What are your favorite feel-good-teacher movies? You know, the inspirationally cheesy ones that make you glad you are a teacher?? Mine:
The Dead Poet's Society
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Here they are, in order of favoritism:
1. Dead Poets Society
2. The Man Without a Face (starring Mel Gibson)
3. Finding Forrester
4. Dangerous Minds
5. Stand and Deliver
6. Front of the Class (it's a Hallmark film, look it up)
7. Lean on Me (this one's really more for administrators)
8. The Emperor's Club (a cheap rip-off of DPS, but worth watching)
9. Akeelah and the Bee (not exactly a teaching film, but definitely feel-good)
10. Facing the Giants (again, not so much a teaching film, but shows the power of coaches and mentors in student lives)
Dead Poet's Society, all the way. I show it in conjunction with the study of A Separate Peace in my sophomore classes. They love it every time.
As an English teacher, Dead Poets Society is number one! I would love to be Mr. Keating to one of my students.
Stand and Deliver makes a great one, especially for AP teachers, or teachers in underprivileged schools.
Mr. Holland's Opus for music teachers.
Freedom Writers (see Dead Poets Society and combine Dangerous Minds)
Finding Forrester is an AWESOME movie for English teachers. Sean Connery plays a hypothetical teacher outside of the realm of education, but directly in the sense of teaching the kid from the Bronx how to use his writing skills to their fullest potential. It also has a "lesson to learn" about plagiarism, and a good example for a class assignment.
If you haven't seen it...DO!
I have always loved "Educating Rita." I think that it really helps me when I am lost in how I perceive education and my role in it. Dr. Bryant is one of my all time favorite characters and the way in which Michael Caine portrayed him is wonderful. I love the theme that education is both redemptive and real, consisting of elements to be embraced and vigilant. The idea of education as being the key to change- personal or social- is one that I hold dear. It's not a very cheesy film, but I look at it as one of those elements that I need whenever I feel down about where I am and what I do. It is perfect after one of those days where you wonder why you do what you do.
My favorite feel good teacher's movie was "Mr. Holland's Opus." The reason I like it was that is showed that no matter how unimportant Mr. Holland felt and how wasted he felt his life was, he was totally unprepared for the effect he'd had on countless students through the years. Even though he didn't get to live his dream of being a conductor in an orchestra, he inspired his students to live large, dream big, and "go long." Many of them went on to do great things and be great people.
As a teacher, many times I feel like I'm not making a difference and that I could be doing something more with my life. But teaching doesn't give immediate results! The effects of your influence on somebody might not be felt for years, maybe for generations. You just have to be patient, have faith, and keep teaching. That's the overall heart-warming message I got from this wonderful movie!
No mention of Freedom Writers, I see. This is one my kids recommended to me and which I then watched with some trepidation. (Would the teacher be a "good guy" or a "bad guy"?!) I really enjoyed it; reminded me of the power of words.
Not to be redundant, but Dead Poets Society is the ultimate teacher story for English/literature teachers. Who hasn't used the "ripping out the pages" scene to introduce a poetry unit? Classic.
Yep. I would agree that Dead Poets' Society is one of the best motivational movies for teachers that I have seen. Robin Williams really exemplified what a passionate teacher should be like.
I love The Emperor's Club with Kevin Kline. It's loosely based on Ethan Canin's short story, "The Palace Thief," and includes great quotes and tons of closure (for those like me who love that sort of thing:).
I'll second Teachers with Nick Nolte, although it is hard to find. For, the more recalcitrant students enjoy this one as it portrays teachers with flaws. The substitute who is from a mental institution (something like this, anyway) becomes an effective teacher as he dresses up as George Washington and brings a boat into the classroom so that the students can "cross the Delaware." The bored students become engaged!
The teacher who hands out worksheets only and dies without any one noticing, is great,too.
I'm surprised more people haven't mentioned Lean on Me! (Good job, "brettd"!) Morgan Freeman as Joe Clark!?! Perhaps it's a function of having my first (and possibly most rewarding) experience take place in an inner city school, . . . but Joe Clark's tough love really spoke to me. So, . . . if you haven't seen it yet, for goodness sake, watch it!
To get a little bit more recent (and possibly a bit more depressing), I don't want to neglect Precious either. Yes, the book is even more powerful, . . . but I maintain that Precious is truly the "other side" of The Blind Side. It will disturb you if you haven't read/seen it yet (and some people condemn it for just that reason); however, it does contain the story of a very inspirational teacher even though she remains only a secondary character.
Okay, now I have to be redundant, because Dead Poets Society is my all-time favorite. I remember seeing it for the first time in high school, connecting the loyalty of those boys to my own loyalty of a particular inspirational teacher I had myself, . . . and I just totally broke down. It remains the only movie that made me cry, . . . for two straight hours. Now THAT is being moved! Heck, I didn't even do that at the end of Titanic! Or Romeo and Juliet! LOL! The secret fact is, . . . I actually use almost all of Mr. Keating's lessons in my own classroom (with a few of my own aesthetic variations). Furthermore, the last blog post I wrote for the eNotes blog was about a student question that rekindled my love for the movie yet again.
Good Will Hunting is a great teacher movie, and so is The Man Without a Face. They both portray teachers as every-day heros who influence kids daily just because they (the teachers) keep showing up and giving every day their best effort.
Would have to agree with everyone elses selection of Dead Poets Society as one of the best teacher movies. Also really enjoyed Coach Carter, kind of along the same line as Coach Carter is a movie we found called the Hurricane Season. It is about a coach and his team post Katrina.
Definite vote for Dead Poets' Society - very inspiring and really motivating - especially after a tough day at school! As for others, I must admit to having a secret liking for Mona Lisa Smile and the film version of Educating Rita. This last one is particularly interesting given its focus on adult education - the "teacher" is a very interesting character!
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