Movies Educators Love


If you are looking for a way to close out National Teacher Appreciation Week, how about a movie? We have compiled a list of teacher-approved, educator-friendly and inspiring movies you can watch with the whole family or with your students.

We asked educators on our NEA Today Facebook page to share their favorite school, education and teacher-related movies.

Here are some of the top choices along with some of your comments:

Mr. Holland’s Opus
A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher.


Dangerous Minds
An ex-marine teacher struggles to connect with her students in an inner city schools.

When I get down about what I’m doing and why, I watch that movie and it reminds me what a difference one person (a teacher) can make in a kid’s life… it reminds me that while you can’t “save them all”, the impact I have on some of my students IS life changing. It reminds me that at the end of the day – no matter how frustrating things can sometimes get – my students are what keep me going. Kristen

Convinced me that I COULD be a teacher. Wendy


Stand and Deliver
The story of Jaime Escalante, a high school teacher who successfully inspired his dropout prone students to learn calculus.
When I would get discouraged at work, I would come home and watch this great movie! Gracie


Dead Poets Society
English professor John Keating inspires his students to a love of poetry and to seize the day.

I show clips every year during my poetry unit when, predictably, my students say they can’t write poetry. I love the scene about “analyzing” poetry with the Pritchard scale and the “sweaty-toothed mad man” scene. It never gets old and the kids really get that poetry is more than checking off lists of literary devices. Bridget


To Sir, with Love
Idealistic engineer-trainee and his experiences in teaching a group of rambunctious white high school students from the slums of London’s East End.
Sidney Poitier throws out the textbooks saying these will never help this class without respect for the teacher and respect for each other and respect for self. Dustin



Coach Carter
Controversy surrounds high school basketball coach Ken Carter after he benches his entire team for breaking their academic contract with him.



The Great Debaters
A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, Tolson inspired students to form the school’s first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.



October Sky
The true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner’s son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father’s  wishes.



Teachers
A well meaning but burned-out high school teacher tries to maintain order against the backdrop of a pending lawsuit against his school district when it comes to light they gave a diploma to an illiterate student.



Freedom Writers
A young teacher inspires her class of at-risk students to learn tolerance, apply themselves, and pursue education beyond high school.




Honorable mentions:
The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie
For high school or maybe junior high. Love this movie and have shown it several times to my students who have had behavioral issues. Jeanne

Lean On Me!
Dealing with adverse politics, crazy state tests, and private agendas, plus it is about a real Jersey school! Jess

Osmosis Jones
For 7th grade life science. Live action with animation, funny Bill Murray in the live action part, Chris Rock voicing the lead character, a white blood cell cop inside Murray. Valerie