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5 memorable educators from the movies

Posted at 11:49 AM, Jun 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-24 12:22:14-04

Educators teach the nation’s youth, nurture creativity and help foster a positive social setting.

They also make for some fantastic movie characters.

Movies reflect that some educators are far better than others. Some inspire, some make us laugh and some make inexplicable decisions that are destined to go wrong.

Here are five of the most famous.  educators from the silver screen:

John Keating, “Dead Poet’s Society” (1989)

Teachers typically write their name on the board or use some other boring introduction when they first meet the class.

John Keating, played by Robin Williams, chose a different tact in “Dead Poet’s Society.”

“O Captain, my Captain. Who knows where that comes from? Anybody? Not a clue? It's from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you're slightly more daring, O Captain my Captain.”

Keating arguably is the most inspiring teacher ever put on screen. Here’s another great moment many remember from the film.


Ed Rooney, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986)

Students should not skip school. Principal Ed Rooney, played by Jeffrey Jones, took that concept to the extreme in this iconic movie about a likeable truant.

Rooney works hard to keep Ferris Bueller from committing truancy, but finds that his mission leads to several uncomfortable situations, as his quest consumes his day.

“Uh, yeah, sure, no I'd be happy to, yeah you, uh, you you just produce a corpse, and uh, I'll release Sloane. I wanna see this dead grandmother first hand.” — Ed Rooney responding to a request for a student to take a day off.

The efforts do not go his way.

Ms. Norbury, “Mean Girls” (2004)

Teachers often must deal with social situations involving their students. Ms. Norbury, played by Tina Fey, is one example of a teacher who has to educate in a way that does not involve numbers or grammar.

Here’s one such example:

Principal Joe Clark, “Lean on Me” (1989)

Teachers today often worry about students passing standardized tests. But that issue is nothing new.

Principal Joe Clark, played by Morgan Freeman, fights to save a New Jersey school from being put into receivership, but to do so, he must change the school’s mentality.

Here is one of many great quotes from the movie.

“This is an institution of learning, ladies and gentlemen. If you can't control it, how can you teach? Discipline is not the enemy of enthusiasm!” 

The movie also features one of the all-time great pick-me-up songs.


Jim McAllister, “Election” (1999)

Teachers sometimes come across students that lead said teachers to look forward to the next school year.

For Jim McAllister, played by Matthew Broderick, one such student drove him insane. Here is how McAllister describes the apple-polishing Tracy Flick in one scene.

“Tracy Flick. Tracy Flick. I'd seen a lot of ambitious students come and go over the years, but Tracy Flick, she was a special case.” 

The feelings led to this moment where McAllister rigs the school election.


Though few teachers find themselves in the position of rigging a school election to attempt to get back at a student, hopefully the teachers in your life will keep their cool.