8 Reel-Life Teachers We Wish We Had In Real Life

Pooja Maheshwary , 05 Sep 2019

Teacher’s Day always brings back nostalgic memories of school and classmates…but most importantly, it reminds me of my favourite teachers. From the English teacher who motivated me to take up Journalism, to the History teacher who made a conventionally boring subject very interesting and influenced me to travel, I am grateful to them all.

Just like the ones in my life, there have been many teachers in films that have inspired me too. From Dewey Finn in School Of Rock to Ram Shankar Nikumbh in Taare Zameen Par, they’ve left an everlasting impact on me.

So, this Teacher’s Day, we compiled a list of the most iconic fictional teachers, who have redefined the student-teacher relationship. Read on see the teachers who’ve motivated us!

1. Mark Thackeray, To Sir, With Love

Engineer-turned-teacher Mr. Thackeray, portrayed by Sidney Poitier, starts teaching in a London school, where the students resort to disruptive behaviour and pranks. However, he goes on to earn their respect and admiration with his unique teaching methods.

2. John Keating, Dead Poet’s Society

‘Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.’ Who can help but be inspired by these words? Robin William‘s portrayal of English teacher John Keating makes this one of the best movies ever! As an English teacher at an all-male, elite prep-school, he teaches them poetry, and lessons of love, life, and self-expression. My favourite part of the movie? When the boys stand on their desks and call out to him, ‘O Captain, my captain.’

3. Erin Gruwell, Freedom Writers

Based on the book The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell, it is a true story of the author. The teacher faces a lot of difficulty with her mixed class of Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, and one white guy. She slowly gains their trust and gives them journals to record their lives. They begin to share their lives with her, which leads to a very powerful experience for them.

4. Mr. Miyagi, Karate Kid

The Karate Kid was my favourite movie as a kid. Partly because I learned Karate too, and partly because I love stories where the underdog wins. Pat Morita‘s Mr. Miyagi, is not a conventional teacher. He has no classroom, he teaches at his home. Through his seemingly unconventional methods, he mentors Daniel LaRusso and helps him stand up to his bullies.

5. Dewey Finn, School Of Rock

Rock band singer and guitarist Dewey Finn, portrayed by Jack Black joins a school as an accidental substitute teacher. Discovering that his students are musically talented, he gets them together as a band, without the knowledge of the school and staff. What results is absolutely insane hilarity!

6. Professor Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter series

22 years ago, J.K. Rowling introduced the world of muggles to the world of wizardry, and the magic continues to date. Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster at Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was not only one of the greatest wizards of all time but was also the best teacher to have lived in books and movies. A mentor, a protector, a guide…he helped Harry and others be their best selves!

7. Ram Shankar Nikumbh, Taare Zameen Par

When I first saw Taare Zameen Par, I remember there wasn’t a single dry eye in the cinema hall. Thanks to the soulful performances by both Aamir Khan and Darsheel Safary! Apart from bringing to light the topic of dyslexia, and questioning the education system in India, the movie gave us one of the most unforgettable fictional teachers of all time—Ram Shankar Nikumbh. Using remedial teaching techniques, he helps his dyslexic student Ishaan to understand language and maths, and discover his true potential.

8. Naina Mathur, Hichki

In this film, Rani Mukherjee portrays the character of a teacher who is dealing with Tourette’s Syndrome. While she lands her dream role in an elite school, she is assigned to teach a group of troublesome and rebellious kids. An optimist at heart, however, she motivates and inspires them, she also helps them realise their true potential.

Who are the reel-life teachers that have inspired you? Please share it with us in the comments below!

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