The film considered by some to be the anti-Waiting for Superman is now widely available for viewing online, on television, and on DVD. The documentary American Teacher, released last year under the auspices of The Teacher Salary Project, is a straightforward look at the rewards and challenges of teaching across the country and promotes no particular political agenda—a criticism leveled against the earlier film.
American Teacher is written by Dave Eggers—who kick-started a national tutoring and writing program for children—directed by Vanessa Roth, and narrated by actor Matt Damon.
Five teachers from four different regions of the country tell their personal stories. They work long hours for not enough pay. They often have to pay out of their own pockets for school supplies. One is working a second job to earn enough to support his family. One pregnant young teacher, unsure whether she would return to the classroom after the birth of her baby, is back after a six-week leave and is stressed about time away from her family and finding an empty room where she can express her milk. Another teacher, a dedicated leader in his school, eventually leaves to join his family’s real estate business. It simply pays better for a lot less work.