As a former assistant professor, movies on great teachers/mentors never fail to inspire me, especially films that are based on real-life stories. Watching two of the greatest-ever classics on mentoring come alive on the silver screen was an amazing experience. Over the past week I sampled Tuesdays with Morrie and The Miracle Worker, and was left with tears in my eyes, but a song in my heart. Both are poignant stories of great teachers, yet as different from each other as chalk and cheese.
Tuesdays with Morrie is based on the book by the same name, written by Mitch Albom. Mitch, a sports journalist, is workcoholic and commitment phobic, till he gets the news that his former professor Morrie Schwartz is dying of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).Mitch goes to see Morrie, and then goes to see him again and again to get invaluable life lessons from Morrie.Those life lessons, on reaching out to people, on relationships, love, and other aspects of existence, changes Mitch for the better. I do not believe that anyone can read or watch Tuesdays with Morrie and remain unmoved.
The Miracle Worker is the cinematic interpretation of Helen Keller’s book The Story of My Life. The movie presents a slice of the author’s childhood. Helen was deaf, dumb, and blind, and inhabited a world of perpetual darkness. Her life changes when her new teacher, Ann Sullivan, refuses to take pity on her, proceeds to teach her how to spell words, and to train her in good manners and practical skills. Helen’s world remains a dark one till she discovers the joy of language and the fact that “things have names.” The Miracle Worker is a beautiful movie laced with humorous and heart-touching moments, till the wonderful ending that made me cry.
Great mentors are never forgotten. Their handiwork can always be seen in their protégés' fulfilled lives.