Monday, March 09, 2009

the class

Went to see Laurent Cantet’s impressive film “The Class” at the Watershed yesterday. It was very close to home for me as the film was essentially about teacher/pupil relationships, disciplinary counselling, social integration and exclusion within a secondary school (ok, in France not Somerset!). Having decided to make a film about a junior high school, Cantet then met Francois Begaudeau, who had written a book called “Between the Walls” about a year in the life a school. Francois ends up playing the part of the main teacher character in the film alongside adolescents who came together as a result of a series of workshops. There’s a real tension that runs throughout the film. I found the simple scene of the empty classroom at the end of term somehow particularly powerful and poignant. The school where I work isn’t as cosmopolitan as the Parisian school in the film, but I found lots of echoes of the film situations that we face on an almost daily basis. Lovely teacher friend Helen reckoned that it just like an average day at our school - except that the school in the film got to expel one of its persistent troublemakers whereas “we can never get rid of ours”!
Non-teacher friend Dave sent me the following note on facebook that he’d seen it “with a couple of friends who are teachers - brave, brave people!”

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