Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Tears at ‘Superman’ Weren’t Only for Kids

October 22, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

I shed more than a few tears for the kids who weren’t “winners” in the school lotteries filmed in the much-discussed documentary “Waiting For ‘Superman’ ” (“Anticipation and Controversy Surround ‘Superman’ Release”, Sept. 1, 2010). But I was even more saddened that the film did not leave me optimistic about any miraculous transformation of America’s schools.

I know that despite the 15-hour days I worked to transform myself from a terrible teacher (1965-1970) to a terrific teacher (1970-2003), my classes always included some students who, despite my best efforts, just wouldn’t listen, follow directions, do their homework, and try. On a class outing in 1991, a student-made banner for the Mets game we were attending transformed my likeness into Superman. I subsequently used it to inspire my class to be “SuperStudents.” But I knew that not all of them would be willing to put in the necessary time and effort to excel.

So, blaming all the problems of America’s schools on teachers and their unions is not “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” And I’m sorry if that’s “An Inconvenient Truth” for Davis Guggenheim—the director of both the film by that name and “Waiting For ‘Superman’”—to hear.

Richard Siegelman

Plainview, N.Y.

A version of this article appeared in the October 27, 2010 edition of Education Week as Tears at ‘Superman’ Weren’t Only for Kids

Events

Student Well-Being Webinar After-School Learning Top Priority: Academics or Fun?
Join our expert panel to discuss how after-school programs and schools can work together to help students recover from pandemic-related learning loss.
Budget & Finance Webinar Leverage New Funding Sources with Data-Informed Practices
Address the whole child using data-informed practices, gain valuable insights, and learn strategies that can benefit your district.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
ChatGPT & Education: 8 Ways AI Improves Student Outcomes
Revolutionize student success! Don't miss our expert-led webinar demonstrating practical ways AI tools will elevate learning experiences.
Content provided by Inzata

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: May 3, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 26, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 29, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Quiz Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Trending Education News
How well do you know the trending news in education? Test your knowledge by taking our quiz.