Monday, September 26, 2011


The US public television network, PBS, has been airing the documentary, The Learning, on local PBS stations around the country. The Learning tells the tale of four Philippine elementary school teachers as they migrate from their Philippine homeland and into inner-city Baltimore. The teachers laugh, cry, dance, and sing their way through their adventure, all the while balancing their love of their homeland with classrooms of unruly children in one of America’s gravest inner cities.

The compelling nature of the quest would make for a tight 90 minutes of viewing regardless of the subject-immigrants, but the radiance of these women raises the documentary to compelling viewing.

Their desire to help family and friends through remittance payments underscores the entire film. The most gripping scene occurs when one of the teachers, Angel, returns to her homeland and has to explain to her family that the American money “does not grow on trees,” as only a beloved schoolteacher can explain. Angel, like her three colleagues, never stops teaching – the children, her family, and we the viewers.

The film is streaming for free through October 20 on PBS’ website – unfortunately the streaming is only available in America. MU Law highly recommends The Learning for any reader of this Blog and anyone interested in first-person accounts of the modern immigrant experience.

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