Film Festival at Snowy Owl Theater. “Teach shows what a dynamic profession this is — that no two days are alike,” said Wray. Furthermore, it follows them as they use collaboration, creativity and ongoing innovation to help reach kids, he added.
This film invites us all to put ourselves in the shoes of educators as they confront challenges and see life from their perspective. This is an approach that all of us need to develop as we deal with the challenges in our communities. To the extent we can listen deeply before passing judgment, we will become more thoughtful and constructive citizens in our community. Following the show, four local educators will take the stage and provide some local context to the themes in the film. It will be an outstanding opportunity to get perspective from those who are involved on a day-to-day basis. Those educators include: Shayne Rennie, a reading specialist at Washington Elementary; Arlando Lara, 6th Grade teacher at Foothills Middle School; Principal Taunya Brown of Orchard Middle School, Joyce Block, a science teacher at Wenatchee High School, and Janelle Blakney, who teaches math at Orchard Middle School.
Wray hopes the film will spark dialogue and action and puts teachers on a pedestal in our communities. A high percentage of teachers leave the profession within five years, which is a stunning development. Finding ways to support their work in the classroom can be what makes the difference.
Prior to the documentary, there will be a showing of a North 40 Productions video about a third-grade classroom doing hands-on learning by raising salmon as a way of illustrating how community involvement can make a difference.
Admission is free but a suggested donation of $10 at the door will go to teacher development at Washington Elementary. Click on the link to get tickets:
Here’s a link to an interview with Davis Guggenheim on making the documentary Teach and other education films: