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What can we learn from film's best teachers?

Tagged In:  ITN Mark, school
04 October 2016

There have been a variety of teachers featured in different films. The good, the bad and the downright bizarre have graced the big screen, but can we learn anything from them?

Here are some of our favourite teachers from the films.

Professor Lupin - Harry Potter

One of the best teachers in the whole of the Harry Potter film series is Professor Lupin. Not only are his classes incredibly useful and practical in the wizarding world, but he isn’t afraid to voice his concerns to Harry Potter about his behaviour.

For example, when Lupin finds out that Harry has been using the Marauder’s Map, he doesn’t just shrug it off due to Harry’s celebrity status. Instead, he actually gives Harry a range of reasons as to why using the restricted item is not a good idea.


We can learn a lot from Professor Lupin about dealing with favouritism in school. If you see this going on, be like Lupin, and don’t be afraid to stand up to the ‘favourite’ pupil. However, make sure you support them as well - you will be helping them in the long run.

Miss Honey - Matilda

The character of Miss Honey in Matilda has been celebrated as one of the best teachers of all time since the film came out in 1996.

Miss Honey has an excellent relationship with Matilda, as well as all of the other children in her class. She is the first person in the film to recognise Matilda’s capabilities and encourages her to nurture her talents.

In the film, one of the most extended scenes that Miss Honey features in is where she is dismissed by Matilda’s emotionally abusive and lazy parents when she tries to talk with them about their daughter.


Teachers may sometimes come across difficult parents at some point in their career, and it’s important to try to maintain a reasonable relationship with them. If you are having issues getting through to parents, keep track of any examples you can get to illustrate the points that you are trying to make.

Ms Norberry - Mean Girls

Ms Norberry is the real hero of the teen flick Mean Girls. Not only does she continue to support and mentor protagonist Cady even after she is inexcusably cruel towards her, but she also refuses to bow down to the cliquey elements of high school.

The film centres on Cady Heron’s journey through a typical high school and her descent into the chaos of being popular. Ms Norberry continues to be a calming influence on Cady throughout the film and eventually, manages to get her to leave the ‘mean girls’ behind and embrace her natural mathematical talents.


Try not to let pupils get too distracted from their schoolwork by teenage social cliques and teenage dramas. If you do see a pupil’s grades falling due to these distractions, it’s important to maintain a good relationship with them and be mindful of any cliques that start to appear in your classroom.

John Keating - Dead Poet’s Society

Last, but certainly not least, is John Keating from Dead Poet’s Society. This English teacher encourages his students to ‘seize the day’, to engage with their feelings and to always, always be themselves.

One of the most memorable quotes by Keating is that “poetry, beauty, romance and love, are the things we stay alive for”, encouraging his students that there is much more to life than just making the football team and pleasing their parents.


John Keating teaches us that there is a lot more to being a good teacher than just reading from textbooks. Give your pupils the opportunity to be themselves and embrace their natural talents, and they will remember you as a fantastic teacher and mentor

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