We recently payed homage to the most frightening fictional educators, discussing the spookiest teachers and mentors in pop culture history. Continuing this discussion, it’s important to acknowledge our favorite positive and inspirational on-screen educators, both past and present. Teachers are often the heroes of pop culture, offering inspiration and guidance to the protagonist(s) of the story. The title of teacher is not limited to those who work within the classroom; mentors, principals, and guidance counselors are also pivotal characters. We at TeacherTube decided to pay tribute to these educators, listing the top 10 most memorable educators from popular movies and television. Who are your favorite teachers from pop culture past and present? Comment below!
6th Grade Teacher at Jefferson Elementary School,
Principal at John Adams High School,
Professor at Pennbrook Universit
A list of top TV teachers is no list at all without mention of George Feeny. Pesky neighbor, teacher, principal, and professor, Mr. Feeny was the life-long mentor to the cast of Boy Meets World both in and outside of the classroom. Mr. Feeny followed Corey, Eric, Shawn, Topanga, and the rest of the cast from elementary school well into their adult life, offering heartfelt advice in all situations. Appropriately walking the line between teacher and friend, Mr. Feeny was – and still is – the epitome of a memorable mentor, both on and off screen.
Teacher at Walkerville Elementary School
Ms. Valerie Frizzle (often referred to as “The Friz”) is the favorite fictional teacher of many children, adults, and teachers. Star of the book and television series The Magic School Bus, Ms. Frizzle was the ultimate hands-on teacher science, bringing her students on real-life field trips to places like the inside of inside the human digestive system and into outer space.
English teacher at Carlmont High School
While LouAnne Johnson is the fictional teacher in the 1990s movie Dangerous Minds, the plot is based on the real-life story of Marine Corp officer-turned-teacher LouAnne Johnson and her experiences teaching at Carlmont High School in inner-city Los Angeles. Johnson’s use of innovative and unconventional teaching tactics allow her to reach her seemingly “unreachable” students on a personal level, despite the city’s educational and economic circumstances.
Glee Club Director/Spanish Teacher at William McKinley High School
Mr. Schue is a Spanish teacher at McKinley High School, but his real teaching comes from his role as faculty advisor to the school’s glee club (New Directions.) Acting in a role that’s more mentoring than teaching, Mr. Shue uses music and life lessons to guide his students in the right direction. As he explained to one student, “The best teachers don’t give you the answers. They just point the way and let you make your own choices.”
English teacher at Welton Academy
One of the greatest feats of any English teacher is to make literature accessible and “cool.” Mr. Keating accomplishes this feat and more in his role as an English Teacher at Welton Academy. Keating’s passion for literature is passed on to his students, instilling lessons of self-confidence and individuality within lessons of Shakespeare and poetry.
Teacher at Crunchem Hall Primary School
Miss Honey is the every student’s idealistic teacher. Kind and soft-spoken, Miss Honey brings warmth to the cold and scary school that is Crunchem Hall Primary School, run by her aunt (and notorious scary educator Agatha Trunchbull.) Miss Honey is a teacher, friend, and mentor to young Matilda, going so far as to adopt her to ensure both of their happiness (and that Matilda doesn’t move to Guam.)
Music Teacher at St. Francis School
Sister Mary Clarence is a Las Vegas performer who goes ‘undercover’ as a nun/teacher to help St. Francis School, a struggling private catholic school located in inner-city San Francisco. Sister Mary Clarence accepts a job as the school’s music teacher, but becomes much more than that, acting as the student’s mentor, life coach, and overall inspiration.
Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry
Headmaster of Hogwarts Albus Dumbledore is a wise, patient, all-knowing advisor in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. As Headmaster, he commands (and receives) respect from his students, yet also provides them with the necessary guidance and mentoring necessary for Harry (and friends) to overcome academic and life challenges beyond the classroom.
Professor at The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning
Professor Charlies Xavier (Professor X) takes on the role of the ultimate model in the Marvel Comics X-Men series, both in print and on screen. Fighter and leader for mutant civil rights equality, Professor X provides education and guidance to young students who possess the mutant gene, helping them to hone their powers and use them to promote peace and equality.
English Teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School
Similar to Dangerous Minds, Freedom Writers is based on the real-life story of high school teacher Erin Gruwell and the story of how she reached her “unreachable” and “unteachable” students. Gruwell breaks down the walls of traditional teaching, and helps her students conquer issues of gang violence and racial intolerance, instilling a sense of academic and personal confidence in her seemingly “failing” students.
Tami Taylor, Friday Night Lights – School Counselor at Dillon High; Principal at Dillon High; School Counselor at East Dillon High; Dean of Admissions at Braemore College
Dr. Ross Geller, Friends – Paleontology Professor at New York University
Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Moth – Architecture Professor at Columbia University
Ms. Norbury, Mean Girl – Math Teacher at North Shore High School