Davis Guggenheim’s Documentary Spotlights LA Teacher Making A Difference
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — One of four instructors profiled in the inspiring documentary “Teach” is none other than an AP World History teacher here in Los Angeles.
The latest film from Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim, who directed “Waiting For Superman” and “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Teach” looks at all that’s right with the public school system. The documentary focuses on a set of young teachers from across the country hoping to raise test scores and, ultimately, change their students’ lives.
The documentary is a CBS special narrated by Queen Latifah and set to premiere Friday, Sept. 6.
“The movie really is the story of a teacher and his class,” instructor Joel Laguna told CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Joy Benedict.
Laguna was filmed over a period of nine months at Garfield High School in East L.A.
The UCLA grad got his start tutoring on weekends. He picked up a job teaching at Garfield while simultaneously working towards his Master’s degree.
Laguna said he was reeled in by students’ thirst for knowledge.
“They didn’t get paid for it, they didn’t get credit for anything, they just came to tutoring because they wanted to,” Laguna said.
He’s devoted to using innovative teaching methods to excite young minds. It’s what convinced producers to feature him in the film.
“My students were having trouble understanding other people’s point of views…We went out one Saturday morning and they interviewed tons of different people, whether it be the guy at the taco stand…it’s okay if you try something new and it fails miserably, as long as you try it,” the teacher said.
“Your most important job as a teacher is to really connect with your students,” Laguna said. “Once your students see that you care they’ll go anywhere.”
Laguna said he hopes the movie “really pushes people to want to help out at their local schools.”