Pop Culture

Television’s Top Teachers

I have to thank ABC Family for keeping me entertained in the morning. I’ve never seen their original shows like The Secret Life of the American Teenager or Pretty Little Liars, but I am all about the reruns of Full House and Boy Meets World.

I have seen every episode of Full House about 784 times, but I haven’t watched BMW in forever. It’s on ridiculously early (7 a.m.), so I don’t catch it every day, but I did see the series finale last week, when Cory, Topanga, Shawn, Eric, and the rest of the gang said goodbye to each other and their beloved teacher, Mr. Feeny.

In California – and, sadly, across the United States – public school teachers are being subjected to budget cuts and unfair treatment by legislators. That’s why it was so nice to see a teacher being praised and appreciated, even if he is fictional. So, in honor of teachers, I decided to come up with a list of my favorites from television. Please, share yours!

George Feeny – George Fee-heee-hee-heeennnyyy (man, did I love Eric Matthews) was the consummate educator. He expertly guided the Boy Meets World kids (somewhat unbelievably, as they had him from the sixth grade all the way through college), teaching them both facts and the ways of the world. If you’re going to have a teacher be your neighbor, you want it to be one as awesome as Mr. Feeny.

Miss Frizzle – Who wouldn’t want a teacher that has a magical school bus that can take you everywhere from under the sea to the core of the earth? Not only did she take her students on out-of-this-world adventures, but she always did it in style, coordinating her clothes with their destination.

Edna Krabappel – OK, so this teacher from The Simpsons isn’t known for adoring her students and going out of her way to help them. But wouldn’t you be a bit off if you had to be in a room with Bart Simpson all day? It’s OK for teachers to not be super peppy all the time, and Ms. Krabappel – who once deadpanned, “No, stop, think of the children,” when Bart was poised to destroy the school with a tank – proves that.

Miss Bliss – While Saved by the Bell was far superior to Good Morning, Miss Bliss, I did really enjoy Hayley Mills as the title character. She felt real; I could honestly see her as a kind and caring middle school teacher. She was on the side of her students when they were right, and quick to help them or show them the error of their ways when they were wrong. It would have been nice for her to move to Bayside High with Zach, Lisa, and Screech but hey, at least we got to keep Mr. Belding!


By Catherine

Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

13 replies on “Television’s Top Teachers”

Miss Beadle, Miss Plum and Miss Wilder – Little House on the Prairie. Laura and Mary, too, that show was full of teachers. Mary’s husband with Bambi eyes always sort of gave me the creeps.
Aunt Viv on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. She was a sub, but she was awesome.
Debbie Allen on Fame. She’ll make you sweat, and she can kick her leg up behind her ear.
Mr. Kotter.

Let us go from Ben Savage to Fred Savage and The Wonder Years and its Mr. Collins. Kevin (Fred’s character) doesn’t like his math teacher and cheats in class. Even though Mr. Collins knows Kevin’s been cheating, he promotes Kevin to an advanced math class. Kevin struggles and Mr. Collins privately tutors him. They become close, but Mr. Collins has to stop the lessons and isn’t there on the day of a big test. Kevin gets pissy and purposely flunks his test by writing such answers as “Who cares?” on it. Over the weekend he regrets his actions. On Monday, Kevin finds out that Mr. Collins has died. Before he died, however, he graded the exams (wow). But Kevin’s exam is missing! He takes it again, confidently completing it.

See also this blog post by a teacher:

(Pretty Little Liars is awesome)

There is often one teacher who kinda gets overlooked even though he was The Coolest. Maybe it’s because his scenes were never in the classroom but omg Hangin With Mr Cooper was the best. I was young enough to forget that my teachers went home to families so the show always gave me a bit of (sitcom) insight into what my teachers might be like on the weekends. I think I liked imagining them getting into all sorts of hijinks with nosy neighbor kids and lovely roommates. :)

Also – there was another show I loved but I watched it when I was really young. Why I still remember it is beyond me. It all basically takes place in a classroom with high schoolers and their teacher. The kids are all in some advanced class, super smart. I think it was called Head of the Class? Top of the Class? Something. But either way, their teacher was the best. I had kinda wished to have teachers like him when I would one day get to high school (unfortunately, there was just one teacher like him and he only taught one class – it was the only history class I have ever taken).

I have to go google this show now…

I couldn’t remember much more than that, and the Internet wasn’t helpful, but I think Brad Pitt’s character was not too smart and the girl he was dating was very smart. I think she dumbed herself down when she was around him but came to realize she shouldn’t pretend to be something she’s not.

You’re the second person to tell me to check out Pretty Little Liars today…my friend that works at a magazine is working on a story about the show, and said I should watch it over the summer. And yes, I remember Head of the Class, even though it was on when I was super young. My sisters are older, so I think that’s why I watched it. I remember when I was about 5, a bunch of the stars of the show were at the same hotel we were staying at in Palm Springs, and I got really, really excited.

It’s a great show, very much TV (as in far-fetched) but they handle a lot of social situations really well. One of the friends in the circle is a lesbian – the four main actors all did a spot for It Gets Better that was so moving.
Also – the books – omg, the books are so fun and trashy. Read them. They are perfect for summer. :) (You can find the first four at Target!)

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