Claire D'Silva is an intern at Teach For America.
Scott Faris played guitar for what he believes is the only all-teacher rock'n'roll cover band ever to turn a profit touring South Dakota and Northern Nebraska. He also studied film at New York University, taught fifth grade in South Dakota, and now works as an associate of communications and operations for Teach For America-Colorado. His video, “Teach At Altitude,” is the winner of Teach For America's 2012 Show & Tell contest, which challenged members of the Teach For America network to show off what makes their regions unique.
Hear more from Scott on the making of the video:
“In the spring of 2012, we decided to use Teach For America’s Show & Tell video contest to see if we could ratchet our video tomfoolery to the next level by challenging ourselves with a simple task: make something serious. Our team had a vision for a video project that might convey the momentum we feel building in our Colorado classrooms, schools, and communities each and every day. We knew we’d need to focus on the thing that most separates Colorado from other parts of the country: not our urban landscapes or our mountainous terrain, but our approach to the Teach For America mission as represented by our regional mantra: Teach At Altitude.
The students were incredible. In several instances, I asked students to volunteer to stare directly into the lens for intensely dramatic close-ups; these shots often took me several minutes to compose and meant much waiting on the part of the subjects. I began to notice a strange phenomenon—many of the students standing and staring into the lens would become not timid and self-conscious, but rather emboldened, the longer this process took. In several instances, these students would begin to speak in an impromptu fashion about their teachers or the importance of hard work and a strong education. I hadn’t asked them to speak, only to stand and stare, and yet the words would flow from somewhere deep, as much of a surprise to the students as they were to me.
We chose our approach for the video because we thought the story of the formation of the mountains that rise above our front-range cities shared striking similarities with the growth of our teachers. Perhaps it's an obvious metaphor, but it's the one we thought best conveyed the spirit behind our Teach At Altitude philosophy.”
Claire D'Silva is an intern at Teach For America. She will be a freshman at Boston College this fall.