Famous Teachers in the Movies (And the Lessons that Made them Famous)

Movies that inspire, entertain, and teach.

OK, OK, every teacher knows that Hollywood doesn’t exactly get it right when it comes to depictions of teachers. Still, we all like a good teacher movie binge now and again. After all, it can be worth a laugh or some inspiration. Here are the most famous teachers in the movies and the lessons they brought to the screen (and the audience).

 1. The Karate Kid

Mr. Miyagi taught the lesson that basic skills just can’t be ignored and that sometimes kids don’t realize what’s good for them (read: wax on, wax off) until much, much later.  (Wow, do you think Mr. Miyagi does classroom talks?)


2. Stand and Deliver

Jaime Escalante taught his students the lesson that regardless of what other people say and think, they are capable of learning—even when it comes to (gulp!) AP Calculus.


3.  Star Wars

Yoda may not be a real life teacher, but his lessons in patience, courage, and faith have taught us all how to be strong in tough situations.


4. Freedom Writers

Erin Gruwell showed us that no racial divide is too big to build a bridge across. The lessons her students learned caused many of them to become teachers themselves.


5. The Great Debaters

famous teachers in the movies

Melvin B. Tolson taught his students to believe in themselves even when nobody else did, resulting in a group of debaters from Podunk Texas being able to face off with Ivy Leaguers—and win!


6. Dangerous Minds

Louanne Johnson taught English to students at a tough inner-city school and showed them a lesson in love and understanding that they never forgot.


7. Dead Poet’s Society

John Keating taught his students to seize the day and set the student’s dreams and lives in motion with two simple words: Carpe Diem.

Who are your favorite famous teachers in the movies? Also, check out these fictional teachers from books and movies who inspire us with their kindness. 

Posted by WeAreTeachers Staff

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