What are Northwest’s teachers watching?


For students, it can often be difficult to picture their teachers outside of a classroom setting. Despite the apparent differences, however, there are many unspoken similarities between teachers and students, one of which being their affinity for movies.

As expected, the genres favored among Northwest’s halls varied greatly. Below is a list of “all-time greatest” movies as recommended by Northwest’s teachers:

Name: Taryn Vanderpool

Position: Environmental science teacher

Movie: The Proposal

Why: “I think that one, overall, is funny. I just have good memories of watching it with my friends…a lot.”


Name: Oliver Ham

Position:  German Teacher

Movie: Trainspotting

Why: “The director, Danny Boyle, is brilliant and it was his breakout movie. I mean it’s only the best soundtrack ever. There’s irony to the plot. The cinematography is phenomenal. Oh, and it has the best soundtrack ever.”


Name: Phillip Coley

Position: AP psychology teacher

Movie: The Empire Strikes Back

Why: “It has a very developed plot. It has the most character development and the most engaging [of the Star Wars Trilogy]. The trilogy’s like a large three-act play and I think the second acts tend to be the best. It’s kind of a cliffhanger too where the hero’s not winning. He’s down there like the rest of us. And I mean, c’mon, it’s freaking Star Wars!”


Name: Nicole Smith

Position: Social studies teacher

Movie: Mr. Magorium’s wonder emporium

Why: “It’s uplifting—like it’s about death—but it’s not sad. It’s more of how you should view death as more of a celebration and all. It’s cute.”


Name: Elizabeth Russell

Position: AP world history teacher

Movies: All of the Harry Potter movies

Why: “I was a big fan of the books—not initially—but by the third book, I got really into [the series]. They’re just so good! I’ve turned my husband and family into fans too.”


Name: Ray Parrish

Position: AP United States teacher

Movies: Forrest Gump and It’s a Wonderful Life (a tie)

Why: “So Forrest Gump’s my favorite because it just hits every level for people. I always show it during finals because if you’re stressed, there’s something for you. But it also hits that historical zone and that spiritual zone and it just has everything. It’s a Wonderful Life is my other favorite because it’s very personal to me with everything I’ve gone through in what’s going on five years now.”


Name: Abby Turner

Position: Creative writing teacher and theatre director

Movie: Pride and Prejudice (with Kiera Knightley)

Why: “I loved the book. The movie’s so great. I watch it every single year on my birthday.”


Name: Meredith Kersting

Position: Biology teacher

Movie: Pride and Prejudice

Why: “The one with Kiera Knightley—it’s so good! I loved the book in high school and I’m a big classical music fan and of the story so I watch it multiple time throughout the year. Sometimes, I watch it while I’m grading papers because I know it won’t distract me because I know it so well, but it’s so good.”