Why I Teach: 5 Books and Movies with Inspiring Educators

I’d like to introduce you all to Caitlyn! She’s a middle school teacher in North Texas (an amazing one at that) and a wonderful friend of mine. Check out her picks of books and movies that help her along her teaching journey.  Enjoy!  -Sam


I’m one of those brave individuals that has chosen [been called to] a career as a teacher. I didn’t sign on because I wanted to have my summers free (although it is a beautiful perk) and I certainly didn’t embark on this journey because I thought it’d be easy (because in fact, nothing could be further from the truth). But it is my joy and my privilege to impart some small bit of knowledge on a set of middle school students every year.

I find inspiration in almost everything, even this Starbucks I’m sitting in. I really like the seating arrangements in this space and I’m making notes – ha! The greatest source of inspiration for me comes from books and movies. They are my love language. After a difficult day, I know I can read a chapter or watch a few minutes of a favorite story and it’ll fill my sails for the next day.

These are five movies and books that have been a source of motivation and encouragement at some point in my career.

Dead Poets Society (starring Robin Williams)
O Captain! My Captain! If you’ve ever seen this gem, then you’re probably nodding your head in a very, Ahh…of course kind of way. Mr. Keating is one of the reasons I love poetry and why I find it essential to teach in a free kind of way – no right or wrong, but interpretation and feeling. This movie reminds me that each person has the right to explore their own identity – what brings them joy, inspires them and fulfills them. I teach Walt Whitman’s poem O Captain! My Captain to my 8th graders and I love showing them the clip from this movie with that iconic line. Mr. Keating encourages me to be a source of inspiration to my kiddos, showing them that they can make their lives extraordinary.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” Continue reading

Best Movies about School: Yearbook of Characters

What a blast going though your old yearbook! Or even better: your parents’ yearbook. Do you recognize yourself? Did you find your parents? You may recognize these well-known school characters, but can you name the film that they are from? Enjoy checking out the Half Price Books School Movies “Yearbook” below. And don’t forget! If you are an educator, be sure to renew your Educator Discount card by October 31 to keep saving 10% off your in-store purchases year-round.

Quick! Pair the student, teacher or coach to the movie & see how many you got right below:

Answers: (left to right) The Students: Row 1: American Graffiti, American Pie, Mean Girls, The Breakfast Club. Row 2: Super Bad, Sixteen Candles, Teen Wolf, Juno. Row 3: Saved, Back to School, Clueless, Good Will Hunting. Row 4: Harry Potter (series), Rushmore, Ferris Buellers Day Off, Easy A. Row 5: Billy Madison, Animal House, Pretty In Pink, Dazed and Confused. Row 6: Carrie, Rebel Without a Cause, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The Faculty: Row 1: Dead Poets Society, Half Nelson, Music of the Heart, Bad Teacher. Row 2: School of Rock, The Great Debaters, Lean On Me, Dangerous Minds. The Coaches: We Are Marshall, Friday Night Lights, Hoosiers, Coach Carter.

How many did you guess correctly? Which is your favorite?

Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.