Brad Cohen must be a household name in America and the western parts of the world. I didn’t know anything about Tourette’s syndrome until I watched movie based on Brad Cohen’s life Front of the Class. The movie blew my mind. Front of The Class is a simple, no-nonsense, short but sweet movie about the life and success of Brad Cohen, a Teacher. I would like to take this moment and thank Bollywood for bringing me too watch this movie. As we all know Bollywood remake of this movie named ‘Hichki’ with Rani Mukherjee released earlier this year.
However, I have not yet seen the Indian Version. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Bollywood movie (that is I guess side effect of being born an Indian) but I couldn’t get myself to watch Hichki. Front of the class is a BEAUTIFUL movie of personal fight to be something one has always wanted to be, the reasons of their existence and their acceptance of the as Brad like to call it, ‘Elephant in the room”. I don’t want that part ruined by watching a movie based on pure drama and emotions that didn’t actually occur in Brad’s life. Plus, I request you, if you have seen ‘Hichki’ and it does judgment to the original movie kindly let me know.
Till now I have seen this movie twice & read the book once. Still, I cannot stop myself from watching it again and again. My husband reluctantly joins me most of the time, maybe there’s something about Brad’s story that attracts him too. Maybe I will gift this book to my niece when she grows u.
What is Tourette’s syndrome?
Tourette’s syndrome is a neuropsychiatric nervous system disorder involving repetitive movements or unwanted sounds. It is characterized by multiple motor tic or vocal tics which are of course involuntary. Most of all it is difficult to detect Tourette’s syndrome as sometimes tics are very less or low during its early set off in childhood. It can also go unnoticed in adults despite so much media attention after Brad Cohen became a national sensation. Some common tics include eye blinking, coughing, throttle noise, facial movements or movements in legs and hands.
Tourette’s syndrome does not affect one’s ability to learn, their intelligence or their life expectancy. However, it does leave the affected person looking abnormal in the eyes of the world around them. This can be made easier by educating people about Tourette’s syndrome instead of hiding away because of it. Moreover, cause of this syndrome are unknown. Although, unwanted attention, anxiety and stress can trigger the tics. No cure has been found yet.
Here’s the story summary:
Brad Cohen is born with Tourette’s syndrome. His father cannot come to terms with it. Now don’t confuse his inability to accept it as something like he hates him or doesn’t love him. His father loves him very much, just that he feels helpless, and he wants to help Brad instead of accepting his Tourette’s. However, this too changes with Brad’s success as a teacher.
Brad’s mother on the other hand has been a fighter all her life. Right after her divorce with Brad’s father even though she can’t understand it, she sets out to understand her son instead of mending him. Also, mending is something his mother has tried for him. She takes him to doctors who couldn’t help him since they had no idea what is Tourette’s syndrome. When doctors fail, she resorts to public libraries, reading medical journals and magazines until she can find something. Fortunately for Brad she finds Tourette’s. Thus, young Brad comes to know that his syndrome had no cure yet. A very difficult and strange thing for a young kid to know.
Thankfully his mother brings him up tough. During his school years one of Brad’s principle helps him by letting the whole school know of Brad’s special medical condition. Until then the whole school thought Brad does whatever he does on purpose. Once the principle let the school know everything changes in Brad’s life. Suddenly, the world opens up. Although, due to the treatment he received up until this day made Brad Cohen believe that he needs to be a teacher because every kid needs to be treated normally and accepted for who they are instead of trying to bend them to fit the reality.
Hence, Brad Cohen gets a certification and Bachelors in teaching but with the huge elephant he carries with him every day, it becomes difficult for him to be hired as a teacher. After a few rejections, Brad cries and you feel his pain because normal or not we have been at that place in our life where the world rejects us outright and there is nothing we can do about it, but to keep going on. Those who keep going on despite their difficulties one day achieves the impossible. Like Brad Cohen did at his 25th attempt. He was successfully hired by Mountain View Elementary School. From then on it is history. Brad Cohen went on to achieve remarkable success in teaching and enlightening Tourette’s syndrome.
So, why do you end up liking this Movie & Book?
The movie has some guts. For the simplicity with which Brad Cohen’s story is being told, you feel like crying at many points but you feel proud because it happened in reality and it fills you with strength and wonder. It is a feel good movie. If there is something you want to achieve but you are standing in your way, maybe this movie/book will help you.
We see Brad’s many fights, his many endeavors to do something fail. Brad Cohen not only succeeds professionally but also in personal life. For someone with Tourette’s he must have felt like he will never find a life partner, let alone someone who accepts him and loves him. Yet he does end up falling in love. This movie asks you many questions, biggest of all it asks you, “Isn’t it amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t give up despite the world telling you otherwise?”
Takeaway lesson’s from Front of The Class.
- Never give up on your goals. Brad Cohen decided to be a teacher despite having Tourette’s syndrome and unknown to him his Tourette’s made him the best kind of teacher out there.
- Disability might be an ability in disguise. Brad Cohen’s special ability to understand and accept his special students came from having Tourette’s. Be it a student with ADHD or Cancer.
- Fight, learn to fight. You will not get everything you want just because you desire it. Learn to fight for your right to do things. Call what it may be a dream, a purpose or a longing.
- Learn to make people uncomfortable. You are not born on this Earth to make everyone comfortable. Every now and then shake things up, let people know of your existence. Meanwhile keep doing the good stuff.
Famous people with Tourette’s syndrome:
André Malraux – A famous French novelist, art theorist and Minister of Cultural Affairs.
Tim Howard – Goalkeeper for Colorado Rapids is described by Chicago Tribune as ‘The rarest of creatures – An American Soccer hero’ & Tim Howard says that his neurological disorder has given him the extra ability needed to play soccer so well.
Brad Cohen – The elementary school teacher who won Gergia’s first class teacher of the year and went on to become a teacher, motivational speaker & an author.
You can buy the book here: Amazon
So, if you have Tourette’s syndrome watch this movie. Even if you do not have Tourette’s syndrome you can still enjoy this movie and learn a lesson or two to implement in your life.
What am I going to implement? Fight, learn to fight for what I want.
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