The 10 Best Teachers in Movies or TV

The 10 Best Teachers in Movies or TV

Most of us have had at least one teacher who inspired us to be better and reach our full potential. If you haven’t had a teacher like that in real life, you may have been inspired by some of the best fictional teachers out there.

While some of the best fictional teachers may have made decisions that would be considered questionable in the real world, we can’t help but love these characters anyway. Not to mention, their quirkiness is what makes them so entertaining.

There are many fictional teachers in TV shows and movies, and some of them are particularly horrible. (You can read about some of the Worst Fictional Teachers here.) But for every horrible fictional teacher, there’s at least one excellent teacher who should be celebrated for their kindness, compassion and ability to teach students to overcome adversity.

Some teachers are strict and others are kind, but the best teachers on screen and off screen, care deeply about their students and do everything possible to help them. Our list of best fictional teachers includes a wide range of teachers with a variety of personalities, from the gentle and kind Miss Honey from “Matilda” to the quirky but passionate Mr. Keating from “Dead Poets Society.”

No matter what type of teachers you had growing up, we hope you find some inspiration from this list of the best fictional teachers of all time.

To create this list of best fictional teachers, 24/7 consulted numerous lifestyle publications, including People and Entertainment Weekly. We also viewed discussions online to determine some of the best fictional teachers found in TV shows and movies. (Speaking of education, don’t miss The 25 All-Time Best Educational TV Shows for Children.)

Here are the 10 best fictional teacher characters in film and TV shows.

Professor Minerva McGonagall, “Harry Potter”

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Professor McGonagall taught Transfiguration.

There are many memorable teachers in “Harry Potter,” but Professor Minerva McGonagall is perhaps the most beloved. Professor McGonagall taught Transfiguration at Hogwarts and was also the Head of Gryffindor.

What We Love About Professor McGonagall

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
McGonagall showed she cared for her students and protected Hogwarts from evil.

Although Professor McGonagall was strict, it was because she took magic seriously and cared for her students. She clearly instructed her students that anyone who messed around would be removed from her class and she meant every word of her warning.

Mr. Feeny, “Boy Meets World”

Source: Courtesy of ABC Family
“Boy Meets World” fans couldn’t help but love Mr. Feeny.

Mr. Feeny is not only Cory’s sixth-grade teacher at the beginning of “Boy Meets World,” he’s also Cory’s neighbor. Later on, he moves to John Adams High School and becomes the principal of the school.

What We Love About Mr. Feeny

William Daniels & Bonnie Bartlett
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William Daniels portrayed Mr. Feeny in “Boy Meets World.”

Mr. Feeny is another fictional teacher who comes off as incredibly strict at first, but he ends up building genuine relationships with many of the students. Especially after Mr. Feeny moves to John Adams High, he ends up teaching Cory, Shawn, Eric and Topanga many valuable lessons.

John Kimble, “Kindergarten Cop”

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Arnold Schwarzenegger plays an unorthodox teacher in “Kindergarten Cop.”

In an attempt to discover the identity of a drug dealer’s ex-wife, John Kimble goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher. Since his methods are so unorthodox, the principal of the school assumes he’ll quit right away.

What We Love About John Kimble

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures
John Kimble learns to love his kindergarten students.

While Kimble isn’t exactly the kind of person you expect to see in a kindergarten class, he ends up adapting to the role surprisingly well. His police work allows him to provide the children with the structure they need and he genuinely cares for the students.

Yoda, “Star Wars”

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
In “Star Wars: Episode V,” Yoda trains Luke Skywalker to become a Jedi.

Yoda isn’t a teacher in the traditional sense, but he does play the role of teacher and mentor, especially for Luke Skywalker. This Jedi Master was known for his wisdom and after spending years in isolation on Dagobah, he lived long enough to fulfill Obi-Wan Kenobi’s wish of having training Skywalker.

What We Love About Yoda

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
Master Yoda always offers sage advice.

After living almost 900 years, a character like Yoda is bound to have some wisdom. Per Obi-Wan Kenobi’s request, Yoda eventually agrees to teach Skywalker and passes on as much wisdom as he can before Skywalker leaves to save his friends. He has many famous lines, such as “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Mr. Miyagi, “The Karate Kid”

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures
Pat Morita portrayed Mr. Miyagi in “The Karate Kid.”

Mr. Miyagi wasn’t a teacher in the academic sense, but he was a mentor and teacher to Daniel LaRusso in “The Karate Kid” all the same. This character also takes on another student in “The Next Karate Kid” when he decides to teach Julie Pierce.

What We Love About Mr. Miyagi

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures
Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel important life lessons.

What makes Mr. Miyagi such a great teacher is his never-ending patience. He doesn’t just teach Daniel karate. Mr. Miyagi also teaches him important life lessons and helps him to become a great man in the future.

Jessica Day, “New Girl”

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television
Middle school teacher Jessica Day definitely cares about her students.

Jessica Day has several jobs throughout the duration of “New Girl,” but when we first meet her, she works as a middle school teacher. Later on in the show, she takes on more responsibility in an academic setting.

What We Love About Jessica Day

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television
Throughout “New Girl,” Jess rises through the ranks and eventually becomes principal.

Jessica Day starts off as a middle school teacher at the beginning of the show and ends up as a principal later on. Despite her quirkiness and awkward personality, she shows up for her students and clearly cares about everyone she teaches.

Mr. Medina, “Gilmore Girls”

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Television
Rory Gilmore’s teacher, Mr. Medina, ends up dating Lorelai.

Mr. Medina is the English teacher at Chilton, which Rory Gilmore starts attending in the first season of the show. Clearly a well-educated, intelligent teacher, the students at Chilton love Mr. Medina. He puts his job at risk when he gets involved with Lorelai, but his job and relationship with his students are clearly important to him.

What We Love About Mr. Medina

2019 Nantucket Film Festival - Day Three
Source: Noam Galai / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images
Scott Cohen played Mr. Medina in “Gilmore Girls.”

Mr. Medina is a beloved teacher on the show, even before he starts dating Rory’s mom, Lorelai. Despite this connection, he is still a compassionate and excellent teacher, who deeply cares about his students and wants to see them succeed.

Ms. Frizzle, “The Magic School Bus”

Source: Courtesy of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
Ms. Frizzle is one of the most beloved fictional teachers of all time.

Many of us grew up watching “The Magic School Bus,” and Ms. Frizzle constantly entertained us with the adventures she took her students on. Despite the hesitancy of students like Arnold (who always said, “I knew I should have stayed home today,”) when Ms. Frizzle was teaching, you knew you would get an important lesson.

What We Love About Ms. Frizzle

Source: Courtesy of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
Lily Tomlin voiced Ms. Frizzle.

Ms. Frizzle took hands-on teaching to the next level as she consistently took her students aboard the Magic School Bus for field trips that were out of this world. From her frizzy, curly hair to her elaborate outfits, Ms. Frizzle inspired everyone to discover the beauty and wonder in the world.

Miss Honey, “Matilda”

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures
Roald Dahl first created the character, Miss Honey.

Miss Honey is a teacher at Crunchem Hall, where Miss Trunchbull is the principal. She also becomes the teacher of Matilda Wormwood, a student whom Miss Honey later finds out has telekinetic powers.

What We Love About Miss Honey

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures
Miss Honey tries to protect her students from Miss Trunchbull.

There’s no doubt that Miss Honey is one of the sweetest teachers out there, which makes her name fitting. Not only does she patiently deal with the terror of Miss Trunchbull, but she ends up adopting Matilda at the end of the story when her parents threaten to move her out of the country.

Mr. Keating, “Dead Poets Society”

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Robin Williams portrayed Mr. Keating in “Dead Poets Society.”

You can’t mention the best fictional teachers without naming Mr. Keating. As a former student at Welton Academy, he returned as an English teacher in 1959. He encourages all of his students to follow their dreams and helps them see their full potential.

What We Love About Mr. Keating

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Welton Academy teacher Mr. Keating inspired his students.

Mr. Keating certainly was quirky, and not well accepted by his peers at Welton Academy, but he is likely the most inspirational fictional teacher of all time. Robin Williams captivated us all in his role as Mr. Keating, a teacher who encouraged his students to seize the day and live life to the fullest. (Don’t miss The Most Likable TV Characters of the ’80s.)

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