Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Movie: Front of the Class

Came across this fantastic movie while I was in Taiwan and the tour guide showed us this movie during our long ride to the next destination.

"Front of the Class," was an especially touching story of a young man who would not let Tourette syndrome keep him from what he loved most: teaching. Reminded me of how I should not let anything stand in the way of a dream when he himself was an example of how as long as you have faith and belief, you do not have to convince people, but people will be convince by your sincerity and hard work.

Before I continue, I'm sure many of you would be hearing this syndrome for the first time (just as I did) since nowadays many label into under autism I would think. Gilles de la Tourette syndrome is a condition that causes people to make repeated, quick movements or sounds that they cannot control. These movements or sounds are called tics. Most people with Tourette syndrome first notice symptoms during childhood, between ages 7 and 10. Symptoms of Tourette syndrome can range from tiny, minor movements (such as grunts, sniffling, or coughing) to constant movements and sounds that can't be controlled.
Tics can include:
  • Arm thrusting
  • Eye blinking
  • Jumping
  • Kicking
  • Repeated throat clearing or sniffing
  • Shoulder shrugging
Contrary to popular belief, only a small number of patients use curse words or other inappropriate words or phrases. I'm grateful that in Singapore, there is a support group for them.

This movie is based on Brad Cohen's autobiographical book.
Little Brad Cohen (Dominic Scott Kay) had Tourette’s Syndrome before the illness was identified. He would make strange noises, which upset his father (Treat Williams) and his teachers. They demanded that he stop, but he could not.They thought that it was a sign of rebelliousness , lack of self control, bad manners and that he was being a troublemaker.
( Such heart breaking moment. Its true how reality is harsh. Hence Acceptance is difficult for parents. 
I had volunteered among autistic centers for a number of years and have witness how many parents refuse to acknowledge the problem but keep asking for a quick solution. And also parents who split because one of them refuse to acknowledge. And some who blame it on having to handle the child's problem and hence not being able to handle their marriage. Truly my heart goes out to these parents. Specially when they face with societal stares and pressures.) But rather than only harping on the problem, what can we as individuals do?
Perhaps smile and give a hug to the parents when you see them. Give words of encouragement and let them know you are standing by them too. Please don't forget that disabilities are real people with real feelings

Eventually, his parents divorced and his mother (Patricia Heaton) pursued finding out what Brad’s problem was. When they finally found out it was Tourette’s Syndrome, she learned that it was incurable. (And the greatest thing in this movie was that she did not give up regardless of how difficult it was for her. Such is the wonders of a parents' love for their child)

Brad attended school facing each day the ridicule of his classmates and teachers who reprimanded him for being disruptive. Changing one school after another. Thank God! One principal made a difference in Brad’s life. When he was sent by the teacher to the this principal’s office, the principal decided to do something about it. Not about Brad but about the perspective of his school teachers and students. This principal brought Brad before the school assembly and had Brad educate the other children and teachers about his constant companion, Tourette’s Syndrome. As a result, the school understands, applauds and starts to support him. This event leads Brad to wanting to become a teacher. He managed to teach in a small town but years later he decided to move to Atlanta (New big city) and this is where he faced all the colored eyes all over again!

In Atlanta he ('Adult Brad' James Wolk) faces rejections one after another. He is highly qualified, but the schools are scared by his Tourette’s Syndrome. One even pushing him to the limit telling him if he can control his tics for an hour, he gets the job. Truly WTH.
(That frustration - is much more than what we as a normal person experience! Because he was born with it. Should he blame God? I'm thankful his mother reminds him that God is fair and he is born like this for a reason. Thank God for his mother!)

Finally, one school gives him a chance, and he excels.
He was named Georgia's First Class Teacher of the Year.

In between the stories, there was also a scene where his mother took him to a Tourette syndrome support group meeting, where Cohen realized that other attendees and their parents "seemed resigned to a life of defeat", He was then "inspired to triumph over the disorder.

Front of the Class follows Brad as he works through a series of crushing disappointments, encounters overwhelming obstacles, and meets a girl who he can only hope will be able to look past his distracting condition. Whether or not his dream of teaching comes true, you’ll find him to be a one-of-a-kind man with a big heart and incredible determination, regardless of what the world thinks.

Brad’s story as portrayed by this film teaches the principles of perseverance, diligence, resilience, love, and forgiveness. This movie resonate with honesty and the raw emotions from Brad and his mother was just amazing.  Adding in also that love is possible for him was a nice touch, where it showed that nothing is impossible if you have faith in yourself and love just as you are.

And the scene where Brad said what he had been feeling all these years " You have always been ashamed of me. I can see it in your eyes" and his father finally confessed " I'm sorry. I might have been the one who gave it to you" - and the misunderstanding is finally cleared and relationship mends and with this love can finally enter. The intertwining of secrets with truth and acknowledgement clears up the guilt and accusations. (Its so true how things can be solved by the truth but many a times, we hide behind our mask, where pride is in the way and so who can we blame but ourselves?)

Most importantly, Brad Cohen's story is not one of self-pity. His unwavering determination and fiercely positive attitude conquered the difficulties he faced in school, in college, and while job hunting. Brad never stopped striving, and after twenty-four interviews, he landed his dream job: teaching grade school and nurturing all of his students as a positive, encouraging role model.(This is how we should be!)

Last but not least, I want to say a BIG kudos to all parents who is facing similar situations.
You're not alone. Our prayers are with you :)

And to all children who are suffering from similar conditions,
Here's a BIG shoutout to you!

Ps: If you want to watch the whole movie on you tube, you can watch it by keying in " Al Frente de la Clase"


  1. Brad’s report seeing that portrayed by means of that picture educates this guidelines connected with willpower, persistance, resilience, appreciate, in addition to forgiveness. That flick resonate having loyalty along with the fresh sensations by Brad in addition to his or her mum seemed to be simply just wonderful. Putting with likewise of which appreciate can be performed intended for them seemed to be an excellent hint, where by the item exhibited of which few things are unattainable in case you have hope with by yourself in addition to appreciate simply just when. upcoming movies

    Along with the world where by Brad claimed what exactly he had also been emotion most of these a long time inch People are bothered connected with everyone. I am able to find it with your eyes" in addition to his or her pops eventually revealed inch I'm sorry. When i might have been one exactly who afforded the item to help you" -- along with the false impression is usually eventually loosened in addition to marriage mends along with that appreciate can certainly eventually enter in. This intertwining connected with tricks having real truth in addition to acceptance clears in the guiltiness in addition to accusations! healthy tested recipes


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