These teacher's vision of their craft is realistic, it's American insanity that turns classrooms into battle grounds
Although the documentary tries to depict these four teachers (three really, as Grace is barely heard from)as naive little Asian cookies (is there any other kind we westerners like?), originating from a country so historically rife with poverty, corruption, and venality it is a difficult characterization to sustain. What makes these teachers distinctly sympathetic is that they do come from such a place and yet struggle to maintain their professional standards. They are nice ladies, but not at all fragile and will not let opportunities slip through their fingers.
This is unfortunately in direct conflict with the young comparatively affluent Americans they are assigned to teach most of whom are mentally unstable and actively ambush their teacher's attempts to maintain order and civility in the classroom (much less learning). If nothing else, this POV illuminates the devastation caused by generations of drug addiction in Baltimore - a sin visited on the children who are technically cretins at birth. Naturally, school administrators assume the teachers are at fault for being culturally insensitive. The kids aren't being rude, they're just expressing themselves.
As with most current documentaries, this material does not hold up at feature film length. CineDiaz could have made their statement sharper with a 45-60 minutes edit. Too much padding and repetition drains the impact.
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