I truly believe that teachers are some of the most under-appreciated people on the planet. My mom has taught third-grade for over 25 years, and her life is not all summer vacations and field trips. Teachers are essentially in charge of children’s lives for most of the day. School is more than just learning reading and math; it also includes lessons in imagination, critical thinking, passion, and goodwill. If you’re a decent human being, you should be thanking all your teachers.
Thus, in honor of my last “first day of school” tomorrow, I wanted to celebrate the fictional teachers that mentored me, as well as their own students:
Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus: Who could forget this favorite teacher from childhood? I loved her wacky sense of humor, her pet lizard, and-of course-her crazy costumes that always matched the lesson of the day. I practically watched every episode, but my favorite books included On the Ocean Floor and In the Time of Dinosaurs. They were chock-full of info that all ages could understand. Learning was never so much fun!
Megan Smith from How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls: In this book by Zoey Dean (2007), Megan gets paid big bucks to offer SAT prep to 17-year-old twin heiresses Rose and Sage Baker. But big bucks also means big problems, since the girls are more interested in boys and partying than hitting the books. Megan learns to connect on their level, and in return, Rose and Sage starting giving her more respect–and even advice of their own. The story was adapted into a CW show called “Privileged,” which lasted only one season because it wasn’t very good. Pick up this light-hearted read instead.
Anna Taggert from Schooled: Written by Anisha Lakhani (2008), it’s also about a teacher trying to reach kids of the uber-rich. At first, Anna is thirsty to be accepted by her students, to be seen as cool and fashionable. She gets obsessed with designer clothes with her new income, but when she realizes that nobody’s learning anything, she gets down to business. A great book that makes you realize that teachers aren’t perfect, but it also brings about pertinent questions about education.
The Hogwarts professors from Harry Potter: Some were boring, others were Voldemort’s cronies in disguise, but most were teachers every student deserves. From quirky Trelawney to hard-ass McGonagall to empathetic Lupin, witches and wizards at Hogwarts had the very best. Even Snape, despite making Harry and friends miserable in Potions class, was a kind-hearted person who fought to save the world from evil. However, I think everyone would agree that the “best professor” award goes to Dumbledore, the wisest of them all. Who couldn’t learn from his excellent quotes, such as, “Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” You knew that he would be affecting people’s lives long after he left the earth.
Mr. Feeny from “Boy Meets World:” Ok, I cheated! I know this entry doesn’t come from a book, but I couldn’t resist. Who doesn’t love this mustached, sweater-vest-wearing, teacher/next-door-neighbor? I mean, he followed Cory and gang from middle school to high school to college! That’s one super-duper credential!
Any fictional teachers I forgot? Feel free to share your favorites, and happy back-to-school!!!