Each year on October 5th, the world celebrates teachers. We here at MoPOP thought it was the perfect occasion to share some of our favorite movies that depict teachers as powerful, inspiring, and instrumental in changing the lives of students; and some that are just plane entertaining.
This list includes great teachers, somewhat reluctant teachers, and teachers who are bad asses. These films contain lessons about how to be a great teacher and how to be a bad one, and reminder us that we should appreciate the enormous contributions teachers make to our lives. None of us would know anything without them!
- Fame (1980) — Problematic in the way many films from 1980 are, but you can’t beat lunchtime at Fame’s performing arts high school or the way these teachers push their students to the brink of greatness. “Where’s the sweat, Lisa????”
- Mean Girls (2004) — Life in a cutthroat high school is made bearable when your math teacher, Tina Fey, pushes you to be a better student AND a better person.Heed these life lessons, Lindsay Lohan! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9H12xTl_98
- Science Fair (2018) — Incredible teachers from all over the world inspire students to create incredible experiments and risk it all to win a bunch of ribbons and a ton of money. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7153434/videoplayer/vi3458448153?ref_=tt_ov_vi
- Akeelah and the Bee (2006) — Laurence Fishburne teaches a young girl from LA how to spell — a journey to greatness that starts with P-R-E-S-T-I-D-I-G-I-T-A-T-I-O-N! https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0437800/videoplayer/vi1706361113?ref_=tt_pv_vi_aiv_1
- Harry Potter (2001-2011) — So many great teachers at Hogwarts: McGonagall, Dumbledore, Lestrange, Sprout, and of course Professor Severus Snape. Come check out the costumes from the series in our Fantasy gallery
- Stand and Deliver (1988) — Edward James Olmos teaches calculus with his fingers and changes the lives of his students in this earnest teacher classic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU4-wIieuWU
- Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) — Watch English teacher Paul Rudd giving out books and advice about love, and enjoy a great soundtrack in this romantic coming-of-age story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilawgDclMpI
- School of Rock (2003) — Jack Black uses the power of rock to transform a class at a snooty private school. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMvpJDbWX_c If you’re a teacher and want to turn your class into a rock band, check out these amazing guitars in our Guitar Gallery.
- October Sky (1999) — Teacher Laura Dern helps a bunch of budding West Virginia science students believe they can build rockets in the 1950s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DY61X243BoU
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) — Who could resist Harrison Ford as the sexiest, most boring professor you’ve ever had? “Don’t forget Michaelson, chapters four and five!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmkJ0lrCpLQ And don’t miss the hat, staff, and jacket from the movie in our Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
So, you’ve got your homework for October 5th. Watch these movies and make sure you give some love to the teacher(s) in your life. And if you’re a teacher yourself, why not bring your class to MoPOP? We can’t guarantee they’ll win spelling bees or form a sick band, but they will have the time of their lives and learn something. More about our education programs can be found at mopop.org/education.