Feature film: About A Teacher, written and directed by Hanan Harchol.
About a Teacher is an intimate narrative feature that takes us through the personal journey of a new inner city public high school teacher who enters the profession in his late thirties, oblivious and unprepared for the actual demands of teaching in that environment, and unaware of his own shortcomings and biases.
Within his first month of teaching, he recognizes that knowing his subject matter is one of the smaller components of the job. Overwhelmed, he plans to quit at the end of the first school year. But as he begins to know his students and invests in their stories and futures, he discovers that he must set aside preconceived notions of what they “need”, and instead respond to the unique individuals in front of him. Over the next seven years, he morphs into an adroit multitasker, a logistics and time-management expert, and adept navigator of the bureaucratic maze of the public education system. He juggles the roles of actor, entertainer, and performer, coach and cheerleader, advocate, judge, and jury, mediator, therapist, surrogate parent, specialist in differentiated instruction, inspirer and motivator. In the process, he learns that the only way to become a truly great teacher is to recognize that his greatest teachers, both in and out of the classroom, are actually his students.
This film, shot in the style of a docudrama, sheds light on why nearly half of teachers leave the profession within the first five years, with inner city public schools having nearly twice the attrition of more affluent schools. Inspired by the filmmaker’s real-life experiences and featuring many of his former students in the cast and crew, this film highlights that disadvantaged students don’t need a savior or a pedagogue intent on imposing their own agenda, but rather someone who will take the time to see, hear, and support them as they release their own light into the world.
- Expected theatrical release: December, 2018