7 Great Teacher-Inspired Movies & Shows

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There have been numerous movies, TV shows, and comedy skits about the profession of teaching. They depict the challenges, rewards, and even some outrageous no-no’s for those seeking a substitute teacher role.  Many of these fictional teachers have solidified their presence in Hollywood as beloved characters for students, teachers, and moviegoers alike.  Check out this list of some great teacher-inspired movies and comedy shows that you can watch this week! 

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1. Dead Poet’s Society (1989) 

The unorthodox teaching methods of a new English teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams), forever changes the lives of students at a conservative all-boys prep school. This classic, coming of age tale was a winner of the Academy Award for best original screenplay in 1989. A must-watch for any English teacher, Dead Poet’s Society is a reminder of “carpe diem” (seize the day) — a reminder that each day is another opportunity to get closer to our dreams. 

2. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Winner of two Academy Awards, Good Will Hunting follows Will Hunting (Matt Damon), a 20 year old janitor at MIT who is actually a genius in hiding. Will is wandering through life aimlessly until a MIT math professor discovers his incredible talent and intelligence. Through the help of his professor and therapist, Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), Hunting is able to break away from his demons and begin establishing a future for himself. The late Robin Williams was awarded the 1998 Academy Award for his awe-inspiring portrayal of Sean Maguire.  

3. Substitute Teacher | Key & Peele (2012)

Comedy Central’s substitute teacher skit from Key and Peele is a hilarious and poignant satire about race in education. Packaged in a laugh-out-loud skit by Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Kay, this series actually shows what a substitute teacher should not do in the classroom. Self-proclaimed “inner-city substitute teacher” Mr. Garvey, portrayed by Keegan-Michael Kay, has been watched over  173 million times on Youtube. Reportedly, there are plans to turn it into a full-length film! Mr. Garvey’s roll call method is the very opposite of what great substitute teachers do in real life, but this spoof will surely be treasured by those looking for a good satirical laugh. 

4. School of Rock (2003)

This popular comedy follows the struggling guitarist, Dewey Finn (Jack Black), as he impersonates a substitute teacher. Soon, Finn sets out to transform his class of fifth graders into rock and roll superstars. In this enduring comedy with a big heart, we get a glimpse of how substitute teachers can have the power to encourage students to follow their passions. 

5. Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)

Mr. Holland’s Opus follows a composer, Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss), as he pursues teaching temporarily at Oregon High. Soon, Holland is challenged with frequent budget cuts and deep ideological differences with the school’s principal. Despite these challenges, Holland insists on the importance of music in education, and dedicates more time to improving the qualify of instruction. As teaching becomes Holland’s greatest passion, he learns that “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” 

6. Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

There are many great mentors and professors in the wizardry world of Harry Potter, but one is arguably more memorable than rest. Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban spotlights how the private teachings of the newest Hogwarts Defense of the Arts Professor, Remus Lupin, makes a lasting impact on our favorite wizard, Harry. Lupin’s mentorship helps Harry to set out on a path to defend himself and his friends against the Dark Wizard, Lord Voldemort, in the future films. 

7. Kindergarten Cop (1990) 

In this light-hearted action comedy, a cop posing as a kindergarten teacher finds out that keeping his kindergarten class under control may be harder than apprehending a major drug lord! Ex-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger might be best known for his role as a metal war machine in the Terminator series, but when he gets mixed up with the kindergarteners and their ways of pointing out the obvious, we surprisingly get a film that puts a smile on our faces.

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