Waiting for Superman

I am unsure of the controversy surrounding the film Waiting for Superman.  The heart of the movie’s message, the current public school system is broken, is what many of us think. 

Does that mean that I agree with everything in the film?  No.  It really bothered me that every school that the director included had the children sitting in rows and/or the teacher was lecturing at the front of the room.  The image of the teacher dumping knowledge into a child’s brain bothered me as well. 

Does that mean that I don’t have questions?  I do.  I wonder how much time is spent teaching to the test in these successful schools.  I wonder how they engage their students so that they do succeed.  I wonder what criteria made these schools be labeled successful. KIPP schools use music.  That is one fantastic way to reach and teach students. 

And if you pay close attention you can sift out what makes one school more successful than another.  I believe it was Bill Gates who had said it: culture.  What makes charter schools, private schools, and magnet schools appealing to students and families?  Culture. There is an agreed upon culture by the staff that works there.  They have an agreed upon set of educational values that everyone strives to work towards.  And whether or not you believe in the methods used in that school, I can tell you this.  When you walk into the school you can sense it.

I make it a point to visit at least one school a year.  I do this to see alternative teaching methods and strategies with the intention of incorporating them into my classroom.  If a school has a culture, you can sense it as soon as you walk in the door.  I have been in schools where I immediately knew that children were respected.  I could see it in how adults spoke to them, looked at them, worked with them.  I could see it in the way student work was displayed.  But more than that there is a positive energy in the building that washes over you.

This is what makes schools like KIPP and Ron Clark Academy a success.  Because the staff took the time to establish how they wanted their school to be, the children who attend there do well because they feel valued.  

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4 thoughts on “Waiting for Superman

  1. I really agree that music is a very great way to reach and teach students. You make many good points. I like that you make sure you visit at least one school a year to see other ways and strategies to find a way to mix them into your teaching. Culture is a very good thing in school systems. These schools have this culture because their curriculum is based on the language and culture of a specific ethnic nation or group of nations, although the schools are open to students of all ethnic backgrounds. The students learn better when the teachers are more interactive. I know this, because I am not just another teacher. I am a high school student in a small town in Nebraska. You can tell when students are respected because then you can also tell that the students actually respect the teachers. That positive feeling when you walk into a school is just so warming and you just know that something good is going on there. To get that feeling in all schools, I believe that they just need to get more interactive with the students, because that seems, to me, to be the reason they are so successful.

  2. I am a high school student in Nebraska. We watched the movie Waiting for Superman in class. My review on this movie was like yours. Some of these things I agree with strongly and others not so much, I like how you visit a school each year.I do agree with you on teachers trying dump knowledge into a kids brain teachers should not have to dump knowledge into their students brains the student should want to learn on their own. I do not think students should have to set there and be lectured by the their teachers all day; learning should be fun. I also like how you mentioned KIPP schools and how they use music to teach; I think that is awsome and it’s a great idea and would make learning fun while also teaching the kids something new that they could enjoy. Lastly, I agree with you on if you pay close attention you can tell which schools are more successful and which ones aren't you can also tell if students enjoys their schools, teachers, and environments and want to be there and which ones don't.

  3. I am a high school student in Nebraska. In class we watched the movie Waiting for Superman. My review on this movie varied some things i agree with most, others not so much. I did not like how KIPP schools used music to teach their students it seems like that school doesn't take education serious more like Woodstock. Also teachers dumping knowledge into students is wrong teachers shouldn't have to dump information into their student's brain they should want to learn on their own. I don't think students should have to sit and be lectured all day by teachers. One thing I agree with you on is if you pay close attention you can tell which schools are more successful and which ones aren't. You can tell if students enjoy their schools, teachers, and environments and want to be at school and which ones don't.

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