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Film Recommendations In Celebration of Teachers’ Month

One of The Film Dream's focus and goal is to promote learning. By definition, learning is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught, the latter bringing a special responsibility to the one teaching.


While learning the most essential skills start at home, a good deal of gathering general to specific knowledge is done through our educational systems, our schools, by our teachers.


In 1994, UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) declared October 5 as World Teachers' Day. This was in recognition of the "Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers'' established in 1966, which set out principles concerning the rights and responsibilities of educators. Many countries followed this declaration, officially celebrating their own teachers' day. It wasn't until 2011, when September 05 to October 5 was declared "National Teachers' Month '' in the Philippines.


As a way of celebrating our patient and dedicated educators, listed below are some of what I believe are excellent films honoring teachers, which you should watch or rewatch this month.


1. THE RON CLARK STORY


"The problem isn't the kids. It's not even what they can achieve. The problem is what you expect them to achieve. You are setting the bar here. Why? Set it up here! They can make it." - Ron Clark

Photo Courtesy: IDMB

One of the most memorable films about teachers for me is a television film released in 2006 - The Ron Clark Story (also known as "The Triumph"). I have seen it when I was still a student and I re-watched it as an adult, and it still tugs at my heart today.


The story follows Ron Clark, an enthusiastic teacher who soon leaves his small hometown to go to New York, where he believes is "desperate for good teachers." However, the 5th grade class he takes in isn't the most ideal of students. Yet, he perseveres and from his perspective, we get to know more about the troubled, mischievous kids and how soon Ron Clark influences and touches their lives.


This film received several nominations and awards, including the Christopher Award (given to books, films, or series that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit” in 2007. The movie excellently expressed the importance of one teacher, one human's sincerity and trust towards one younger student's capabilities, and how that can turn around that kid's life.


It is truly a heartfelt, beautiful film that will teach the young and remind the old the value of creative motivation, genuine concern and trust, and how these apply to school and life lessons.








2. MATILDA


"I've often thought about it, but I can't abandon my children. And if I couldn't teach, I'd have nothing at all." - Ms. Jennifer Honey

Photo Courtesy: Amazon.com

This fantasy-comedy film released in 1996 may be almost as old as I am, but its charm and shine is still present until now. Based on an even older book by Roald Dahl, the story is mainly about Matilda Wormwood - a 6 year old girl who turns out to be an intelligent and well-mannered child despite having a family that isn't so. She finds and forges her way into getting into school, as she yearns to learn more beyond the library's books.


In school, she meets her teacher, Ms. Honey, who is as sweet-natured as her name. Devoted and kind, but mistreated, along with every other person in the story, by the principal and her aunt, Ms. Trunchbull. Matilda, and her schoolmates would witness and experience the cruelty of Ms. Trunchbull, but discovering and developing Matilda's telekinetic powers, she may just turn around the fate of everyone.


In this film, especially as a child, I adored Ms. Honey's patience and goodness. She embodies the teacher the children need especially in the presence of her opposite - Ms. Trunchbull. While at the beginning she may seem meek in the presence of the antagonist, she is consistent with being pleasant, and good-hearted towards everyone, most especially the pupils in her class. The kids look up to her and love her, as she loves them.




Meanwhile, we are also presented by an unideal type of who should be a trusted and dependable principal. The film really shows the contrast of the two, and how each affects the children. As this is based on a children's novel, the whimsicality of a little girl using her powers to move objects around balances the wickedness Ms. Trunchbull presents.


One of the things I loved about this film is Ms. Honey's character development. Let's just say that she and Matilda found encouragement and more from each other, leading to a satisfying, happy ending.




SCHOOL OF ROCK


Photo Courtesy: Common Sense Media

Another film I enjoy watching is School of Rock, a comedy released in 2003. It is about Dewey Finn, a guitarist who becomes a "fake" substitute teacher after getting kicked out of a rock band.


Hilarity and misadventures ensue as Dewey devises a plan involving his students in an attempt to compete in a Battle of the Bands competition as revenge toward his former band.


Dewey's character appears to start off irresponsible and selfish, but as the story develops, so does he. In a subtle and slightly surprising manner, the guitarist soon stands as an inspiring mentor and model the students needed. He is passionate about music, expressing this through how he motivates his students to hone their talents. He is inclusive and open too, providing each kid - even those without musical gifts, a purposeful role using their other skills. Between his comedic lines and expressions, he engages his students in personal conversations. And despite his own doubts, ultimately, he rallies them into believing in themselves and not quitting.


All that with the colorful (figuratively and literally diverse) class of students, snarky and funny lines, and a good deal of good rocking songs - we are given a wonderful feel-good film teaching us about music and life.




These are just my personal favorites which I truly believe are worthy of being recommended and watched. Other highly-praised films with the same theme are: Oscar winning films Dead Poets Society (1989), Good Will Hunting (1997), and animated Soul (2020).











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