No one likes to hear it, but it does happen. Emergencies occur and even the most prepared high school teacher may have to suddenly miss a day of work.
While having a substitute teacher packet ready to go is ideal, sometimes a teacher has to be out for a few days, or worse, three days when a flu strikes fast and hard! Sometimes having the substitute teacher show a movie is the best way to preserve next week’s lesson plans. In an emergency, there isn’t a guarantee that the educator subbing will be prepared to fully execute your lessons as planned. These are the times when a movie is the way to go.
The following list describes some of the best movies to keep on hand in case there isn’t a viable substitute teacher available to continue the lessons planned.
Remember, these aren’t passive movie watching periods for students; they should be expected to take notes and write daily journal responses to the themes and ideas in the movies, ensuring they are still thinking critically and working on their writing.
These films are recommended for high school students.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
A film about a straight-laced, by the books prep-school where an English class is inspired by an understated, yet passionate new teacher who shows students how poetry is more than just something to study, it’s about life itself.
This film is wonderful for inspiring your own students to become excited about poetry.
Stand and Deliver (1988)
Based on a true story, an inspired math teacher is able to bring hope and passion to his apathetic inner city students and lead them to become the top-scorers in the state. Their improvement is so incredible, the school board accuses the students of cheating.
A reminder to students that no matter where they come from, they have the potential for greatness.
Akeelah and The Bee (2006)
An 11 year old girl in South Los Angeles discovers her impressive talent for spelling and sets her sights on competing in the National Spelling Bee against all odds, and even misgivings from her mother.
An inspiring tale of hope and perseverance that all students can learn from.
October Sky (1999)
In a 1950’s mining town, an outcast student finds inspiration from a teacher that helps him discover his passion for rockets and helps guide him to the life he deserves.
More inspiration about seeking out your passions and following your dreams with the help of great teachers.
Lean on Me (1989)
A radical principal heightens the discipline of his wayward high school, and even though his extreme tactics upset teachers and students, he eventually is able to turn around the education failings of his students and help them find success.
A film that reminds students that teachers and principals ultimately have their best interests at heart.
School of Rock (2003)
The funny pick of the bunch, a failed rockstar finds his true calling of being a music teacher and helping his young students find the power of rock.
A film that celebrates an education in the arts.
Inside Out (2015)
The modern animated movie for all ages that explores the changes growing children experience emotionally, taking a poetic look at how it’s important to understand the purpose of all emotions.
An animated film to help students feel better about all the emotions they are going through as they continue on the path to becoming young adults.