One thing that everyone seems to have in common is a certain nostalgia for teachers – the best teachers managed to challenge us, terrify us and ultimately to inspire us as we made our way along the path from childhood to adulthood. How better to honor those great teachers than with great movies about teachers! Here are some of our favorites.
This movie is not about a great teacher, exactly. Cameron Diaz stars as Elizabeth, a teacher who hates her job and is, not surprisingly terrible, at it. Determined to carry on in the job to earn money for breast implants, she is gradually charmed by her misfit students, including a quiet boy with a crush on the superficial Chase Rubin Rossi, and inspired by the many dedicated teachers that she shares the teacher’s lounge with.
Mr. Holland’s Opus
This charming movie opens in the 1960s and follows the life and career of Mr. Holland, composer who takes a high-school music job to be able to spend time with his family. A major challenge emerges when he realizes that his son is born deaf, and a result, he has difficulty connecting with his son who he believes will never share his own love of music. Over the course of the following decades, Mr. Holland struggles with family issues and his own disappointment and sense of having been a failure for having given up his musical aspirations. But the many students he inspired in his career as a teacher find a way to show him that they have become his opus.
School of Rock
Dewey Finn, who was recently kicked out of his band, ends up taking a job as a substitute teacher at a fancy private school after impersonating his roommate. With no experience as a teacher, he introduces the young students to the one thing he does know about – rock and roll – after watching them play music together in a band class. Determined that his class room rock and roll band has a chance to win the local Battle of the Bands, Dewey and his class embark on a special class project.
A classic of the teacher genre, this film is one of the best of its kind. This film stars Michelle Pfeiffer as LouAnne Johnson, a recently discharged Marine who accepts a teaching position at a rough, gang-plagued high-school. Despite enormous challenges, LouAnne slowly earns the trust of her students and helps them to see themselves as young people full of potential rather than people to be written off. However, the reality of gang-life, teenage pregnancy and despair strikes close to home, making it very difficult for LouAnne to carry on.
These are just some of the many excellent movies made about the people who dedicate their lives to teaching young people and who often go above and beyond to help them discover their inner potential.