Teachers! What a noble job, it may not pay much which is why if you’re a teacher, you gotta do it cause you’re heart’s in it, not cause of the money. According to Hollywood Reporter, screenwriter Michael Schiffer who brought us LEAN ON ME, the inspirational teacher drama starring the great Morgan Freeman, has sold his next pitch to Alcon Entertainment. Titled SPEED BOYZ, nope, not about a gang of bikers. It’s another inspirational teacher movie about a real-life engineer-turned- math teacher Simon Hauger, who inspired a group of troubled Philadelphia high schoolers, launched an unorthodox curriculum in 1998 to improve their performance in math and science His students went on to win the annual alternative-fuel vehicle competition, where they beat teams from top universities with their electric cars. Can’t wait to see the movie
So I’m taking this time to list my top 10 favorite inspirational teacher movies. I didn’t include Dangerous Minds because frankly, I got distracted by how hot Michelle Pfeiffer looked as a teacher so I got inspired the wrong way.
I didn’t include 187 or Half-Nelson either because those were more gritty and focused on the teachers’ personal problems. There are some titles that didn’t make the list like Mona Lisa Smile or The Emperor’s Club, 2 movies which I didn’t find powerful enough and besides, if I mention all of them, it wouldn’t be a top 10 list now would it?! But if I miss out on any significant title, please do let me know… check out my list after this jump…
10. FINDING FORRESTER
An afro-american teen writing prodigy finds a mentor in a reclusive author. It may not be a classroom setting but Sean Connery’s wise teaching should be mandatory for anyone to learn. Who can ignore Connery’s influential and commanding accent when he speaks anyway.
9. LEAN ON ME
The dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school that he is determined to improve. The story was ok, but this is proof that Morgan Freeman’s superb acting could make up for anything the movie may have lacked along the way.
8. STAND & DELIVER
A dedicated teacher inspires his dropout prone students to learn calculus to build up their self-esteem and do so well that they are accused of cheating. Edward James Olmos’ finest hour, in his Oscar nominated performance. Orale! Math is power holmes! The movie could do without some of the 80s music but watching Olmos’ receding hairline as he delivers his fiery speeches is worth the time.
7. FREEDOM WRITERS
A young teacher inspires her class of at-risk students to learn tolerance, apply themselves, and pursue education beyond high school. I think this Hillary Swank’s movies got overlooked because it was an MTV films production but it was nothing short of excellent in my book.
6. THE GREAT DEBATERS
A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school’s first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. Here’s how you know a teacher has made a positive impact in the lives of his students.. when his students managed to go on their own and win a competition without him present.
5. THE CLASS (ENTRE LES MURS)
Teacher and novelist François Bégaudeau plays a version of himself as he negotiates a year with his racially mixed students from a tough Parisian neighborhood. I give the credit to Begaudeau because his writing gave us interesting methods that a teacher could use to respond to constant weird annoying questions from students.
4. MUSIC OF THE HEART
Story of a schoolteacher’s struggle to teach violin to inner-city Harlem kids. When I heard that this movie was directed by Wes Craven, I thought we were going to see Meryl Streep wearing a mask killing a whole town at night but what we got was a deeply-affecting, highly determined movie that rekindled our love for music
3. THE MIRACLE WORKER
The story of Anne Sullivan’s struggle to teach Helen Keller how to communicate. I didn’t watch this movie until later on in my life but I’d watch anything that the late great Anne Bancroft did in her career. This has got to be the hardest job a teacher could ask for. I mean the student was blind, deaf and mute, I mean holy crap! If that’s not difficult, then I don’t know what is. Do the Hellen Keller and talk with your hips!
2. DEAD POETS SOCIETY
English professor John Keating inspires his students to a love of poetry and to seize the day. O captain my captain. Watching this movie makes me wanna stand on a desk in full confidence. And then I’ll step down to clean up my footprint off the desk. Seize the day, people!
1. SCHOOL OF ROCK
Hell Yeah! A wannabe rock star in need of cash poses as a substitute teacher at a prep school, and tries to turn his class into a rock band. Hands down, this Jack Black classic is my top favorite inspirational teacher movie of all time. There are more than one ways to learn in this life. For those about to rock, we salute you!
What’s your favorite inspirational teacher movie?