Friday, August 12, 2011

Fast Five Friday: Teachers in the Movies

It was back to work this week. Meg and I did a couple days of training on Monday and Tuesday, and then it was back to our schools on Wednesday. The kids show up on Monday, and then things get crazy.

Think of the life of a teacher like the Starship Enterprise. Peacefully drifting through space, and then, BAM, warp speed. That's how it feels on the first day of school. Everything is calm and peaceful, and then that first bell rings, BAM, warp speed.

With school right around the corner, this week's Fast Five is an homage to some of my favorite teachers from the movies.

5) Dewey Finn, School of Rock: Dewey assumes his roommates's identity and accepts a substitute teaching position to pay the rent. He has no idea what he's doing, but he uses his love of music to connect with kids. Jack Black is very funny as Dewey, and the movie is surprisingly charming.

4) Mr. Hand, Fast Times at Ridgemont High: The sound of Sean Penn saying, "Mr. Haaaand," is a soundbite that perpetually runs in my head. And for that I say, thank you Sean Penn. 

3) Economics teacher, Ferris Bueller's Day OffI mean, who will ever forget the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930? Anyone.....anyone.....anyone. OK, how about something D-O-O economics? 

2) John Keating, Dead Poets Society: Robin Williams is great as a teacher who uses poetry and literature to inspire a group of young men to follow their hearts. As an English teacher, it's hard not to love Keating.  

1) Jaime Escalante, Stand and Deliver: The #1 spot is reserved for a real teacher, a man who is an inspiration to all teachers. People thought Escalante was crazy for trying to teach calculus in East Los Angeles, but he proved them wrong. Escalante died in 2010, but his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of the students he affected.    

Who are some of your favorite teachers from the movies? What are some of your favorite movies that deal with education in general?


  1. I really love those movies. All of them I could watch again and totally enjoy. Every once in a while when my husband doesn't think I am paying attention to him he does the "Bueller? Bueller? from the scene of the roll call with Ben Stein. (I know we are both dorks)

    I just happen to like teacher movies so I have a lot but a few that could be added to the list are:

    Mr. Holland's Opus
    Lean on Me
    Dangerous Minds
    The Miracle Worker
    The Renaissance Man

  2. Have to admit my favorite is the Econ teacher in Ferris Bueller. I'll be saying "Bueller, anyone... anyone" in my head all day now. :D

    Best of luck for the first week back to school.

  3. Again, lots of good ones mentioned. Have to agree with Cheryl on Mr. Holland's Opus and The Miracle Worker too.

  4. Awesome list of teachers. Dewy Finn was a great teacher. John Keating was a pretty influential teacher some of my friends and I tried to start our own DPS where we would read poetry by candlelight.

  5. Well, since you're a teacher, you kind of are the authority on the topic (no pun intended). LOVED School of Rock and Dewey.

    When I think about teachers in movies, I always think about the teacher in "The Breakfast Club" ... "Don't mess with the bull, you'll get the horns1" (turns and walks away with toilet seat cover hanging out of pants)...

    Great list, as always ...



  6. Thank you for this list of films about teachers. I haven't seen some of them. It's an occasion to order them from the library.

  7. I was thinking of School of Rock yesterday, because I saw a Schnebly street out here in AZ! But I couldn't remember Dewey's name for the life of me.

  8. Easy A is a very clever satire about the high school years.

  9. Jaime Escalante... Awesome, awesome, awesome.

  10. This brings to mind the stereotypical gym teacher or the prissy teacher who is clueless. So glad to see all the positive portrayals.

  11. I agree with your number one choice. Stand and Deliver was an excellent show and it was about calculus! How awesome is that? Good luck in managing the kids of the future. If we are to get out of this crisis that America is in, the hope is with them. I think my generation is just going to phuck things up beyond all repair personally. /sigh... I hate Michelle Bachman...I hate the Tea Party.

  12. the teacher in Orange County, he's hilarious

  13. I think I can predict that my daughter would say Mr. Holland's Opus.
    She is very excited, nervous, and stressed out, but anxiously waiting to get into her own classroom again after two looong and agonizing years of job searching.
    My husband and I are both relieved and over the moon thrilled for her!

  14. "Dead Poets Society" is one of my favorite movies.

    Nice post!


  15. Mrs. Murdock, the shop teacher in Grease. Loved her. Also the football coach, Coach Calhoun! Actually loved all the teachers in that movie!!

  16. Streep. Music of the Heart.

  17. Loved this list. That keating Teach was my favorite though. Will always remember that movie.

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