We learned a lot from these TV teachers, but most of the lessons they taught extend beyond the classroom.
Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus
Ms. Frizzle was one of the most truly instructive television teachers we grew up with. In addition to teaching us about human anatomy, dinosaurs, volcanoes, and endless other science lessons, Ms. Frizzle’s free spirit inspired us to chase our creative and academic sides without worrying that one cancelled the other out. The Friz even played in a rock band before becoming a teacher. Not only does she seem to know it all, Ms. Frizzle seems to be able to do it all. She’s athletic, fun, and, you guessed it, magical. Ms. Frizzle was a serious inspiration for kids yearning to be different. She taught us that our unique personalities were what made us special.
Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World
Mr. Feeny scared us into caring. Even though we watched the show after school, his lectures sometimes made us feel like we were back in the classroom. Feeny demanded respect, but he cared about his students on a personal level as well. One of his most memorable speeches came at the end of the gang’s high school years when he told them to, “Dream. Try. Do good.” If you ever had a teacher who cared about their students’ character as much as Feeny did, you probably counted yourself lucky.
Will Schuester from Glee
Will Schuester turned his own life around when he took on the job as the Glee club coach in Glee. As a student at the high school, Will had won the National Show Choir Championship cup, but after college he worked as an accountant, marrying his high-school sweetheart and leaving his dreams behind. As the Glee instructor, Will shows his students how important it is to never give up on your dreams (even if he does take this message too far sometimes… ). Mr. Schuester’s reinvigorated drive for the Glee club’s success brings the team together as a team and it’s obvious how much he means to his students when they perform “To Sir, With Love” for him at the end of the first season. Mr. Schuester showed us how important it was to pursue our goals and be honest with our own aspirations.
Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights
Tami and Eric Taylor were the perfect example of a TV couple. While she wasn’t a teacher, Mrs. Taylor provided the high schoolers of Dillon, Texas with the guidance they needed to get through school and home life as a counselor at Dillon High and later East Dillon High. Mrs. Taylor connected with students on a personal level. She was there for Tyra Colette (who was able to get into UT with Mrs. Taylor’s assistance), Lyla and Buddy Garrity (who, with Mrs. Taylor’s guidance, reconciled) and for the community overall. Mrs. Taylor provided the inspiration for students who didn’t believe in themselves as well as changing the community’s attitude to football and academics. Even as the football coach’s wife, she recognized academic goals above all and encouraged students to push themselves to achieve their dreams. She showed students the potential they never realized they had. #TexasForever
Mr. Medina from The Gilmore Girls
Rory Gilmore’s English teacher at Chilton, Max Medina was a good teacher, but the lessons he taught us resonated the most outside of the classroom. Max showed us to follow our hearts, even if things don’t always work out in the end. Although Max was a student favorite at Chilton, his relationship with Lorelai was the focus of his character’s storyline. While Max and Lorelai ended up breaking up, their relationship taught us to trust our hearts. Lorelai knew the wedding to Max wasn’t what she wanted, although she couldn’t articulate her feelings. When she made the decision to call off the wedding, it wasn’t easy to accept but we understood why she made the decision. Max and Lorelai’s relationship taught us how to be true to ourselves and not compromise our feelings when it comes to making hard choices.
Walter White from Breaking Bad
Ok… so Mr. White wasn’t the best teacher in TV history. He had some villainous qualities. He made a few bad decisions. He made some mistakes along the way. But the man knew his chemistry. Mr. White led by example, if you use his actions as an example of what NOT to do. Do not lie to your wife and child. Do not let your crippling existential fear of death and oblivion overwhelm you, clouding your logical side. Most of all… do not quit your job to run an underground meth ring, which may lead to involving yourself with the cartel, murdering countless associates, and putting your family in danger. In fact, it may even be pretty easy to avoid following Mr. White’s example. Kids, do what Mr. White didn’t do: stay in school.
Charlie Brown’s teacher from Peanuts taught us to persist… even when it feels like nobody is paying attention to what you’re saying.
Mr. Belding from Saved By The Bell taught us if you’re ever wondering, “Hey, hey, hey, what is going on here?” You probably won’t be getting a straight answer.