Best teacher movies of all time

I have always wanted to design a pre-service teaching unit based around a reflection on a range of ‘teacher movies’.

We all know the kind: teacher finds themselves out of their depth, but then struggles against the establishment and/or personal odds to overcome adversity and transform the futures of a group of wonderful young people we come to know and love.  Oh, and there’s usually some kind of tragedy, you know, to make a point.

Here in no particular order are my top five teacher movies of all time:

  • Dangerous Minds (starring Mchelle Pfeiffer)
  • Dead Poet’s Society (starring Robin Williams)
  • The Breakfast Club (the John Hughes classic)
  • Mr Holland’s Opus (starring Richard Dreyfuss)
  • Coach Carter (starring Samuel L Jackson)

It would be a great unit: 10 weeks, 5 movies, 1 week watch the film and set readings, next week do a critical analysis.  It would draw in sociology, philosophy, productive pedagogy, and some psychology too, especially around theories of motivation.

Hands up who wants to do my course!

Are there other movies you would suggest?

PS: I spy with my little eye…students from QUT checking out my blog!

Hello, and welcome 😀  Please feel free to add comments on any post.  There is also a ‘blogroll’ on the right of the screen where you can find links to other blogs that I have liked to read.

Blogging is a great way to share your ideas with others, but also to process your own experience and support your reflective practice.

  1. #1 by Alison Robertson on September 25, 2010 - 6:27 pm

    I also liked ‘Mona Lisa Smile’ with Julia Roberts and ‘The Great Debaters’ with Denzel Washington

  2. #2 by TroyMartin on September 25, 2010 - 8:50 pm

    Sounds like a little module for the English Studies non-ATAR course! What about The Class, a French film,

  3. #3 by Ryan on September 25, 2010 - 9:30 pm

    Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

  4. #4 by Justine on September 25, 2010 - 10:00 pm

    Freedom writers -there is a book and a movie.
    Also, you could possibly consider The Karate Kid to be a type of teacher-student genre film.

  5. #5 by kmcg2375 on September 26, 2010 - 12:52 pm

    ah – great suggestions!
    Karate Kid – in the same vein, although much more extreme, you could show the ‘Cruel tutelage of Pai Mei’ scenes from Kill Bill 1 and 2. Behaviourist teaching to the max, LOL!

  6. #6 by Deb on September 26, 2010 - 5:24 pm

    Now I’m gonna show my age… “To Sir With Love” and “Stand By Me”
    Sidney Poitier at his very best – so many issues… classroom management exploration, relationship between teachers and their pupils’ home lives etc etc … and then there’s the song!

  7. #7 by Katy on September 26, 2010 - 6:20 pm

    Wow! I actually feel really differently about teacher movies. I used to love them until I became a teacher – it’s hard to analyse them until you’ve been there, but obviously important to analyse idealised visions of teachers.

    I like the classic Goodbye Mr Chips (1939) – longevity in the teaching profession – plus, historically interesting. I also enjoyed The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) – shows how dangerous teachers can be when they have a great deal of charm and attempt to impose their political views on students. I actually consider Billy Elliot to be a teacher-movie to a degree – I love the fact that the dancing teacher has obviously been disappointed in life and yet still tries so hard to make sure that Billy gets a chance. I think that some parts of Freedom Writers are important. The Miracle Worker is terribly interesting psychologically, though I guess it doesn’t have scenes in an actual classroom. I even enjoyed Educating Rita for what it said about the nature of learning. For satire, Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby is a NZ TV series which I find interesting for what it says about political correctness.

    Anyway, probably not helpful. I’m interested to know what you’d cover in a course about teacher movies – there are so many angles to come at it from. I think it would be particularly useful as a first year course – it could really make students reflect on their own reasons for being there and the sort of fantasy vs reality that we all have to face when becoming/being teachers.

  8. #8 by Felix Culper on September 26, 2010 - 11:43 pm

    Summer Heights High, painfully accurate, Mr G is the Drama teachers’ everyman.
    Stand and Deliver – Edward James Olmos, idealised but powerful.

  9. #9 by Kaylene McCormick on October 4, 2010 - 10:19 pm

    Where do I sign up??? The movies are great. Some that I have enjoyed have been the Emperor’s Club -Kevin Kline, To Sir Wtih Love – Sidney Poitier, The Miracle Worker – Anne Bancroft, Renaissance Man – Danny Devito

  10. #10 by Jawed on December 19, 2010 - 6:08 am

    Hi, suprisingly an awesome movie has not been mentioned; it is ‘School of Life’. I advise you to watch this film, it’s great…

  1. September 25 2010 « bibblebabble

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