I recently received an email from Jay Sugerman, a fourth-grade teacher in Massachusetts, asking me if I knew of any places that had video clips of teachers portrayed on television or in the movies.
I thought it was a good question, and so decided to make a quick “The Best…” list.
I’d also be interested in hearing readers share which TV or movie teachers you feel are the best — and worst — role models out there. Please leave a comment if you have an idea. Also, please share if you have other suggestions of where to find similar clip collections.
Here are my choices for The Best Places To Learn About (And View Video Clips Of) Teachers In the Movies (I generally only included sites that also had video clips, though I’ve also included several good commentaries, too):
The Onion has a list of 26 evil, awful, or just plain stupid educators in TV and film.
Here’s a good commentary titled Teacher Leadership, Hollywood Style.
The New York Times ran a piece titled Class Distinctions, a response to the “Freedom Writers” movie.
Rethinking Schools published Teachers in Popular Culture.
Films and School Reform by Larry Cuban and Depictions of Education in Film at Learning First both provide good commentary on “hero” teachers in movies about schools, as does Saviors and Burnouts: Rethinking Teachers in Popular Culture from Rethinking Schools.
See the video at “greatest single commentary on flaws of data-driven school reform today.”
Edutopia has published a great round-up of teacher movie portrayals: Five-Minute Film Festival: Hollywood Teachers.
I Can Think Of So Many People Who Should See “Nice White Lady” Parody
Not So Hot for Teacher is a very interesting New York Times article about the portrayal of teachers in movies and in TV.
Back to School: 10 Great Movie Teachers is a nice video collection from TIME Magazine.
Quote Of The Day: “2014 Resolution: Stop Watching Feel-Good Teacher Movies”
Appreciating pop culture’s greatest teachers is from The Washington Post.
What The Movies Taught Us About Teaching is from NPR.
From Superhero Teacher to Bad Teacher: Hollywood Films Then and Now (Part 1) and Hollywood, HBO, and School Reform (Part 2) are from Larry Cuban.
20 years later, Dangerous Minds is still pretty silly—and ugly is from Slate. After I tweeted out the link, Adeyemi Stembridge shared this hilarious parody clip:
The Moments In Between: What They Never Show in Teacher Movies is by Liz Prather.
Polishing the Apple: What ‘Dangerous Minds’ and Other Movies Get Right and Wrong About Teachers is from Grantland.
NY Times Article On Teachers In Movies & TV
Editorial: What We Can Learn From a Teacher on Netflix is from NBC News.
Why Are There So Few Films and TV Programs That Capture the Daily Work and Life of Teachers In and Out of School? (Part 3) is by Larry Cuban.
Hollywood’s Reductive Narratives About School is from The Atlantic.
There are a million stories to be told, conversations to be had, about education in America. It’s always striking and/or bemusing when those stories are told or conversations are had and women are no where to be seen. https://t.co/XGbBgxXIMl
— Jennifer Binis (@JennBinis) August 15, 2022
So far Jaime Escalante is winning the comments section for best teacher from tv & film. We’ll for sure talk about Stand and Deliver at #NCTMLA22. https://t.co/TzrPr7zHVX
— Dan Meyer (@ddmeyer) September 22, 2022
What Teaching Movies Get Wrong About Teaching | @ddmeyer https://t.co/gO3srAPGys
Spot. On.#edtech #edchat #edreform #edpolicy #edcolo #edutwitter #teachertwitter #k12 #edadmin #suptchat @equityedu #equityedu #educolor
— Scott McLeod (@mcleod) October 20, 2022
How Hollywood Stereotypes About Teachers Stifle Learning is from Ed Surge.
Feedback is always welcome.
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You might also want to explore the 400 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.
Hi Larry ,
Great list as always and I’ll be investigating those I haven’t visited.
This has become my minor hobby/confession! I just posted up a nice doc (don’t know if that qualifies – Children full of life. Amazing teacher.). Anyway, we have a list of over 45 listed videos with trailers on EFL Classroom 2.0’s forum. My fav. – Blackboards. An Iranian film about teachers walking around with blackboards selling their ability to “give literacy”. True and wonderful film.
Thanks very much for the mention Larry – and the other sites too.
I love films, and as I write about education, I try to marry the two as much as possible. I’ve also got lists on the best – and worst – college movies, among others!
Many of your links are broken 🙁
Thanks for letting me know. I try to update the links on each of my “The Best…” lists at least once a year, but I may have missed this one. Check back in a few days and it will be all up to date!