College students need a 'Superman,' too
Published: Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
"Waiting for Superman" is the new documentary that takes a look inside the struggling public school system in America. The film centers particularly on the elementary, middle and high schools in the U.S.'s urban areas. Geoffery Canada is a main character in the film who gained praise for his work in the Harlem public school system. Canada opened the Harlem Success Academy as an example of what a school should be like. He based his academy on the formula of equipping schools with credible, dedicated teachers who have the passion for not only teaching students, but inspiring them to help reach their full potentials.
Unfortunately, the movie didn't show this problem not only exists in elementary and high schools, but also at the collegiate level. Some college students feel larger institutions of higher learning lack the one-on-one interaction and dedication of professors with their students.
"On one hand of the spectrum, in college, we are all adults and are responsible for doing our own work and keeping up with what's going on in the class," says DePaul graduate student Cassandra Bowman, 24. "But on the other hand, we are paying for our education and the instructor should have pride and genuine interest in assisting students when they need it without a scowl, sarcastic comment or disgruntled attitude."
DePaul alum Romell Downer, 24, currently attends the University of Houston for graduate school. "I think the level of attention that professors give their students depends on the size of the school," says Downer. "Often times, I would go visit various professors in different departments regarding certain issues, and some were very inaccessible, communicating with me through short, impersonal emails. I feel that if I'm paying thousands of dollars to go to school, my instructors should be available during the school week."
Instructors at colleges and universities can agree there are problems within the infrastructure but can't put all the blame in one area. "Successful schools don't just appear out of thin air," says Dr. Roxanne Owens, a chairperson of the Teacher Education Department at DePaul. "It takes teachers and students all working together. If any one of those entities isn't doing its part-either because it can't or won't-things can get out of balance."
Throughout the film, Canada's devotion and passion for instilling excellence in education is inspirational. More educators at the higher level of education need to have that fire for teaching, because after college, students are thrust into the real world, and it's either sink or swim.
DePaul's School of Education prepares its students to be bright, motivational educators of tomorrow. "In DePaul's School of Education, we work very hard to help our education majors understand the challenges and benefits ahead," says Owens. "A good teacher knows how to take the lesson and make it meaningful and engaging. They know how to motivate and challenge."
As a result of the movie, we see "Superman" has, indeed, come to the rescue of the Newark, New Jersey public school system, receiving a charitable donation of $100 million from Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.
As one anonymous DePaul student put it, "Unfortunately, Superman doesn't exist. As mature, young adults in college, we are our own Superman and have to take on whatever is thrown at us. That's what makes us stronger.
"After all, every superhero has a villain, and it's up to the hero to win.