4 Baddest Teachers on the Big Screen

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Despite the fact that children are required to go to school for a full thirteen years before graduating at either the age of 17 or 18, too many people grow up to not remember any teachers that had a real impact on their lives later on. While many teachers still work wonders and do leave an impact on many students, it is only unfortunate that the current education system does not have some of the teachers that the big silver screen has introduced over the last few decades. These are four of the baddest teachers to ever grace the big screen.

4. Jaime Escalante, Stand and Deliver

Depicting a real life teacher, Edward James Olmos plays Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver in which he worked more personally with students who were acting out in class. Additionally, he established tough love and punishment, such as forcing the students to sit in front of the class, while also supporting them outside of class, such as stopping a fight by Angel. Escalante played the role that most kids who act out need in their life: a tough role model looking out for them with full support.

3. Mr. Kesuke Miyagi, The Karate Kid

Though not a teacher in the traditional sense of the word, Mr. Miyagi is best known for training new townie Daniel in the art of karate so that he can defend himself from the seemingly endless steam of bullies picking fights with him. Through training, Daniel learns there is more to karate than violence and eventually proves himself as a master of discipline. As an added fact, according to the blu-ray release of the Karate Kid, the character of Mr. Miyagi was named after the founder of Goji Ryu Karate-Do, Chōjun Miyagi.

2. Mark Thackeray, To Sir, With Love

Though trained in engineering, Mark Thackeray lands a job teaching the seniors at Quay Secondary School in East London. As it was 1967 in a predominately white school, there were rules regarding race separation, leading co-workers to encourage Thackeray to resign. Naturally, he refuses, pressing on and teaching his troubled students to put their efforts into classwork and teaching them life lessons: “If you apologize because you are afraid, then you’re a child, not a man.”

1. Principal Joe Clark, Lean on Me

An extraordinary situation calls for an extraordinary person. Based on the real person of the same name, Lean on Me depicts the life and times of Joe Clark as he is cast in Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey. Other teachers resented him, parents hated him and even his own boss didn’t think he was up to the job, but Joe Clark didn’t listen to that; he gave tough love to his students, telling them not to blame their backgrounds or the establishment but to blame themselves for their poor performance — and to lean on him.

Dan Fields is a school administrator and guest author at Top Masters in Education, where he has contributed guides to top-rated masters in education degree programs online.