9 Signs You Are Watching a Feel-Good Teacher Movie

1. Opening credits begin to the sounds of vaguely ominous but still mainstream-friendly hip hop.  Cut to scenes of abandoned buildings, girls with gel curls making out with guys in basketball jerseys, furtive drug deals taking place in front of chain link fences.  Everyone, without exception, has an empty backpack slung over one shoulder.

2. All student roles are played by actors age 32 and up

Dangerous Minds

3. Classes are exactly three  minutes long: one minute for the doe-eyed new teacher to try, futilely, to calm down the roomful of scary ghetto teens before being silenced by the surly (but brilliant) ringleader; one minute for the smirking ringleader to deliver one perfectly tuned insult which exposes new teacher's greatest insecurities and fears, one minute for the teacher to have her introduction to Macbeth foiled by a group of beat boxers in the back of the classroom,  aaaand bell rings.

4. It is not possible to truly make a point unless you stand on a desk.

Dead Poets Society

5.  Lou Diamond Phillips is wearing a hair net.

Lou Diamond Phillips

6. The students show their approval of the new teacher by accepting her cutely ironic attempts to act black

Fist Bump

7. The requisite choreographed hip-hop-in-classroom scene

8.  An old, boring, and unattractive veteran teacher tries to thwart the young, attractive, beloved teacher: because it is only young, inexperienced teachers who could possibly actually care about kids (this, in fact, is the entire premise Teach For America is based on).

Freedom Writers

9. Wealthy Hollywood actresses get paid millions of dollars to portray the greediness of teachers' unions

Maggie Gyllenhaal




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