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How To Be An Inspirational Teacher, The Movie Way
A guide to cinema’s more unusual education techniques

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This week sees the release World’s Greatest Dad, a dark, twisted comedy from Bobcat Goldthwait. It stars Robin Williams as schoolteacher Lance Clayton, which inevitably made us think of Williams’ other great teaching role in Dead Poets’ Society, where he’s far from your average Mr. Jenkins of 4B. So to celebrate unconventional yet inspiring teachers, here are 12 of our favourite classroom-based madcap professors, hell-bent on getting some knowledge into that stubborn noggin of yours…

WORDS ALASTAIR PLUMB
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How To Be An Inspirational Teacher, The Movie Way | Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)

Teacher: Mr. Chipping, a.k.a. Mr Chips (Robert Donat)

Teaching special power: One hell of a ‘tache, Latin puns, the charm of the world’s most wonderful wife.

Teacher’s pet: Peter Colley III (Terry Kilburn), who delivers the immortal line, “Goodbye, Mr. Chips”. The little suck-up.

How it’s done: The great-grandaddy of all uber-tached cane wagglers, Mr.Chips has no doubt inspired thousands of would-be teachers to sport a patch of extra face-fuzz above the upper lip to seem just that little bit more commanding and Chips-like. After all, Chips inspired his students through a dry sense of humour and being, well, really rather kind and generous. Sure, he starts off as something of a dragon, but after meeting and marrying the lovely Kathy, he becomes a veritable treasure – albeit one who, over the years, has to watch generations of students march off to war and be chewed up in the process. Still, the compassion and all-round good-eggness he displays explains the hard-earned and endlessly touching tribute he receives from generations of grateful learners when he finally quits his mortarboard. It’s a classic for a reason, people.
 

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