Seven Inspiring Teacher Movies

Last night we were surfing Netflix looking for something to watch when we came across the movie Mona Lisa Smile, which features a young(er) Julia Roberts trying convince her 1950's female college students that there is more to life than marriage. The movie was not only entertaining, but it also reminded me why I went in to teaching to begin with - to make a difference. So, in case you are needing a little reminder about how awesome you, as a teacher, actually are (or just need a good movie to go with your popcorn), here are some suggestions.

I recently re-watched Dead Poets Societywith the always enthusiastic Robin Williams. I have mixed feelings about Robin Williams ever since I saw him on a talk show making jokes about Mother Teresa the day after her death, but this is one of his better movies. The themes are similar to Mona Lisa Smile in that he is trying to shake things up in a rather conservative environment. A good one to watch again and to share with your older children.



My daughter takes sign language for her language requirement and a few weeks ago her teacher showed the class Mr. Holland's Opus, which she loved. Of course, they were focusing on the challenges the main character faces in raising a deaf child, but the movie is also hugely inspirational from a teacher point of view. If you are feeling like nothing you do is making a difference, throw this one in your DVD player.

Stand and Deliver is on my list to see again. I remember being very impressed with it back in the late 90s when it came out. What is amazing is that it is based on a true story about a math teacher in East LA who devotes himself to a class of extremely at-risk high school students and despite many obstacles, actually succeeds in getting them to pass the advanced placement calculus test, which means a real shot in life for his students instead gangs and violence.

Hilary Swank does a terrific job playing high school teacher Erin Guwell in Freedom Writers. Like Stand and Deliver, this movie is also based on a true story and also features a teacher working with at-risk high school students in LA. Rather than math, she teaches English and must overcome the racism that is the dominant force in her class. As an added bonus for Grey's Anatomy fans, Patrick Demsey (Dr. McDreamy) also has a starring role.


I must admit that I am simply charmed by Anne Of Green Gables - The Sequel every time I watch it (which must be half a dozen times by now). Of course, you must first watch the original  Anne of Green Gables, which is also fabulous. Actress Megan Follows is delightful playing a young teacher at an uppity school for girls. I never tire of watching her win the hearts of even the grumpiest adversaries. This is also a wonderful family film.


In all honesty, I don't think I would call School of Rock with Jack Black exactly inspirational, but it was fun. Good for a Saturday night with your  teens.

Have you seen any of these? What did you think? Got a favorite to add? Please comment. 

17 comments:

Jen said...

Dangerous Minds!

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Sorry, but Freedom Writers is not a true story. I went to that school. The "diary entries" are responses to essay prompts.

Julie Pieprzyk said...

I loved Freedom Writers... my daughters and I all cried at the end, even if it wasn't a true story! How about The Ron Clark Story?? That is another inspiring teacher movie.

Julie
My Journey to 5th Grade

Melanie Miday-Stern said...

Um, Freedom Writers is real b/c I met one of the people it was about. He's a powerful speaker about how teachers can change a life, Manuel Scott is his name!

The Ron Clark Story is definitely at the top!

Marla Rosenthal said...

Music of the Heart with Meryl Streep...love the it all. Dead Poet's Society is top on my list too.

Marla

C Laughlin said...

I like Lean On Me too. There are so many good ones!

Tiffany said...

Won't Back Down

and

Here Comes the Boom.

Tiffany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken Moss said...

How about To Sir, With Love? Sidney Poitier was amazing!

Tyson said...

There's a couple of good Bollywood films about teachers and education that come to mind...Like Stars on Earth and 3 Idiots.

Anonymous said...

Though more about the student, but also about the teacher - Pay It Forward

Miss Foote said...

Great list! Here Comes the Boom is a newer inspiration teaching movie. My favorite teaching movie is The Emperor's Club. And I LOVE Christy...not a movie, but a tv show based on a book.

Laurie
Chickadee Jubilee

Melissa J said...

Lean on Me and The Ron Clark story

Terri said...

I LOVE Dangerous Minds!!!

Anonymous said...

A Smile As Big As the Moon. It is an amazing story about a Special Education teacher & his class' journey! By far one of my favorites, wish I could show it to my students to show how much they can achieve when they put their minds and hearts to it.

Anonymous said...

School of Life with Ryan Reynolds is also a great teacher movie. It is sad though so be prepared!

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