‘Teach’ tackles what it takes to become an effective teacher

We’ve all had a teacher who’s shaped us, inspired us, even scared us, and whom we can credit with having empowered us to become who we are today.

In the next 10 years, America will need more than two million new teachers. And though the old adage says “If you can’t achieve, you can always teach,” this is truly a sad commentary on our society. We should be encouraging our best and brightest to engage our young leaders of the future.

Whether you are a lifelong learner, a parent, a role model or a teacher yourself, we strongly recommend watching “Teach” by American film director/producer Davis Guggenheim. In his third documentary to look at education in America, Academy-Award winner Guggenheim asks the question: what does it take to be a teacher? Offering a rare glimpse inside four public-school classrooms, Guggenheim invites us to follow the struggles and triumphs of America’s education system through the eyes, minds and hearts of its most essential resource: teachers. The two-hour program debuted Sept. 6 during prime-time television but may be accessed on YouTube and will be aired on Pivot several times throughout October.

Intense and emotional, this year-in-the-life of four public school teachers illustrates how tenacity, innovation and a passion drives these educators as they navigate the ups and downs of the 2013 school year. Throughout “Teach,” viewers are taken into the public-district school classrooms of the following: Matt Johnson, a fourth-grade teacher at McGlone Elementary in Denver; Shelby Harris, a seventh-grade math teacher at Kuna (Idaho) Middle School; Joel Laguna, a 10th-grade Advanced Placement World History teacher at Garfield High in Los Angeles; and Lindsay Chinn, a ninth-grade algebra teacher at MLK Early College in Denver.

These educators mentor their students to overcome obstacles and strive for success. While they all aspire to be the best at their jobs, Guggenheim’s subjects are diverse in every way, implementing unconventional and collaborative methods, teaching different subjects and age groups in a range of communities. Yet, they all have one common denominator – the grit and resolve to hang in and make a difference to their students. Teaching is truly not a job, it’s a mission. And we can all affect change by supporting our current teachers – socially, economically and politically – and motivating our future problem solvers to consider teaching an ultimate goal, not an afterthought.

For more information on this and other social issues our society must address, visit www.takepart.com.


Janelle Von Pinnon

Janelle Von Pinnon

Publisher/CEO at Newsleaders
Von Pinnon has been publishing the St. Joseph Newsleader since 1989, the Sartell-St. Stephen Newsleader since 1995 and the Sauk Rapids-Rice Newsleader since 2015. She graduated from Minnesota State University-Moorhead with degrees in mass communications (with an emphasis on print journalism) and biology. She lives in southeast St. Cloud with her husband and two children.
Janelle Von Pinnon

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