By Teachers, For Teachers
With the new fall television season upon us, it seems the perfect time to recognize our favorite fictional educators from the small screen.
Here are our top 12 favorite TV teachers.
Disclaimer: Yes, most TV teachers and schools are as realistic as me expecting my principal to send a limo to pick me up every morning. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them, right?
Miss Bliss: Saved by the Bell (originally Good Morning, Miss Bliss)
Before Saved by the Bell sold out and moved to California, Miss Bliss ruled the school and thwarted Zack Morris’ hijinx in Indianapolis. Hayley Mills rocked as the sharp, creative teacher who was loved and respected by students (at least compared to the constantly-duped Mr. Belding).
Will Schuester: Glee
In Glee, Mr. Shu sang and danced his way into the hearts of New Directions, McKinley High and Gleeks worldwide, everyone except his archnemesis Sue Sylvester.
Though his Spanish instruction seems “asi asi” at best and he’s a bit of a cheeseball, he’s still a caring TV educator you want to root for.
Miss Frizzle: The Magic School Bus
Miss Frizzle is one teacher who could never be accused of teaching by rote. She dazzles her students and TV viewers with fantastical field trips that teach scientific concepts firsthand – including traveling into space and inside the body.
If only we all had her field trip budget…
Mr. Kotter: Welcome Back Kotter
In this iconic 70’s show, Gabe Kotter brings his goofy charm and good intentions back to his alma mater when he takes over teaching the Sweathogs, the seemingly “unteachable” class at Buchanan High School.
To anyone who thinks Mr. Kotter doesn’t belong on this list, Vinnie Barbarino says: Up your nose with a rubber hose!
Connie Brooks: of Our Miss Brooks
Our Miss Brooks first gained fame as a radio program and was one of the first hit sitcoms in television. Played by Eve Arden, Miss Brooks was a quick-witted, sarcastic English teacher at Madison High School.
The character was also groundbreaking because she was one of the first to represent a capable, professional woman in an unglamorous profession.
Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski: The Wire
In The Wire, this Baltimore cop trades in his badge for a blackboard when he becomes a high school math teacher. Prez is surprised to witness the flaws in the statistics-focused school system and learns how to “command the respect of his street-savvy charges, and how to be a good teacher without getting too emotionally involved.” (HBO.com)
Mr. Feeny: Boy Meets World
By far the TeachHUB social media favorite, Mr. Feeny was the wise, curmudgeonly neighbor, mentor and teacher to Cory and his Boy Meets World gang. Certification be darned, he somehow managed to teach the characters from 6th grade all the way through college.
Mr. Feeny spoke the closing line of the series that showed how much he cared about his favorite students as they enter the real world: “I love you all. Class dismissed.”
Lydia Grant: Fame
You've got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying ... in sweat. ~ Lydia Grant
In the television adaptation of Fame, Debbie Allen plays dance teacher Lydia Grant. She challenged fame-seeking students long before Mr. Schuester’s Glee team hit the performance arts scene.
The Faculty of Boston Public
One 2006 teacher review called Boston Public “the most realistic depiction on TV of what teaching actually is…
This series takes a pro-teacher attitude, showing us as we are: diverse, flawed, passionate about learning, student-centered and student-stymied. Challenges to teachers, administrators and students are true-to-life. A strong ensemble cast demonstrates the joys and frustrations of a career in education.”
Walter White: Breaking Bad
Walter White’s secret meth-cooking career doesn’t bode well for his “Teacher of the Year” award potential, but viewer’s are enthralled with this mediocre teacher-gone-bad who seriously knows his chemistry.
Mrs. Krabappel: The Simpsons
What teacher wouldn’t be burned out from teaching Bart Simpson year after year AFTER YEAR? Edna Krabappel is best known for smoking in school, looking for love and ruing the day she stepped foot into Springfield Elementary’s 4th grade classroom.
Eric & Tami Taylor: Friday Night Lights
Technically, Eric Taylor is a coach, but he is also “a teacher first and… a molder of men.” In Friday Night Lights, Tami (admin/counselor) and Eric are among TV’s most realistic portrayal of educators and the struggles they face, including budget cuts, school politics and students with serious home problems.
Though their patience and devotion to Dillon’s students/players can be overly idealistic, it is also an inspiration and recognition of all the teachers who give their students everything they’ve got.
Miss Crabtree of Our Gang / The Little Rascals
Dr. Harry Samuels of Head of the Class
Lily Aldren on How I Met Your Mother
Charlie Brown’s teacher (wuu wuu waa wuu)
Carol Vessey of Ed
Who did we miss? Share your favorite tv teachers in the comments section!