This week’s 5 Fandom Friday post is dedicated to the educators of the fictional world. I have a soft spot for teachers in general. Growing up, I was lucky enough to have some fantastic teachers who encouraged me to develop my interests and made me feel proud to excel. Now that I’m older, some of my best friends have chosen careers in teaching and it makes me so happy that they are out there in the world, offering advice and education to the next generation. It takes a very special person to be an amazing teacher, and I think that the teachers of the world are highly underrated.
And on that note, let’s jump in and take a look at my 5 favourite fictional teachers.
Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Does Giles count as a teacher? He works at Sunnydale High and he runs the library but he doesn’t really have a class of his own. Hmm, maybe he doesn’t really qualify. But I’m going to sneak him into my list because he’s brilliant and I adore him. Giles is mild-mannered and so very British but with a cleverly-disguised wild streak. You just know that under that tweed jacket is a heart that’s hard to tame. He’s an excellent mentor to Buffy and knows when it’s time to let go and give her a chance to stand on her own two feet.
2. Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter.
Like Giles, McGonagall is very two-sided. In the classroom she is strict and proper, but in her own time she can be deliciously witty and bold. I like the fact that McGonagall doesn’t take crap from anyone, and she has a mischievous nature that’s impossible to dislike. Although she is fiercely committed to the education of her students, she managed to develop quite close relationships with Harry, Ron and Hermione and shares several quite sweet moments with each.
3. Professor Keating from The Dead Poets Society
I think we’ve all longed for a teacher like Mr Keating. One who encourages us to think outside the box and introduces us to a world of possibilities. One who steps outside traditional teaching methods and shows us that learning is sexy and fun rather than dry and dusty. For the students who feel trapped inside the straight-laced boarding school, and believe that they will graduate into traditional straight-laced lives, Professor Keating provides a glimmer of hope, and dares them to push the boundaries to find what makes them truly happy. And that’s the mark of a great teacher right there.
4. Mr Bergstrom from The Simpsons
The episode Lisa’s Substitute always resonated with me. Without wanting to sound too up-myself, I was a precocious little girl who loved learning and who was well ahead of most kids her age in terms of intellect and ability. So often I found myself bored in class and it was a rare treat when I found a teacher who would challenge me rather than just wanting me to work at the same level as everyone else. When you are in that boat and a teacher comes along who actively tries to find ways to broaden your learning it’s incredibly refreshing. A teacher who treats you like your thirst for learning is something to be embraced and expanded rather than an annoyance is worth their weight in gold. So I completely understand why Lisa was so excited to find an educator like Mr Bergstrom who gave her a chance to reach outside the bounds of her second-grade classroom and sample the delights of learning for the sheer joy of it.
5. Mr DiMartino from Daria
Ok, so Mr DiMartino wasn’t a good teacher. Perhaps he was once upon a time, until years of teenage boneheads wore down his resolve until he became a bitter, cynical man with an epic facial tic. But I like him all the same. Mostly because he’s super entertaining to watch, but also because a tiny part of me wishes that I could sometimes behave with the kind of unbridled sarcasm that is Mr DiMartino’s trademark.
Do you have a favourite fictional teacher? Is there anyone I’ve left out? Please leave your answers in the comments section below.