Edward James Olmos portrays Jaime Escalante, a real-life Los Angeles high school teacher. He refused to accept that his students were not capable and set high expectations for them. This movie has been a favorite of mine since long before I started teaching. For more details about the life and career of Jaime Escalante, click here.
Kevin James and Henry Winkler star in this one! [Henry Winkler--aka "the Fonz". Please tell me that I'm not the only one who's old enough to be a fan of The Fonz from Happy Days.] In this movie, Kevin James's character starts competing in mixed martial arts competitions to raise money for the school where he teaches and prevent programs from being cut.
This one doesn't take place in the classroom, but it DOES have an inspiring teacher (and an inspiring student as well). An English professor played by Laurence Fishburne agrees to coach Akeelah Anderson (portrayed by Keke Palmer). Akeelah competes in the National Spelling Bee.
Meryl Streep stars as a violin teacher named Roberta Guaspari, who created a violin program in East Harlem. This one is also based on a true story. To read an article about Roberta Guaspari, click here.
Two of my favorite quotes from the movie:
- "Who's plucking? Who's plucking my violin?"
- "But if you don't listen to me, you're gonna sound so bad your own parents will get sick when they hear you. They might even throw up. I'm serious."
How do you get motivated for the school year? Do you have any favorite "teacher" movies or books? Leave me a comment!