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  • amandadenis
  • Jan Vajda
  • William Grey-Mclaren
  • Noah Benzing
  • Daniel Bigler

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  • Lyel Resner

    Thanks for this article, Jose.

    The many thousands of hard-working teachers on the front-line are certainly quiet heroes. Rather than 'celebrity' though, I wish there were more of a de facto cachet and distinction associated with the profession. A deep, ingrained cultural prestige of teaching is the one commonality you can point to across the top education systems internationally.

  • Bill Ayers

    The celebrities you note---from Escalante onward---are all based on a backward idea of what teaching is and what classrooms are like. Those movies may be tear-jerkers, but they play on every available stereotype of communities of color and portray the good teacher as a lone ranger battling the bad juvenile delinquents, the ignorant parents, and their hapless, incompetent colleagues to lift up the few good kids. For a perfect satire go to "Nice White Lady." In a culture that heroizes celebrity over accomplishment, I'll opt for the everyday substance and efforts of my son Malik---day in and day out, 7:30- 5---over the fiction of the child-savers. A hero ain't nothin' but a sandwich.

    • Max Schorr

      Great comment. But I think this post is a

      • Max Schorr

        Excuse me. Meant to say:

        Great comment, Bill, and also great post, Jose. Given that what both of what you say is true, I could see an opportunity for a platform like my.celebrityteacher.com where people can pay homage to their favorite teachers who did wonderful teaching, without achieving celebrity. I think of my third grade teacher, Diane Connolly and Temba Maqubela, who made huge impacts on me. I'd love to share how they still inspire me, and would love to read other people I respect - luminaries, friends, family - talk about the impact of their favorite teachers. Possibly, the platform then has a way to thank the teacher, and or descendants if the teacher has died. Anyhow, great conversation. I believe, with or without celebrity, great teachers are the best thing in the world.

    • Jose Vilson

      Bill, thank you for the thoughtful reply. For the purposes of this essay, I didn't really go into the legacies of the people behind the characters in those movies, but needless to say, I know all too well the harm such movies can do to the professionalization of our profession. I also wonder about the dangerous of celebrity for a teacher, and whether someone can sustain their "good" if they have all these social demands and the like.

      The point of this essay really is to highlight, more than anything, the dearth of voices from the classroom speaking about what happens in the classroom. With the abundance of pundits, journalists, and movie stars speaking up about ed reform, I wonder if / when teachers' voices should hold more weight than they currently do. Also worth saying: a teacher has a harder time being the best teacher they can be without the system supporting them in their greatness, no matter how awesome a teacher.

      Thanks for your comment, Bill, and keep up the advocacy please.

  • elbertchu

    Sorry, must have messed up my html...my vote is for "luminary."