Me hubiera gustado ser maestra

Me hubiera gustado ser maestra*.” I remember my abuela saying to me when I asked her what she would have been if she could’ve gone to university.  Thanks to R.Evolución Latina, I was able to see Radical directed by Christopher Zalla and starring Eugenio Derbez. Based on a true story,the film follows the sixth-graders of Jose Urbina Lopez Elementary in Matamoros, a border city, where violence and poverty are their bread and butter. They are among the worst performing students in Mexico, according to standardized testing, and their classrooms exist only to learn discipline and obedience. Enter Sergio Juarez, a new teacher, who claims he has no idea what he’s doing. He just knows he wants to unleash the potential each student has. 

We follow three main students: Lupe, Nico and Paloma. Each combating their own set of circumstances. Lupe plays the role of mother to her younger siblings, cooks, cleans and takes care of both her parents as they alternate shifts in the local factory. Nico is being brought up by his brother, who works with the local narcos that use Nico as their mule. Paloma is the daughter of a pepenador (trash scavenger) and lives next to the andfill.

Sergio breaks the established and outdated methods of pedagogy in his classroom, he decides to follow his students’ curiosity and intuition. The students grow more confident with each day and start to believe they can achieve dreams like studying aerospace engineering or philosophy.

However can they truly escape their reality?

As someone who was born and raised in Mexico, I had little hope. My grandfather didn’t finish the fourth grade, my mom had to start working at thirteen and barely was able to finish high school. Regardless there are always outliers, like three of my aunts who managed to become teachers. In this film, Paloma becomes the exception to the rule. Becoming the best ranking student of the elementary standardized test in all of Mexico.

This Sundance Festival Favorite Winner film made me cry, reflect and reimagine the possibilities of education and access to it. It also felt powerful to see a story from my country portrayed with so much care and love. I hope fellow Latines go support this movie and see a part of themselves on screen.  To those who made teaching their profession, THANK YOU. Continue to inspire and believe in your students! *I would’ve like being a teacher*

By Regina Romero. Regina is a actor, writer, producer and have participated in a series of classes from our BWS+ Program.






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