It’s Teachers’ Day in Malaysia and many will take this time to show their appreciation to those who have made a difference in their lives.
From the ones who nurture to the ones who inspire and from the creative to the resourceful, memories of school are often less about learning and more about teachers who have left an indelible impression on us.
Video streaming service dimsum celebrates Teachers’ Day with these inspiring shows about educators who remind us of our own personal heroes.
Confucius (2016, China)
The Hallyu community got all abuzz recently when South Korean heartthrob Gong Yoo was revealed to be a 79th generation Confucius descendant.
Meanwhile, fellow South Korean actress Gong Hyo-jin is an 81st generation descendant from the Korean branch of the extended family tree.
Since no other teacher has influenced Chinese culture as much as Confucius, let’s begin our tribute with the educator revered in the East as The First Teacher or The Great Sage.
This is not the 2010 movie starring Chow Yun-fat, but a documentary co-produced by China and Britain about the founder of Confucianism, whose teachings are the basis of many other oriental cultures in other Asian countries like Korea, Japan and Vietnam.
Packed with interviews in English and Mandarin, this biography makes a good introduction to the illustrious Chinese philosopher whose works from the Five Classics and the Analects have been translated into other languages and inspired various great thinkers.
My Paparotti (2013, South Korea)
Looking for an inspiring movie where a humble teacher inspires his student to turn over a new leaf and achieve greatness? Here’s a South Korean coming-of-age flick about a music teacher who acts as a father figure to a wayward teen.
Smalltown music teacher Sang Jin (Han Seok-kyu) was once a promising opera singer in Italy, but a tumour in the throat ended his singing career.
When the teacher discovers that local teen gangster Jang Ho (Lee Je-hoon) has a powerful voice and a passion for Pavarotti, he urges the young punk to ditch the thug life and develop his natural singing talent.
With a music teacher who cares enough to trade an arm and a leg for his freedom, there is hope yet that the boy’s musical abilities will be his ticket out of a life of crime.
The Teacher’s Diary (2014, Thailand)
Better known as a love story about two people who have never met, this Thai movie offers interesting insights into rural education.
In a remote village where kids would rather help their parents at work, teachers have to devise creative techniques to encourage their students to attend school. Instead of academic excellence, the emphasis is on learning practical skills.
Since there is only one teacher and one classroom, students of different ages sit together for their lessons. Set in a fishing village with only four students, classes are conducted in a floating school.
In the movie, two school teachers – one male and one female – are assigned to the same rural school on a houseboat but a year apart.
Ann (Chermarn Boonyasak) writes a diary about her experiences and leaves it behind when she goes to Chiang Mai for another teaching job.
Her replacement Song (Sukrit Wisetkaew) is a former wrestler who turned to teaching after breaking his arm.
When Ann returns to her post a year later, she discovers that Song has also written in it. Will their shared experiences bring them together?
I Fine Thank You Love You (2014, Thailand)
It is apparent where this is going with an English title that sticks in your head because it is grammatically incorrect in such a cute way. This Cinderella-themed Thai rom-com is a light-hearted look at how cram school teachers train their students to pass examinations.
Pleng (Ice Preechaya Pongthananikorn) is an English language tutor who is engaged to teach factory maintenance engineer Gym (Sunny Suwanmethanont).
Given the limited time she has to equip Gym with his new language skills, Pleng has to resort to using unorthodox role-play methods to speed up the learning process. Learning English couldn’t be more fun!
My First School (2016, Singapore, eight episodes)
Closer to home, this heart-warming series deals with early childhood education, generally a must in the Asian region.
As a precursor to academic success, typical Asian parents treat preschool as the all-important ground-work that gives their kids a head-start in the academic world.
This family drama chronicles the life of a young woman named Xu Leqing (Malaysian-born Julie Tan) who takes up early childhood education and dedicates her life to working with children.
Like many young people who have just graduated from high school, she has her heart set on pursuing further studies but is unsure about what course of study to undertake.
But after a chance meeting with a preschool teacher named Chen Xiujuan (Chen Liping), she becomes inspired to work with kids.
Even after she gets herself a diploma in early childhood education, her mother and brother continue to have doubts about her ability to handle preschoolers.
Unperturbed, she works hand-in-hand with her mentor and learns to help her young charges as well as deal with their parents’ problems.
Go! Goal! Fighting! (2015, China, 31 episodes)
For the sports-inclined, China’s first football-themed sports drama is worth checking out.
Mu Qi (Hu Ge) is a retired college football coach and Pei Duo (Maggie Jiang) is a trainee teacher and football coach of Cui Ying High School. Due to financial difficulties, he is persuaded to coach her school’s mediocre football team.
The team is unhappy with his strict training methods, so he finds it hard to keep them motivated. But when his strategies take them to the finals, coach Mu Qi finally gains the trust and respect of the players.
Pei Duo decides to encourage the players further by recruiting female students to set up their own cheerleading team. Together, the two football coaches build a strong bond with the players and reignite their passion for victory.
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