As an education major, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of living by a school bell. Your life’s purpose will become inspiring students to reach their full potential. Teaching is simultaneously one of the hardest yet most rewarding professions out there. It can be hard to imagine the scope of what you’re getting yourself into.

However, movies can transport you into the desk chair of fictional teachers. Movies can show you what a classroom is like and how every decision you make can impact a student’s life forever. Here are five movies to watch to inspire you as an education major.

Movies can show you what a classroom is like and how every decision you make can impact a student’s life forever. Graphic courtesy of Haley Jordan/Connect.

Movies can show you what a classroom is like and how every decision you make can impact a student’s life forever. Graphic courtesy of Haley Jordan/Connect.

1)   Edge of Seventeen (2016)

“Am I really your favorite student?”

“It felt like the right thing to say.”

Nadine is a typical, awkward teenager. She feels confused and alone. She struggles with friends, her family and boys. Despite feeling utterly hopeless and drowning in teen angst, she strikes up a friendship with her teacher, Mr. Bruner.

Edge of Seventeen shows the impact just being there for a student can have. As an educator, your job is not only to teach, but also to listen. Mr. Bruner, played by Woody Haralson, let Nadine eat lunch with him when she had no one else to sit with. He lent her money to get frozen yogurt. He picked her up when she was left abandoned in a difficult situation. Education majors should watch Edge of Seventeen to see how they can impact students both in and outside the classroom.

2)   Dead Poet’s Society (1989)

“Seize the day boys.”

There will be times as a teacher when you’re faced with an insurmountable task. Like getting a room full of teenage boys to care about poetry. This is exactly what Robin William did in Dead Poet’s Society in his role as English teacher John Keating. As an educator, you have to inspire students to care about your subject. You need to teach with such passion that students can’t help but get involved. You never know when your teaching might spark the next great poet, scientist or journalist.

3)   Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)

“A teacher has two jobs; fill young minds with knowledge, yes, but more important, give those minds a compass so that that knowledge doesn’t go to waste.”

Mr. Holland is a composer turned school teacher in Oregon. He spends decades teaching students at his high school and growing close with many of them. Despite this, he still feels like just a cog in the educational machine. He feels like he doesn’t make a difference in life or with his students. He grows more and more resentful that he never finished his composition and instead spend his life teaching.

On his last day at school, hundreds of his former students come to show how much they appreciated him. This movie is a testament to the impact an individual teacher can make in the lives of hundreds. You never know as a teacher how something you say in the classroom might stick with a student for life.

4)   Chalk (2006)

“Oh god… I’m a teacher.”

Chalk is a mockumentary written and directed by two former teachers Mike Akel and Chris Mass. It takes place over the course of a school year and follows three teachers in their classrooms. It emphasizes and exaggerates the struggles of teaching and shows in excruciating detail the pain of being asked the same question eight different times in a classroom. While it’s a mockumentary, it’s the most realistic film on the list in terms of content and filming.

5)   School of Rock (2003)

“Don’t let the man bring you down.”

School of Rock proves that anyone has it in them to be a teacher. Dewey Finn, played by Jack Black, wasn’t even supposed to step foot in a school. He ended up there by impersonating his roommate and accepting a substitute teaching job to earn extra money. Once in the school, however, he uses his passion for music to transform student’s lives.

He teaches them to channel all their insecurities into their music. He reminds them that even though they may feel nerdy, unattractive or stupid, they’re actually incredibly talented.

School of Rock shows what happens when a teacher gives students a chance to show off their skills. As a future educator, you should always look for opportunities to lift your students up and find ways for them to showcase their talents. Every kid needs something different in order to feel confident. As a teacher, it’s your job to find what they need and bring that confidence out.

Enjoyed Movies for Your Major: Education?

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