You may remember that extraordinary teacher - the one who inspired you to learn beyond the scope of that textbook, or those multiple-choice pop quizzes; the one who decidedly avoided complicated concepts and showed you how to make mistakes before learning; the one who stopped class to catch the World Series before talking about the history of American sporting culture. That teacher.
Here are 5 movies to inspire you in elevating your purpose and calling to educate the learners of tomorrow. Though not all are related to a classroom setting, there's something to take away from each of these movies. Enjoy!
Possibly the greatest classic cult movie for educators, the 1989 movie stars Robin Williams as an English teacher inspiring his students through his teaching of poetry. He encourages his students to make their lives extraordinary, a sentiment he summarises as carpe diem.
Dead Poet's Society brings together the struggles of coming of age, with the joys of individualism, mixed in with unorthodox learning. This is a movie that reminds all educators to seize the day, and help craft a lasting and meaningful experience that their students may carry on long after.
Another essential, The Breakfast Club breaks down the teacher/student barriers, and offers an insight into the socio-academic struggles that we all can relate to when we were youth. When five teenagers spend a Saturday in detention together, they slowly come to discover that they are more than their respective stereotypes.
At the core of The Breakfast Club is the human interaction that takes place between students, and their lack of educators willing to listen and engage them. In the midst of humor, thought-provoking. Fun fact: the title The Breakfast Club comes from an actual nickname at New Trier High School for students who had to attend detention before school started!
Good Will Hunting was released in 1997, but contains a lesson we can learn from even twenty years later. Starring Robin Williams (again!) and Matt Damon, the film follows Will Hunting, an unrecognised genius who assaults a police officer. As part of his deferred prosecution agreement, Will Hunting studies advanced mathematics with a renowned professor.
Good Will Hunting delves beneath the genius of human intelligence, revealing the very real nature of distrust that many students have, but choose not to show, and how educators can play their part in nurturing the wellbeing of students beyond academics. It also offers a good reminder on the perils of stereotyping students.
Precious follows a teenager, hit with the hardest of circumstances, who, through the guidance of her teacher, learns to find purpose and meaning through education, despite all odds. This movie stresses the responsibility and importance that educators represent to students, and the significance of being the only role models that many students have.
5. Coach Carter
Coach Carter depicts educators as role models out of the classroom, and onto the court. When the struggles and realities of life kick in, lessons are taught and learnt most effectively out of the classroom. Actions, repercussions, and redemption make this movie a must-see for all educators.
Coach Carter is based on a true story - in 1999, Richmond High School's basketball coach Ken Carter made headlines by benching his undefeated high school team for poor academic results. While it caused an initial outrage, he had the last laugh: every one of the players he coached graduated.
If you liked this article, you might enjoy our article on 5 Ted Talks Every Educator Must Watch for additional motivation!
Did we miss out your favourite educator movies? Leave a comment and let us know.