Jon Bradley - McGill University - Canada

I would like to add “Good Will Hunting” (1998) and “Finding Forrester” (2001) to your list of films portraying male teachers as role models.

Perhaps a tad on the unorthodox side, both of these films deal with adolescents/young men ‘in trouble’ who happen to stumble across older males, also ‘in trouble’, who take on an unofficial mentoring role. Although many of the male characters are somewhat emotionally damaged (akin to our hero in “Dead Poet’s Society”) the mature male protagonists are able, none the less, to provide a grounding that allows the disaffectd youth an opportunity to re-examine their life/career paths and, as a result of this ‘male bonding’, to make previously unimagined life/family changes.

While the endings in both films might be viewed as a tad “Hollywoodish” (they are sort of happy endings, after all), these are two strong films (great acting in some places) dealing with adolescent male angst, the contemporary educational system, and mature male role models.

[MenTeach: Jon Bradley was an elementary school teacher and is now a professor at McGill University in Canada and has written about the importance of male teachers.]

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