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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Favorite Teacher Movie of All Time?

Favorite Teacher Movie of All Time?

Related Tags: 6-8 Middle School
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OK, so here's a thread with very little purpose other than to share some titles of movies that make us smile or think about our own profession. Have a second? Then drop us a comment on your favorite teacher movie of all time! I can't wait to hear what you have to say. -Heather WG

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michael hattman's picture

The use of cartoons to teach is an example that could be duplicated today for creating engagement.

Marilyn's picture

hard to choose, but a favorite I could always stop to watch is the Anne of Green Gables series from PBS - for the characters and dedication to learning, teaching, and community told with humor, humility, and grace.

Kelly Faulkner's picture
Kelly Faulkner
Secondary English Teacher

don't hate me either, but while i will watch them, i don't like them too much. i know this was supposed to be a fun thing (and i remember mark harmon very well in summer school. he was so cute! - can you believe courtney thorne-smith hardly looks any older? unfair!), but it hits a nerve with me.

a massively successful teacher, in the movies, is one who sacrifices everything in his/her life to reach their students, commonly working a 2nd job to be able to buy resources, and suffering a broken marraige due to having no time (rarely do they have children of their own). their whole life revolve around school, and everyone on the periphery is understanding. while i'm willing to and do work 9 hour days without a break (except friday lunch, which is non-negotiable), plus marking and night time activities, i do have a family of my own that requires my time and attention, and i want to spend time with them too. when watching, i feel resentful that the characters in these "real life/true stories" have no other responsibilities and/or any relationships that need tending to. it's not very realistic, which, i suppose, is the point of movies.

thinking especially of freedom writers (she worked 2 jobs, lost her marriage, and spent all her money on resources. she was also alienated from her father)
the ron clarke story (he lived in a hovel and did nothing but school-related things - even taping 4 hours worth of lessons each day while home with double pneumonia for 2 weeks)
my favourite: stand and deliver, but he spent all his "free" time with his students (thank goodness he already had a long-term marriage and understanding spouse) and lost his health. he also was also, according to the film, practically a pariah on staff. (so was the woman in freedom writers.) that's a tough road.
dead poets society (our staff debates using this film in class, as some think it's "dated"): teacher was alienated from staff and eventually fired.

plus, in films the teachers appear to only teach one class a day. we could all be as amazing if we had 4 hours of prep time every day and only had to worry about <20 students, not 140.

having said all that, i suppose my favourites, then, would have to be the black comedies, like election! i love glee, too. perhaps because they are more about school culture rather than a specific teacher?

what about ferris bueller's day off? i showed this to year 10s last year and they still enjoyed it, despite the innocence. i did too.

Jan Seiter's picture

He wasn't a teacher, but in "The Bells of St. Mary's", Bing Crosby (O'Malley)tells Ingrid Bergman (Sr. Benedict) about a boy who was a ne'r-do-well (street kid) who grew up to become a very successful businessman in the neighborhood. Sister Benedict then tells him, "If we don't fail sometimes, our successes don't mean anything. You must be strong."

I also like "Blackboard Jungle"...who says that the kids "in my day" had more respect than today's youth? Ha...

Jan Seiter's picture

[quote]C'mon folks!Goodbye Mr. Chips.... (1932?)It still rings true...:)[/quote]
I liked the newer version with O'Toole & Pet Clarke.

Sara Dreyer's picture

A movie from the 70's? staring William Hurt. He teaches at a school for the Deaf. I haven't seen it in forever, but I thought it was great at the time.

jeffmason's picture

Didn't see Blackboard Jungle on anyone's list. Poitier sits on the other side of the desk in this one.

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