Published 27th December 2021

watching movies

When was the last time you watched a movie that truly inspired you? A film that made you relate or want to become that character to inspire others? Can’t remember? You’re in luck! We have compiled a shortlist of movies that need to be on your watch list asap. These films consist of teachers going above and beyond for their students and learning about themselves along the way. Here are movies every teacher needs to see!

Read more: 6 Underrated Movies Every Teacher Should Watch

Dead Poets Society (1989)

Winner of an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, Dead Poets Society stars Academy Award winner Robin Williams in an extraordinary story of how one teacher can change lives. Welton Academy for boys is a prestigious school that breeds the future leaders of tomorrow. Attending such an institution holds a lot of pressure on these young men. Every teacher in this school applies the highest possible standards and conformity, except one – Mr John Keating. 

People at Welton may say his teaching style is unorthodox, but that does not stop him from doing what he loves. Roommates Todd Anderson and Neil Perry are sent to Welton Academy by their strict parents and cannot seem to catch a break.  In Mr Keating’s class, they learn many lessons such as you must constantly look at things differently, words and ideas can change the world, and more iconically, “Carpe Diem” – seize the day. Anderson, Perry, and some of their friends recreate the “Dead Poets Society” after being inspired by Mr Keating. Through love and loss, these boys are about to learn a lesson they will never forget.

Watch the trailer: Dead Poets Society

poem movies

 Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)

Golden Globe nominee for best screenplay and the best leading actor, Mr Holland’s Opus stars Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss in an outstanding performance of the fulfilment of a music teacher. Glen Holland only ever had two lifelong plans, to raise a family and write symphonies, maybe not in that order. Before he can fulfil his dreams of becoming a great composer, he needs to face the music and start working as a music teacher to gain funds. Holland has his mind made up that these children are unteachable. The only way to get through to these kids is to teach them what he knows. From Beethoven to rock and roll, these kids are finally feeling the beat. Through challenges and accomplishments, Holland is beginning to learn these students have a lot to teach him. Out of all the lives, he changed, the most that changed was his own. 

Watch the trailer: Mr. Holland Opus

music movies

The Ron Clark Story (2006)

Based on real-life educator Ron Clark, this movie stars Golden Globe nominee and Friends star Matthew Perry as Ron Clark. Inside New York City’s worst classrooms, Clark is determined to make a difference. Specializing in raising test scores, Clark promises he can improve their test scores by Christmas break. Everyone said they could not be taught or controlled, and it was a failure from the start. Clark is about to learn how helpless these children truly are. It is not that they are incapable, but they have to grow up so fast that getting an education is one more thing they need to do. How can he make their lives better when everyone (even the ones they love) think they are worthless? Follow the story of setting the bar higher and having the passion to make a difference in someone else’s life. 

Watch the trailer: The Ron Clark Story

Read more: 5 MOVIES THAT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO TRAVEL

Freedom Writers (2007)

Based on a remarkable true story, one teacher is determined to make a difference for the students in Long Beach, California. The film stars Academy Award Hilary Swank, Golden Globe nominee Patrick Dempsey, and Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton. Erin Gruwell (Swank) begins her first teaching job at Woodrow Wilson High School. The recent integration of the school has almost everyone on edge. Nothing could have prepared Gruwell for what her classroom would bring. Tension and hatred exist both in and out of the classroom, as the majority of the students are gang-affiliated. 

The only thing they have in common is their dislike of Gruwell. To connect with her students on a personal level, Gruwell discusses a recent drive-by shooting. This hits hard for many students as many have lost people due to gang-related violence. This discussion allows her to know what she is fully up against and how she can help. She sets an assignment that involves the students writing in a daily journal. The journals are not graded and will be unread (unless said otherwise by the student), and truly allows the students to open up about their lives. Trying to teach at a low budget school is no joke, as Gruwell uses all the resources she can to give these students the best education. Will it be enough?  

Watch the trailer: Freedom Writers

English movies

Finding Forrester (2000)

In the forgotten corner of the Bronx, something hidden is about to be discovered. Oscar-winner Sean Connery and Rob Brown star in the wonderful story of an unlikely friendship between a basketball prodigy and a hermit author. William Forrester (Connery) was a great 20th-century author that Jamal Wallace (Brown) is learning about at his private school. Forrester only wrote one book and has never been heard from since. Many believed Forrester died, but Jamal is about to uncover the truth after sneaking into an abandoned apartment. Their mentorship begins after Forrester agrees to review Jamal’s writings if no one knows his true identity. At Jamal’s prep school, his professor does not believe he wrote his pieces because he is a basketball player. Follow the journey of how Forrester and Jamal find the courage to be seen. 

Watch the trailer: Finding Forrester

writing movies

Summer School (1987)

Golden Globe nominee and NCIS star Mark Harmon is going to teach you summer school is no joke. Freddy Schoop loves cutting class, hates homework, and lives for summer vacation. The thing is, Freddy Schoop is not a student, he is the gym teacher at Ocean Front High and is about to do the one thing he hates most – teach summer school. The students he will teach are irresponsible, not too bright, and unmotivated. Fortunately, Freddy is not your typical English teacher and has a unique approach. Through summer school, Freddy begins to connect with his students and learn just how intelligent they are, if they put their minds to it. 

Watch the trailer: Summer School

Read more: 5 WAYS TO USE MOVIES IN THE EFL CLASSROOM

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