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Film ‘American Teacher’ gives inside look into classroom

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

American Teacher, the high-profile documentary that profiles four teachers and their everyday travails, will air at WHYY’s Hamilton Media Commons on Wednesday, November 9.

Hosted by Need in Deed, a local nonprofit dedicated to developing service-learning curricula, the screening will culminate with a panel discussion.

Ena Rosen, associate director of Need in Deed, hopes the film will give viewers a personal connection to the challenges teachers face.

“For people who are not in classrooms on a regular basis, it really does give you a window into what that’s like,” Rosen said.

The panel discussion will feature active school teachers and those with a more “top-down” view, Rosen said.

The panelists are:

  • Kira Baker-Doyle, assistant professor of Education at Penn State Berks campus;
  • Michael Farrell, apprentice school leader at Mastery Charter School;
  • Nancy McGinley, superintendent of the Charleston County School District and former CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund; and
  • Kathleen Wainwright, a fourth-grade teacher at Joseph Pennell School.

American Teacher doesn’t lack for Hollywood muscle. Acclaimed writer Dave Eggers and Oscar-winning director Vanessa Roth produced the film, recruiting superstar actor and education advocate Matt Damon to narrate.

Tickets are $15 and seating is limited. You can order online.

If you miss this showing, you can still catch the film. Additional screenings will be held on November 17 at Academy at Palumbo (free of charge) at 6 p.m. and December 1 at High School of the Future (tickets, $10) at 5 p.m.

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