Asked to Show Insensitive Movie: Did I Do the Right Thing?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by Mrs_Goatess, Dec 18, 2006.

  1. Silverfyre

    Silverfyre New Member

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    Dec 20, 2006

    That's great that you don't let it bother you. I'm being sincere when I say that, too. It's hard to ignore the blatant disregard society tends to have for people who are considered the "other".

    But, it doesn't mean that everyone has "rosen above it". Some people will take offense to people in blackface and the situation was handled quite well, I believe, by Mrs. Goatess.
     
  2. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Dec 21, 2006

    I better leave this post alone before those who are worried about being "politically correct" offend me also. So to each its own. Merry Christmas.:D
     
  3. TeacherRW

    TeacherRW Cohort

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    Dec 21, 2006

    You're right!!! Duh! I was trying to read/respond while my girls were running around the house!!

    Because of my "biff", I would say this... you should have left a note for the teacher about the questionable part. Going to the principal was overstepping, IMO.
     
  4. Tbelle1035

    Tbelle1035 Cohort

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    Dec 21, 2006

    I hope I did not offend anyone with my statement. Not my intent.
    Please forgive me if I used a poor choice of words. :sorry:
     
  5. Raising3boys

    Raising3boys Companion

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    Dec 21, 2006

    I bet there was some merit to the movie that the teacher picked because she is supposed to be a professional. Hopefully, she will have a discussion about the movie when she returns. I am glad at our school now that we must incorporate any movie shown with state standards and have prior approval by the principal. The last school I worked at was the same way. I guess we don't know the entire circumstances. I do personally think by going to the principal was "overstepping", but it was something that YOU felt YOU need to do. Personally, I would have left a note for the teacher.
     
  6. Research_Parent

    Research_Parent Cohort

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    Dec 21, 2006

    Mrs Goatess...I think you handled this extremely admirably...Great job! You left a note for the teacher and notified the principal.

    (Not every school has to get prior approval to show movies/films and this was obvious when the principal didn't know what was being shown in the classroom.) Like others mentioned, even at the college level we have to notify "adults" in advance if we are going to show any film rated PG-13 or above in the class and allow them to leave.

    Personally, I love having another set of eyes review my "material" and make recommendations. Keep up the good work!
     
  7. Alaskanteach

    Alaskanteach Cohort

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    Dec 23, 2006

    Ah, but that is different according to location. If you call an Alaskan Native an "Indian" you may be headed for trouble (some Alaskan Natives are Aleut, Athabaskan which is similar to other Native American groups in the lower 48, and Inupiaqs). Eskimo is also no longer encouraged. Inupiaq, Athabaskan, and Aleut are then broken into further subgroups, Jupik, Yupik, Eyak, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Haida, etc.. none of these groups accept the term "Indian".

    I agree with Aliceacc.. Fredrick Douglas and Huck Finn are part of our accepted DISTRICT curriculum. The language there is eye opening.

    OP: If you subbed for me (especially during first quarter of English 10) you would have seen/heard much worse than that film. All because the students have been taught the context of American history and are studying literature in that venue. If you had reported me for that, the principal would have thanked you kindly, informed me of what you said, and then no one in the school would have called you in for a sub job again.:sorry:

    Sylverfire.. I do have some background knowledge of black minstelsry... it was a history class I took in college on musicals and comedy in film. Part of the course covered this particular subject, although I certainly don't consider myself an expert. Please do not presume that everyone is ignorant.

    ETA: I have gone back and reread some other posters' responses. I will reiterate that when I was studying black minstrelsy it was for a history class on film which was focused on musicals and comedy. The fact that this film was shown in a music class, then really does not seem far fetched to me.

    Aliceacc, I have not seen this particular film before, I don't think... I saw many for several weeks straight, and all the titles have sort of blended for me (it HAS been more years than I care to recall). I do not recollect a specifically holiday one, though.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 23, 2006

    Again, in rereading these posts, it appears that only WIG and I have seen the entire movie. Is that correct?


    Edited to add:

    In event, it's now Christmas Eve morning, and I have lots to do.

    Merry Christmas to those of us who celebrate it, and a long, relaxing break to all of us!

    Don't forget to check www.noradsanta.com throughout the day today!!

    Merry Christmas!
    alice
     
  9. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Dec 24, 2006

    I was in the same situation. I subbed for 7/8 grade home ec teacher who had, at the last moment, gotten incredibly sick. They left a video tape for us to watch. Well, we watched it and it was all about racial issues. It wasn't THAT bad, but I stopped the tape 10 minutes before class was out to discuss the movie. I, myself, felt very uncomforatble, but felt the need to talk about it with the kids. It actually went well for the first 7 periods. Then came period 8. I stopped the tape to discuss and as we were discussing it, one of the girls who was asian became VERY offended. I felt soooo bad. I didn't really know what to say or do to make the situation better. I felt out of place and not prepared! Anyways, I do not see the point of ever asking a sub to show a film like this.

    In my opinion, the sub made the right choice contacting the administators. She was covering her back. If a student goes home and tells their parents about the movie and says that the sub showed it, then the sub could get into trouble. Then the sub would have to go through the ordeal of explaining that the teacher left it and yadda yadda. Okay, also, maybe the teacher should have told the sub how to address the situation and told the sub how she already spoke to the class about the movie. It sounds like the teacher just left directions to watch the movie and that's it. So, you did do the right thing expressing your concern.
     
  10. MissWilliams

    MissWilliams Rookie

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    Dec 27, 2006

    Mrs._Goatess--:love:

    You did the right thing. I've been on both sides of permanent/substitute teaching. If you have a single day assignment and view a movie with this content, you have a responsibility to let the teacher know (you did) and admin (you did). You gave one example of student reactions....what about the potential others taking place between students, conversations at home, and the following days??:confused:

    You had no prior notice that this topic was being addressed. No notes about intended curriculum ties. Almost always, as a substitute teacher you do not have the luxury of having a conversation with the teacher you replace. You have a dual responsibility to follow the plans in the program left for you, and representing a professional education standard. It can be trying to fulfill both.;)

    I cannot see why anyone would be retaliatory about this...if the teacher pre-viewed the movie and is aware & plans a followup, then hearing from admin. should not should not be a problem. If the teacher did not pre-view the movie and selected it as a seasonal/musical number to help the sub, then knowing that content is there from admin. is surely an important thing, before hearing about it in a possible NEGATIVE context from students/parents. You may have even helped the teacher in this case, if it is going to be used again in future. That is why so many districts have film viewing policies--liability, and responsibility for followup. The regular teacher probably had no idea of the skill set and capabilities of the sub left to fill their shoes.

    A 'teachable moment' for the teacher, perhaps. And better for admin. not to be blindsided...whether it became an issue or not, you have to make judgements about communicating thoroughly, and it can be difficult.

    You did the right thing. :angel:
     
  11. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    Dec 31, 2006

    In the lower 48 also
    reffering to the tribe is preferred.

    and I have seen the film, I would show it to sixth graders, if I had reason, but feel that it is part of a cultural education which is an obligation of teachers to explain era gaps like blackface. I do find the thought of showing blackface without an explanation offensive. similarly, I would be offended if Tom Sawyer was read without explanation. I think that as teachers it is our job to be culturally sensitive and even politically correct. If you are trying to reach a diverse audience, then you must. I am sorry that so many teachers feel that this is just asking too much. But in my humble opinion, if some teachers are going to shy away from political correctness, alienate some of their students, because cultural sensitivity is too encumbersome, well perhaps those teachers shouldn't teach.
     
  12. January_Violet

    January_Violet Comrade

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    Jan 4, 2007

    Ditto.
     
  13. Mrs_Goatess

    Mrs_Goatess Comrade

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    Jan 18, 2007

    Update: I returned to the school this week for the first time since Christmas break... to the same classroom! Nothing was mentioned, I showed more movies (all awesome films!), and everything was fine.

    Thanks for your opinions, everyone.
     
  14. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Jan 18, 2007

    Good, Mrs. Goatess:)
     
  15. curious

    curious Companion

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    Jan 18, 2007

    Mrs Goatess, I think you handled yourself like a true professional in that subbing situation. Glad to hear everything's kosher in the school for you.

    For anyone who cares, here's my two cents on this issue:

    We as teachers have a duty to help our students feel safe in their classroom environment. I don't see how showing a movie that could be offensive to some is good for the classroom. I have seen the movie in question and enjoyed watching overall. But as a parent, I would mad if I learned my daughter had to sit through that movie. And not just because of the blackface and 'darkie' term used. Aren't there are more important things to do in class then show a video that is basically being used as a babysitter? There was no lesson plan attached to this video - what a waste of the students' time. Morevor, educators are being paid by taxpayers' dollars and parents deserve to know in advance if a potentially offending lesson material is going to be shown in class.

    Okay, stepping down from the soapbox. ;)
     
  16. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    Jan 19, 2007

    I would agree that blackface is offensive. They were in music class, so there probably was some sort of lesson attatched to the movie. But, I often find the fact that parents who have taken offense get mad. In getting angry they shoot themselves in the foot. I accept that many people do not and would not understand why blackface is so offensive to others. Say something? Of course, but don't get mad until you understand that there some intentional disregard for others feelings in the classroom.
     
  17. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Jan 19, 2007

    I understand why the film was shown. It was a musical, and that is why the teacher choose to show it in music class. She may not have thought that part of the movie was a big concern. When our music teacher was out for the day, she usually left musicals for us to watch. Hopefully now that concerns were brought up on the movie she won't show it again, or go through the right steps to show it.
     
  18. teachkids

    teachkids Rookie

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    Jan 20, 2007

    If it made you feel better to inform the principal, then you did the right thing, however you don't know if there was a dialog about this movie first. You also don't know if there was going to be discussion about the movie when she returned. Personally, I don't find it offensive concidering when it was filmed and knowing historically about the period. What a great way to open a history lesson on film and society, but it doesn't fit into my cirriculum .
     

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