10 Things I Learned About Teaching from School of Rock Ten Years Later

After eleven years, Jack Black’s School of Rock has been back in the news.  First, Andrew Lloyd Webber announced last year that he was aiming to turn it into a Broadway musical, and then just last month Nickelodeon announced that they are turning the premise into a weekly series!  This, coupled with last year’s story about the cast’s ten year reunion in Austin made me realize that it might be a good time to revisit the film.

So, last night the family and I settled down to revisit rocker wanna-be Dewey Finn’s duplicitous foray into the world of elementary school teaching, and I was pleased to see that the film has held up well, and I enjoyed it as much as I’d enjoyed the first time I’d seen it, about ten years ago.

But there was a fundamental difference.  This was the first time watching School of Rock as a full time teacher.  I’ve been teaching upper elementary in Kazakhstan and China for the past seven years, and the reality of my experience in the classroom made watching Jack Black’s attempt at teaching even more interesting.

As I watched, it began to dawn on me that this film was not only entertaining, but there were some pretty substantial lessons any teacher could/should take away from watching Dewey Finn rocking out with the kids from Horace Green Elementary.  So, even though it’s about ten years late, here are my…

Ten Things I Learned about Teaching from School of Rock Ten Years Later

1.  It’s not “those who can’t do, teach” – it’s “those who can do well, teach well.” You can read my thoughts about this one here.

school-of-rock-00-400-802.  Teach to your passions, not just to the test.

3.  The best teachers take the time to discover each student’s strengths and capitalize on them.

4.  But at the same time, don’t pigeon-hole your students; give them room to surprise you.

5.  Encouragement is one of the most important gifts you can give.

6.  Administrators are people, too.

7.  Students need respect as much as adults.

8.  Give your students freedom to learn, but also help them to know the limits.

9.  You don’t have to be entertaining to be a good teacher (but it doesn’t hurt).

10.  Believe in your students, and they will learn to believe in themselves.

Anyone have anything to add to this list?


4 thoughts on “10 Things I Learned About Teaching from School of Rock Ten Years Later

  1. I haven’t seen School of Rock, but having done some teaching myself, I can say your list is spot-on. I’d add to #2: Don’t feel the need to stick to the lesson plan no matter what. Be flexible.

  2. Pingback: School of Rock Lesson #1 • Those Who Can Do Well, Teach Well | thimblerigsark

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