Hide Your Eyes, Kiddies…

Hello Atlanta

17 Comments so far

  1. gwinnett county graduate (unregistered) on December 27th, 2005 @ 1:41 pm

    Look, if the rule says no rated R movies, the teacher should know: don’t show a rated R movie to the students. A 37 year veteran of the school system should know the rules. If I had a child I wouldn’t want him or her to be watching movies at school anyway.

    High Schools should be requiring books, lectures, and discussion to teach history: not watching inaccurate films.

    If you like films, take film class in college.
    If school is boring then drop out. The teacher can always suggest the kids go see the movie outside of class to get another opinion.

    And while we’re on the subject, has America’s kids gotten so dumb that they have to watch a movie to learn about something.

  2. gwinnett county graduate (unregistered) on December 27th, 2005 @ 1:51 pm

    My apologies for the grammar typos but it was a quick post.

  3. Aradia (unregistered) on December 27th, 2005 @ 1:53 pm

    Well, each to his/her own, but as someone who spent part of my time preparing to be a high school teacher, I feel strongly that the rights of the people who lead the classroom have been steadily diminished – part of the reason it’s so hard to get good teachers these days. I think your words are a little harsh – are you saying that film can’t educate? And were you there? Do you know for certain that everything in the film is inaccurate? I don’t know for sure b/c there are thousands of versions of Elizabeth’s story, but it’s pretty much a given that there will be some poetic license in any art form. So I suppose that we should never try to educate through art? I suppose you feel that any piece of art that reflects a historical event can’t be trusted? Perhaps the teacher was trying to make a point about how history can be skewed by perspective. I think we need to keep our minds a bit more open.

  4. gwinnett county graduate (unregistered) on December 27th, 2005 @ 2:19 pm

    Aradia, I agree with you that the firing might be harsh. But teachers often force movies on students instead of teaching because it’s easy: no lecture, no discussion. It is the way public schools replace books with television screens with the sacrifice of real learning.

    I remember in the early 90s when many teachers would secretly play movies for the students. It might take an entire week to watch the movie. Movie day is off day.Usually teachers have already seen the movie and didn’t have to participate that day, it’s lame.

    As an artist I think art and poetic license are important but this is not art class or film criticism school, or is it? To take up a few classes to show one person’s mass audience directed response to an event? That’s not history, that’s entertainment.

  5. Aradia (unregistered) on December 27th, 2005 @ 2:28 pm

    I definitely agree that some teachers take the easy way out and show a movie. I had to sit through Dances With Wolves in school once and it was torture. Secretly playing movies is not the thing to do either. But I do see the value of showing films in school sometimes. Some films actually have substance that might communicate good information. I also sympathize with the struggle that teachers go through in trying to keep the students’ attention without pissing off the parents. And in response to something you touched on earlier, I think that unfortunately it is in fact necessary to use alternative means of teaching these days. Not that kids are stupid per se, but they are so overstimulated by TV, video games, the Internet and other bombardments of color and sound that the classroom just doesn’t “do it for ’em” any more :-(

  6. Former Gwinnettian (unregistered) on December 27th, 2005 @ 5:04 pm

    I think we’re losing sight of the issue here. It’s not “should teachers show movies in school or not.” The matter is: does this teacher deserve to be fired and have his license removed for playing an R rated movie to 17/18 year olds? I think it’s harsh, personally.

  7. Current Gwinnetter (unregistered) on December 27th, 2005 @ 10:07 pm

    Punishment fit the crime? This seems to be a gross over-reaction on the part of Gwinnett County schools. Admittedly, he broke a school policy and the administrators are within their rights to punish him, but to fire him is way harsh. Whatever positive results the school is going to receive from his absence must out-weigh his worth as a 37-year veteran teacher.

    And to revoke his license is beyond the pale of absurdity. It essentially says to us to his transgression was so egregious that he should never be allowed to teach anyone ever again. That hardly seems reasonable.

  8. Aradia (unregistered) on December 28th, 2005 @ 11:09 am

    Thanks Former Gwinnettian for getting us back on track ;-) I agree with you and Current Gwinnetter – it is harsh. Current G and I are definitely on the same page.

  9. Safety (unregistered) on December 28th, 2005 @ 11:41 am

    Showing movies in class isn’t a bad thing, per se – a movie like Elizabeth can -show- the students period life much more vividly than any book, just as seeing, for example, a non-traditional remake of a Shakespeare play make it more accessable to students, like the Baz Lurhman “Romeo + Juliet”. Education -can- be entertainment, if done correctly, and Elizabeth shows how a time that might read as deadly dull and unrelatable was really a 16th-century soap opera, and that these faces in a book were very real people.

    Some teachers do use them as “filler”, esp around holiday time (I have no idea why my English class got to watch “Ace Ventura”), but there is a valid place for movies in school. Yes, he should have gotten permisson, but firing and going after his license is another level entirely.

    But as this poor teacher… I remember being shown the 60’s version of Romeo and Juliet in a high school drama class that had partial nudity and I don’t think any of us were traumatized by it. This is just another -sad- sign of how teachers have increasing little directive over what they can do, if it’s not fuss over “inappropriate” content it’s those ridiculous stories about schools and teachers getting sued for issuing low grades. Yes, public education should be accountable but a lot of good teachers, administrators and schools are getting ruined, burnt out and driven away in the process. It’s things like this that turned me away from a teaching career – I love history and wanted to share it, not deal with beauracracy and inept school boards that have to rely on votes for their jobs. I saw this happen to my most dedicated, creative, and enlightening teachers – after a while they just couldn’t fight it anymore, and the school was poorer for it.

    Yet with current policies, we won’t need good teachers anymore… just someone to supervise the handing out of ADD drugs and make sure the children memorize enough useless -facts- so they can pass the next No Child Left Behind test. God forbid that we try to develop children into critical thinkers, they might just learn to think for themselves!

  10. Aradia (unregistered) on December 28th, 2005 @ 11:58 am

    Safety ROCKS! That was so well put all around. An increasing number of people seem to be waking up to the way drugs are used to quiet the children down and how teachers are villified when they try to exercise discipline or just be fair and honest about grades, etc. Unfortunately, it seems to me that many of the people who realize this don’t have children.

  11. Will Hindmarch (unregistered) on December 29th, 2005 @ 1:19 am

    It’s a wonder my English teacher wasn’t excommunicated and deported for showing us Dead Poet’s Society in class. The feedback loop caused by such evil exposure to a story about perilous exposure to thought would crack the bricks of a modern classroom and bruise the eardrums of countless students with no health insurance.

    The standards and processes of firing teachers should be just as elaborate and dramatic as courts martial. Teachers are soldiers.

  12. Nikki (unregistered) on December 29th, 2005 @ 11:44 am

    Um, in my AP English class we watched Kenneth Branaugh’s Hamlet as well as, you know, reading the play. I also watched it at Governor’s Honors. This is complete malarky. This poor guy, I hope they don’t end up taking his license. It’s hard enough to find a decent teacher who still cares as it is.

  13. duane (unregistered) on December 30th, 2005 @ 12:29 pm

    This is completely ridiculous. I cannot believe that people overreact in such a way. That parent should pull their kid out now, because if they are that afraid they are going to be “exposed” to anything “R-rated”, they are completely fucked. I feel sorry for the kid too.

    As for taking the guy’s licence, What in the HELL are you thinking Gwinnett? Do you know how many teachers leave the school system because of mistreatment, and you want to force out good ones that stick around? You should be ashamed of yourself. Seriously. This is ridiculous. Stuff like this makes me so mad.

  14. tom (unregistered) on December 30th, 2005 @ 7:24 pm

    What you should be SO MAD about, Duane et al, is the poor performance by students in Atlanta public schools. Gwinnett has high standards for the students and the teachers and they seem to do quite well. Bravo to someone for sticking to the rules. Maybe they should just send the teacher to Atlanta public county schools.

  15. size genetics (unregistered) on January 13th, 2006 @ 12:21 am

    Three phrases should be among the most common in our daily usage. They are: Thank you, I am grateful and I appreciate.

  16. Glinda (unregistered) on January 19th, 2006 @ 12:50 pm

    Just because Mr. Youngblood is a 37-year veteran teacher doesn’t tell whether he was a good, mediocre, or bad teacher. Our public school system hangs on to them all. I’d bet that the “firing” wasn’t only over an R-rated movie. There’s going to be more to the story.

    What the movie rating being shown to seniors is irrelevant. What movies kids go to see on their own time is irrelevant. Our children are already getting a thorough education in the Hollywood version of great and not-so-great literature, sexuality, profanity, violence . . . American society has that covered. What American society does NOT have covered — the ability to read, write, communicate intelligently without relying on movie trivia. How to construct, create and appreciate the interior vision that mastering these once basic abilities add to a growing individual. I am frightened and sick of hearing “we have to reach kids on their own level. Books are too hard.”

    Movies in school — America’s dirty little secret that isn’t so little anymore. And fortunately it’s becoming less secret.

  17. Bill - South Class of 95 (unregistered) on February 12th, 2006 @ 2:46 am

    I can uncategorically state that Youngblood was the BEST instructor I had at South Gwinnett in my time there between 1991 and 1995. His almost swashbucking approach to literature awakened in all of his students the mental tools for in-depth analysis of *any* problem. While he nominally taught literature, what we learned was part philosophy, part art of discourse, and a great deal more of the skill of getting to “know thyself” than any of us had ever faced before.

    Look, I’m not a liberal arts type. I’m an engineer and a computer scientist, for crying out loud. And Ed Youngblood helped me in my chosen path more than did any other high school teacher.

    A few closing points.

    First of all, Youngblood rarely ever showed movies in class. The only one I can recall was Hamlet (with Mel Gibson), which we saw because we were studying the play. We did not study the play by watching the movie as a primary source; we watched it to get a very different interpretation of the play than we had come to see through class discussions. Hamlet had incestuous yearnings for his mother? We didn’t think so, but many modern interpretations do. Reasons were discussed. Sexuality was discussed, both expressed and implied, in the play versus in the movie. Nobody ever complained — we were too fascinated.

    Second point. When I was a *freshman*, we did have a lazy teacher who liked to substitute movies for real study. I won’t name this teacher as she still teaches at South Gwinnett. And Romeo and Juliet did in fact have a scene of female nudity. Nobody ever complained. (As an aside, this teacher was not present on the day the scene was shown. The sight of the substitute teacher frantically trying to block the sight of the television screen was worth far more than the price of admission, to me.)

    My point is, if Youngblood wanted to show a movie, it wasn’t for reasons of laziness or whim. He was the ringmaster of all discussions — and every class was a discussion. I have no doubts that he showed that movie because he had an excellent reason for doing so. Also, the fact that non-PG material was discussed in Youngblood’s class, or in *any* language arts class at South Gwinnett, should have come as no surprise to anyone. Youngblood had a reputation. If you were easily offended, you were free not to sign up for his AP English class — indeed you were encouraged by your classmates not to.

    This has turned into an exceedingly long rant. I apologize, but I just found out about Youngblood’s abrupt career end. I’m still in shock. I never imagined that the South Gwinnettt administration, even as absolutely stupid as it was even then, would dare terminate the career of a man who has influenced so many in such a positive way, over some damn bureaucratic red tape.

    – Bill

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