Throughout the history of cinema there have been countless terrible films about teaching, such as Mr. Holland’s Opus, Dead Poet’s Society, and Dangerous Minds (to name but three). But quality films on the teacher’s craft are much harder to find, which isn’t surprising, since quality films on any topic are almost by definition harder to find than cinematic mediocrity.
But to any teachers reading this blog, as well as to anyone who is interested in the subject of schools, I highly recommend two superb films: the 2006 American film Chalk, and the 2008 French film The Class (Entre Les Murs in its original title).
Chalk is a comedy while The Class is a serious drama (a fact you can probably discern even from the posters above), yet both films are simply superb in their degree of thoughtfulness and insight into the craft of teaching. Both are filmed in a faux-documentary style and feature a cast of largely amateur performers and both were inspired by the real-life teaching experiences of the main actors involved (Chris Mass in Chalk and Francois Begaudeau in The Class). I cannot recommend these films highly enough; I suspect a full-day professional development session in which these two films are viewed and discussed would be of tremendous value to any teacher of middle or high school.
If you still need convincing, watch the trailers for the films: