9 things on telly that could teach you more than Inset

While Inset days can, of course, be valuable, these films and TV programmes are just as valid forms of training, according to Shannen Doherty

best teacher film

I am a firm believer in reading research, attending conferences and finding your own CPD.

However, it’s not always feasible to spend hours of your ‘free’ time on this.

Something most people do spend time on though, is TV.

TV-based inset 

Whether it’s catching up with David Attenborough or the latest ITV drama, the majority of us find time to sit in front of the box.

I have found that a lot of learning can be done this way so here are my top ten TV shows and films for teachers.

1. Dead Poets Society

Obviously, right? You cannot deny that this is a classic. The "O Captain, my captain" moment gets me every time. As well as this, it reminds us how important those relationships are. 

2. No More Boys and Girls

The BBC series shows you how gender has no place in our classrooms. If you are in a school that still focuses heavily on gender, I suggest sending your SLT the link! 

3. Top Boy

If you’re working in an inner-city school (and even if you’re not), Top Boy gives a real insight into gang culture and the risks our children face on a day-to-day basis out of school. 

3. 13 Reasons Why

It won’t be the most comfortable viewing but quite often real issues in life aren’t very comfortable to deal with. 13 Reasons Why handles sexual assault and bullying from a perspective we don’t often see.

4. Teach Us All

This is a documentary that looks at educational inequality in Arkansas. It looks at the nine students who challenged the disparities in access to education and fight the idea that skin colour determines educational provision.

5. Atypical

This is a comedy that features a main character who is on the autistic spectrum. Though it doesn’t always hit the mark perfectly, Atypical can tell you a lot about autism and every teacher should watch it.

6. When They See Us

Though not set in a school, When They See Us is based on a true story and shows the shocking racial profiling and bias in society in the 1980s and 1990s that sadly is still prevalent in some places.

7. Entre les Murs (The Class).

A former teacher, François Bégardeau, plays a heightened version of himself in a tough Parisian school. The Class exposes some of the stresses faced by teachers every day.

8. The Wire – particularly season four

Even though it’s essentially a crime drama, The Wire shows how institutions can affect us as individuals and the fourth season concentrates on the school system.

9. Coach Carter

Based on real events, Coach Carter tells the story of a basketball coach who famously put effort in academic subjects before sporting success. Although slightly dramatised, it shows how one teacher can inspire and motivate their students. 

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Shannen Doherty

Shannen Doherty is a year 4 teacher in south London