Someone recently found my blog by googling “Movies all school psychologists should watch.” Movies, now that I can do over the summer. To my knowledge, and correct me if I’m wrong, there is no movie about a school psychologist. There are school counselors who pop in and usually a) make a difference or b)are crazier than their clients. The latter is a very popular “twist” that is so cliché it’s no longer twisting.
I sometimes imagine what School Psychology: The Movie might look like. One would definitely have to fast forward over all the hours of looking over special education paperwork for the good bits. No one would say, “Remember that Oscar ™ winning moment in which the school psychologist loses it because they can’t find any records anywhere even though the child has been in special education for 10 years?”
But I digress. Back to movies all school psychologists should watch. I must warn you, my taste is movies is not shared by people who don’t enjoy sarcasm or movies that are meant to be dramas but are actually comedies (i.e. Footloose). With that caveat, the movies I recommend for school psychologists involve the following themes:
1) Dance is the key to overcoming adversity
Mad, Hot, Ballroom – Documentary about NYC kids learning ballroom. So. Friggin. Cute. I actually cried on several occasions it was so moving. It has these adorably awkward 5th grade students trying to dance and in doing so develop a sense of confidence and camaraderie. Precious.
Take the Lead – Hollywood adaptation of Mad, Hot, Ballroom. AWEFUL. I loved it and all its awfulness. It pales in comparison to the actual documentary, but it has some good dancing and Hollywood cliches to mock. I mean, Antonio Banderas stars in this film. ‘Nuff said.
2) White woman uses radical teaching method in the ghetto (such as getting to know her students!) Lives are transformed in one semester!
Dangerous Minds – A classic tale in which Michelle Pfeifer uses her military training to reach a group of delinquent students. I admit, I’ve never seen this film. Is that wrong? I feel like I’ve seen it from the preview. I actually never rented it because I think the “White-as-Savior” story is sketchy and simplistic. Feel free to chip in if you think this one is worth putting on my Netflix or you can think of another worthy teacher movie. That is your official summer homework, fellow school psychologists. And....go.