Film professors can be a prime example of characters who are more than they appear. Sometimes the Professor will turn out to be a completely different person than fans expected. Some films reveal the stories of the teacher, which their students and viewers would not have predicted. Other films may feature dynamic and exciting characters who turn out to be teachers or mentors.
Knowing more about the teacher’s life outside the classroom and his professional role makes the characters more engaging and complete. Each film teacher’s element of surprise varies. Sometimes their motivation is questionable. Other times they have a tragic past they never mention or an unexpected part-time hobby.
ten Professor McGonagall loved a Muggle in her past (Harry Potter)
Professor Minerva McGonagall is known as the strict and capable transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Along with her teaching, she is also Head of Gryffindor House and Deputy Head of the whole school. She follows the rules and is strict, which makes it surprising when her backstory, shared in the Harry Potter additional materials, reveals that she once loved a muggle farmer.
While he wanted to marry her, McGonagall feared a future where she would be forced to give up her magical ambitions and hide her connection to the wizarding world. A devastated McGonagall turned it down before moving to London for work.
9 Mr. Miyagi’s story affects the way he teaches karate (The Karate Kid)
Mr. Nariyoshi Miyagi of Karate Kid franchise at first appears to be a simple do-it-yourselfer. Afterwards, Mr. Miyagi rescues Daniel from the bullies and trains him. Lighthearted and funny as he is, it’s surprising to know that Mr. Miyagi has a dark past.
Mr. Miyagi was a decorated World War II veteran who was constantly surrounded by death and strife, prompting him to use karate only with his good intention. Before leaving Japan, Mr. Miyagi was in a love triangle with a girl and her best friend, which prompted him to leave. Eventually, he and his pregnant wife were detained in an internment camp where they faced racism. Tragically, his wife died from complications.
8 Indy is also an adventurer who travels the world (Indiana Jones)
The titular character of IndianaJones teaches archeology at Marshall College and is adored by his students for his beauty and charisma. He is also the iconic adventurer and explorer who travels the world to seek out and obtain relics to preserve. Dodgy methods aside, Indy’s life on the pitch is filled with action and adrenaline as he tries to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and foil their plans for the artifact they want to steal and exploit.
At the end of the day, Indy is still the students’ college professor. It remains ambiguous if the students have any idea of his life outside the classroom.
seven Deloris becomes a choir teacher after going into hiding (Sister Act)
Deloris Van Cartier sister act begins as a struggling lounge singer in Reno who accidentally stumbles upon her mobster boyfriend murdering someone. She immediately goes on the run when he sends someone to kill her. To protect her, the police send her to a convent where she is given the name “Sister Mary Clarence” by the Reverend Mother.
Deloris finds herself the choir director of their struggling group. His musical experience revitalizes the choir and makes it a success within the community. At the end of the story, Deloris can channel his experience into the creativity that launches his career.
6 Dewey Finn only becomes a teacher out of dishonesty and desperation (School Of Rock)
Dewey Finn from school of rock is not a real substitute teacher. Fired from his band as a failed professional guitarist, Dewey poses as his roommate and gets a temporary teaching job at Horace Green Prep School.
Dewey’s initial motivation is financial desperation but, after seeing the musical talents of the students, he puts together a band that uses their abilities in hopes of winning the Battle of the Bands. In doing so, Dewey helps students tap into their musical abilities and come to terms with their fears and insecurities. It’s safe to say that the children and their parents were shocked when they realized that Dewey was not a qualified teacher.
5 Louise uses her language skills to communicate with aliens (arrival)
Louise Banks of Arrival is a professor of linguistics recruited by the American army to make contact with the extraterrestrials who have recently landed on Earth. In doing so, she helps prevent a full-scale attack on the aliens and learns of their future relationship with humans.
Their unique language, conveyed through a series of circular patterns and shapes, confers the ability to perceive time in a non-linear way, resulting in a heightened mastery of premonitions. Viewers are then treated to a twist where they learn that Louise’s lost daughter’s supposed flashbacks are actually her visions of what’s to come.
4 Despite her stern nature, Mrs. Myers can relate to Jess’ pain and grief (Bridge to Terabithia)
Through Bridge to Terabithia, Ms. Myers is a pragmatic teacher who rules her class with an iron fist. She commands silence in her class and shows neither humor nor indulgence. However, she shows a rare moment of empathy and compassion when Jess lashes out and punches another student for insensitively commenting on Leslie’s death.
Mrs. Myers orders him out into the hallway, but instead of scolding Jess, she says she knows how he feels after experiencing her own husband’s death. Instead of telling Jess to move on or try to distract herself from her grief, Mrs. Myers encourages her to hold on to Leslie by remembering her.
3 Detective Kimble Takes Kindergarten Class Into His Undercover Job (Kindergarten Cop)
LAPD Detective John Kimble’s kindergarten cop is tasked with finding the wife of a drug dealer who has gone into hiding with her son. To locate her, Kimble becomes the substitute teacher of a kindergarten class after her more capable partner falls ill. While blundering at first, Kimble quickly settles into the job, using his law enforcement skills and resources to ease the transition.
The skeptical school principal even admits that Kimble is a good teacher, and he develops a fondness for a fellow teacher who turns out to be the woman he is looking for. In the end, Kimble retires from the police force to become a full-time kindergarten teacher.
2 Arthur’s teacher is the legendary Merlin himself (the sword in the stone)
Young Disney Wart The sword in the stone is an orphan boy who lives in a castle with his adoptive father Sir Ector. Amazingly, the legendary Merlin arrives to teach Wart about the world through magical means.
Everything about Wart begins to make sense when his real name is given, revealing that he is a young King Arthur who will go on to be one of England’s most legendary and mythical kings. Merlin’s lessons are thus intended to give the young boy the tools he will need to rule his future kingdom as effectively as possible.
1 New Park Family recruits have their own goals (Parasite)
In Parasite, the impoverished Kim family yearns to improve their financial situation in South Korea by infiltrating the upper-class home of the illustrious Park family. One by one, they pass themselves off as qualified tutors, cleaners or drivers to get a job.
Ki-woo Kim uses his friend’s Scholar Rock to start tutoring Park’s young girl. Of course, everything begins to fall apart once the Kims’ schemes are uncovered by others, who are also looking to cash in on the Parks fortune. The schemes of the protagonists end up leading to an explosive disaster.
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