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Durham County Library Presents Film, American Teacher, Collects School Supplies

Program: Film Screening: American Teacher
Date: Sunday, October 20
Time: 3 p.m.
Location: Rogers-Herr Middle School, 911 W. Cornwallis Rd.
Cost: Free and open to the public

About: Durham County Library will host a film showing of American Teacher at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 20, at Rogers-Herr Middle School, 911 W. Cornwallis Road. The library will collect donations of school supplies at the showing to benefit Crayons2Calculators, a Durham nonprofit that serves students by providing free supplies to schoolroom teachers.

Narrated by Matt Damon, the film highlights the sacrifices made by four teachers, working in disparate urban and rural areas, with interviews of policy experts and startling facts. The film is based on The New York Times bestselling book Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers by Daniel Moulthrop, and directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth. Durham educator Steve Unruhe will introduce the film, and will lead the question and answer period.

Though it is well documented that the most important school-based factor in students’ academic achievement and future success is the quality of their teachers, 46 percent of public school teachers leave the profession within the first five years of being in the classroom. Salaries and stress are among the top reasons teachers cited. Sixty-two percent of teachers in the U.S. have second jobs outside of the classroom – like tutoring, mowing lawns, selling stereos, or bartending – to be able to afford to teach. Teachers report that they spend on average between $500 to $1000 out of their own pockets to supply their classrooms each year.

Unruhe has taught for 27 years in Durham Public Schools and currently teachers at Riverside. In 1997, he won the Presidential Award for North Carolina for excellence in secondary mathematics. He is the past president of the Durham Association of Educators and writes an occasional education column for the Herald-Sun.

For more information, contact Joanne Abel at 919-560-0268 or visit

Durham County Library encourages Discovery, connects the Community and leads in Literacy. As a department of Durham County Government, the library furthers Goal 1 of the county’s Strategic Plan by enhancing cultural, educational and creative opportunities.

Contact: Gina Rozier
919-560-0151 or

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