Oh Captain, My Captain! Hollywood has an interesting way of personifying challenges and struggles we face. It’s no surprise that there are countless movies made for teachers. Teaching can be a stressful, lonely, and intimidating profession at times. You may find yourself wondering why you chose this career.
Albeit the down times, there are elements of a teacher’s world that you wouldn’t give up. Much of this is portrayed in Hollywood movies. Here are some movies that draw inspiration from teaching in elementary, high school and university – the perfect pick-me-up for all teachers.
1. Dead Poet’s Society
The late Robin Williams stars in this classic story of a professor who challenges his students to go against the status quo. This movie embodies the term Carpe Diem and lessons in making the most of our opportunities – whether as a teacher or student.
Teachers learn the subtle nuances of good communication with students and treat them as the change society needs. One practical learning point from the movie is to make it a point to come to class early on the first class of the day simply to watch student behaviours and interact with them in a casual way.
It is this interaction that goes a long way for students who lack vital attention from home. It enables them to open up to you and talk about their feelings and concerns.
2. Pay It Forward
If you’ve ever heard the term “Pay It Forward” you need to watch this movie. A star-studded cast sees the likes of Haley Joel Osment, Kevin Spacey, Jon Bon Jovi, and Helen Hunt. The movie highlights how a teacher inspired his student to create kindness – a concept that will carry on from one person to another.
Based on a true story, Pay It Forward is a touching movie about helping others, one small action at a time – a lesson we can all use. Teachers could use the movie as an example to implement the concept of Pay-it-forward by encouraging their students to do one act of kindness to another individual (whether at school or outside).
Encourage students to think of a small act that could go a long way. As educators and role models, we could practice the concept of Pay-it-forward too! Use examples in your own life to enlighten students on the change they can be.
3. School Of Rock
Enter the genre of school comedy. One of the fan-favourite actors stars in School of Rock – Jack Black. Known for his eccentric acting, Jack Black plays a school teacher who revives the music class with Rock & Roll. Amid Black’s epic performance, the movie brings lessons that all teachers can make school fun and exciting. The movie portrays the individual characters coming together to overcome challenges of performing in front of large audiences and is overall a brilliant story for teachers who want to inspire their students.
The takeaway from this movie is that a teacher has the power to bring together students from different backgrounds with varying talents. Set time aside to let students showcase their talents - music, art, hobbies - that make them unique individuals.
4. Facing The Giants
Facing The Giants is an amazing story of an American football coach who revives a team of losers. With each player having his own life challenge, Facing The Giants confronts the hard lessons of life for both the teacher and students. Valuable lessons of high school are brought out and we see the protagonist being challenged not only to motivate his students but to help them reach their full potential.
Teachers (particularly those who specialise in team-oriented classes, such as sports) can learn unique ways to overcome challenges such as tardiness, racism, and teenage rebellion with good values such as integrity and equality.
Much like in the movie, teachers can implement group activities that foster cohesion, teamwork, responsibility, and accountability in a classroom environment. Think outside the box and get students in on the planning and execution of each activity to create accountability and a kindred spirit.
5. American History X
American History X may not be everyone’s cup of tea (with its strong violence, vulgarities, and sex) but the movie does highlight some strong sentiments that teachers these days may have to deal with – Racism. The movie follows Derek Vinyard, a member of the Skinheads gang played by Edward Norton who is incarcerated due to manslaughter. His younger brother (Danny) tries to emulate his example but is stopped by his teacher. The teacher who once taught his older brother, sets Danny on an assignment to stay in school.
Racism is a prevailing problem that occasionally rears its ugly head in schools. Teachers can take a lesson or two from the movie in giving assignments that help students think of the consequences of their actions in relation to people of other ethnicities.
Some good books are also mentioned in the movie and are perfectly applicable to be read in our schools. These books shed light on how minorities face racism and the struggle to educate and overcome this deadly phenomenon.
There are a myriad of school-themed movies in Hollywood, but none are as poignant, visual and inspiring as these five above. Set some leisure time to watch these and you’ll find they are worth your while both for classroom lessons and as personal entertainment.
Make your students' future college life a wholesome journey! With The Risers’ community, they’ll constantly learn new skills, be sparked by bright ideas and be geared to take actions that will lead them to become an all-rounded individual.
What is your fondest memory of secondary school? Was it studying for exams? Here are some ideas for post SPM activities that teachers can organise for students.DISCOVER MORE
As students spend 6 to 7 hours of their time daily in their classrooms, it is essential for educators to create a conducive environment that promotes learning.DISCOVER MORE
It’s crucial that every student has a coping mechanism and learn ways on how to manage stress well during the examination period. Here are some tips for you!DISCOVER MORE