The Teacher in the Movies

Everyone carries an image of the teacher within them. Just as everyone brings “prior experience” to any relationship, every new teacher starts out on his or her career path toting notions of what a teacher is like and what a teacher does and what teaching in college is all about. Where do these images come from? From the teachers we’ve known and been taught by, certainly, but also from collective cultural ideas of “the teacher.”

This session traces the archetype of the teacher as reflected in and portrayed by movies produced in the last 60+ years – from “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” to “Mr. Holland’s Opus” and more recent films as well. Touching on over a dozen movies, the presentation will explore the public idea of “the teacher” and its private reality as we each carry part of it into our work. The archetype of the teacher is explored along three broad thematic lines – “generativity,” “authority,” and “community.”

The “good news” in all this is that our culture fundamentally values teachers and sees them as a source of hope and renewed lives.

After completing the presentation, you will be able to:

  • Consider the value of and identify assumptions in recognizing an archetype of the teacher;
  • Conclude how the teacher archetype may or may not adapt to the current day; and
  • Describe how the characteristics of the archetype of the teacher are relevant to their own teaching path and practice.

Session Date

  • 2-18-2015

    Wednesday, 12-2pm
    Delphi Center Lab

    Register Now

Presenter Bio

James Rhem, Ph.D., created The National Teaching and Learning Forum (NTLF) in 1990 and has served as its executive editor from the beginning. Previously, he created "The Teaching Professor" and a number of other newsletter publications for higher education. For over ten years he served as faculty in the "Bootcamp for Profs” program. He has long had a passion for teaching and is well acquainted with research. As an independent scholar in the history of photography, he has published four books on important photographers, most notably two books about Ralph Eugene Meatyard who lived and worked in Lexington, Kentucky.

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