After working for one-school year as a part-time teacher for seven, wildly smart and creative middle school kids, Apple hosted a screening of our 30-minute documentary to parents, friends and the public on Wednesday.
My first stint at teaching (except for teaching skiing after college), the kids never failed to inspire me on a daily basis. It is they who taught me. If I wasn’t being clear, if they were distracted, I had to learn to shift gears and try a different tactic, mid-sentence.
Our time and resources were limited; one computer, three daily 55-minute sessions. It often felt that as soon as we started to find our rhythm, we had to stop for the day. But they were resilient, curious and their engagement deepened.
Even though it is still hard to get a steady shot out of most of them, they became sophisticated and intuitive filmmakers. They began to know what scenes and interviews worked, and what didn’t. When something interesting happened, without any coaching, they began to reach for the camera and shoot, asking, when appropriate, “Can you talk more about that?”
Most important they respected one another. If one didn’t wanted a shot in the film, they talked about it and made a decision based on their resolution. If someone didn’t want something recorded, they shut the camera off. This way of working paid off in the end. The trust they developed with one another can be observed in the intimate observations they capture in the final piece.
The biggest challenge was getting them to review what they shot and build the story. They loved shooting and gathering information. There was no time to review and figure out how to put the story together. That was too boring. There were too many things happening that needed to be documented. But then again, the kids are 10-14-years old.
Gateway is dedicated to ensure students with learning difficulties excel academically and socially in and beyond the classroom.
From this video you can see that Gateway is exceeding those expectations.