“An Island Beyond Yourself” Adam Gacka and Nkanga Nsa Discuss TEACHER film

It is no secret that the teaching profession has become increasingly challenging, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. For those of us who taught before and through the pandemic, it was never easy. Always challenging, always demanding, always underpaid. Kevin and I have both left classroom roles (although being an administrator is also difficult), and we are both still a little, what’s the word, surprised? When folx choose teaching in these times.

Filmmaker Adam Gacka, founder of Production House in Chicago, was hired to make a promotional video for the ambitious Chicago Teacher Residency and during the course of filming, got to know many of the teachers in the school. In particular, as he learned about Nkanga Nsa, a resident in the program, he felt that her story needed to be shared. So the result was Teacher, a film that would document her journey through her residency, as well as that of the community around her. As Adam boldly declares, saving our teachers will save our democracy.

Adam and Nkanga join us for an in-depth conversation on one teacher’s experience, the ongoing work to ensure that our American teaching corps better reflect children in most classrooms, and the ambitious dream to become “an island beyond oneself” in Nkanga’s words.

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