This documentary was remarkable--moving and inspiring. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were more teachers like Rafe Asquith! Not many are willing or able to take the time out of their personal lives that he does, but it's obvious that spending those Saturdays and taking those trips with his students are more important to him than spending free time at home. It's obvious, too, that he teaches not only facts, but values and life lessons. He CARES. I just loved him.
And "guest speakers" to his classroom weren't shabby--Michael York and Ian McKellen, who said that being there made him want to cry because the students felt the same way he does about Shakespeare.
The camera work was excellent, capturing the expressions on those kids' faces--the tears, the joy, the comprehension, the pride. A scene that particularly impressed me was the one when Asquith was reading from Huckleberry Finn. The camera focused on the face of one boy and as he listened, tears rolled down his cheeks. Others, equally moved, were also shown. It's amazing that the teacher made them FEEL that story so deeply and that these ten-year-old children grasped and empathized with the Huck's inner conflict at the thought of turning in his slave friend, Jim.
Some of the Amazon reviewers of Rafe Asquith's book were critical. Some of the teachers in his own school shunned him. I'm sure it was hard for them to compete. I taught in public schools, and I can understand how they felt. In all honesty, I was not dedicated to the degree that he is. I had children of my own and could not give that kind of extra time and effort to my career even though I loved teaching. But it's still inspiring to see the true story of such a remarkable teacher, and I think anyone could learn something from his approach to teaching.