Classroom Chaos

April 24, 2009

I can’t imagine a more poignant or tragic portrayal of classroom chaos than that depicted in the French film The Class. Fictional but shot documentary style, the story shows a teacher’s persistent but futile attempt to reach students mired in pubescent rebellion and complex culture clashes.

Throughout the film I kept thinking of my school days, serene and boring in comparison. But that was the 1960s in Central Florida, when classroom order and conformity resembled the symmetry and prevalence of orange groves. Everything has changed there, too.

The Class, like the HBO series The Wire, shows civil society coming apart, grinding toward inevitable failure despite heroic attempts to patch it together.

When my wife and I arrived home from the theater last night, waiting in the mail was a long-awaited letter. Our little boy had been accepted to attend a private school.

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