Inspirational Teachers in Hollywood Movies

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward

Both history and current times are witness to the fact that there are teachers who can transform their students’ lives. These teachers are a storehouse of inspiration.Hollywood has given us its share of inspirational teachers – ones who make their students laugh and cry, ones who encourage them, who push them to attain the most difficult goals and those who shun societal rules and notions to make them seen and heard. On Teacher’s Day, here is our pick of some of the most inspirational teachers from Hollywood. 

John Keating, Dead Poets Society (1989)
 
 
This iconic movie has the entire inspirational package. There is little in the film one can find fault with. From creditable acting by the entire cast, to a great script to an even greater climax, Dead Poets Society is replete with amazing moments. It tugs at your emotions and makes you laugh as much as it makes you cry. Robin Williams playedJohn Keating, a high school teacher who bent rules, encouraged his students to introspect and strengthened their beliefs in their abilities. He drove them to get rid of their laziness and gentrify the language that they use. “Use beautiful words – ditch very bad and use morose”. His lines especially “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary" had a lasting impression on his students and the movie’s audience.
 
Erin Gruwell, Freedom Writers (2007)
 
 
Hillary Swank delivered a stellar performance as Erin Gruwell, the teacher who brought together a group of troubled students who were racially divided and battling inner turmoil. Based on the real life of Erin GruwellSwank’s character leaves no stone unturned to make the most of even the most hopeless situations. She wins her students’ trust and tries to bring them together despite their differences and engenders in them a zeal for knowledge. The character personified determination, courage and undoubtedly inspiration. 
 
Melvin B. Tolson, The Great Debaters (2007)
 
 
Competing against talented teams in a debate competition is a mammoth task. When the social backdrop is that of the 1930s America with Jim Crow laws and lynch mobs all ubiquitous, a black team facing off the more preferred white teams is a completely different level of difficult. Denzel Washington shone as the exemplary Melvin B. Tolson, a debate coach from Wiley College, determined to make his all black team achieve parity with the whites. He led his team to victory in the country’s first interracial debatedespite hindrances. Drawn from real life events, this teacher showed how perseverance and courage can transform your life. 
 
Roberta, Guaspari, Music of The Heart (1999)
 
 
Meryl Streep played the iconic Roberta Guaspari, violinist and music educator who went to great lengths to co-found the Opus 118 Harlem School of Music. Deserted by her husband and out of a job, Roberta took up the job of a substitute violin teacher in East Harlem. This experience of teaching underprivileged talented youngsters transforms her as a person and she fights against all odds and develops a program for her students.
 
Herman Boone, Remember The Titans (2000)
 
 
Washington portrayed the role of a fierce and determined high school football coachHerman Boone who brings together his racially diverse team, The Titans at a time when the blacks and whites could not even eat in the same restaurant. As Remember the Titans progressed, so did Boone’s fortitude as he led his team to victory, showing us what willpower is all about.  
 
– By Neha Mohanty

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