Film Detail

The Learning

Ramona Diaz / USA, Philippines / 2011 / 97 min


Spurred on by No Child Left Behind mandates and the difficulty in finding qualified applicants for hard-to-fill, underpaid teaching positions in math, science and special education, many American schools have begun recruiting teachers from abroad, including places as faraway as the Philippines. Ramona S. Diaz, the award-winning director of IMELDA (SFIAAFF '04) and SPIRITS RISING (SFIAAFF '96), lends a human element to this story with the captivating new documentary THE LEARNING, which chronicles an emotionally charged year in the lives of four Filipino women as they leave their homeland to teach in an inner-city Baltimore school. Observational camerawork and up-close interviews reveal the women’s strength, frustrations and determination as they negotiate the challenges of teaching in a difficult (and very different) cultural context, all while juggling the demands of familial and financial obligations back home. The many disorientations of dual times, places and affections often characteristic of the migrant worker's condition are made palpable with webcam good-nights, longings for the buzzing tropics on a wintry day, and gestures of friendship both transient and constant. "I consider you my children in America. I love my children and I will love you, too, for 206 days,” Dorotea, one of the featured women, announces to her students. “What about in the 207th? I will still love you." With such scenes, Diaz leaves us pondering the future of these women, the students they have touched, and ultimately the globalizing circumstances that brought them together in the first place. Anita Chang After the screening, join us for a rare extended Q&A with award-winning filmmaker Ramona Diaz.


  • Director: Ramona Diaz
  • Producer: Ramona Diaz
  • Writer: Ramona Diaz
  • Editor: Leah Marino


Fri 03.11 600pm


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