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Top Five Fictional Teachers

Top Five Fictional Teachers

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Teachers. They have a huge impact on people’s lives. Whether it be through the material they teach with their subjects or just being supportive of their students, they matter a great deal and deserve more respect than they are given. It isn’t just real-life teachers that can make an impact on people, but fictional ones, too. Even though they are just characters, fictional teachers can still give thoughtful lessons that can be just as thought-provoking to the audience as the other characters. In celebration of teachers all around, here are the top five fictional teachers. Minor Spoilers Ahead!  

5. Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus

An iconic teacher in her own right, Miss Frizzle (Lily Tomlin) from The Magic School Bus (1994-1997) is a science teacher for a group of young children. She takes them on field trips with her school bus that can magically transform into anything, resulting in them going on many journeys, including shrinking in size to study plant life. Miss Frizzle is the kind of teacher who tries to make the subjects she talks about fun by having a hands-on approach for her students, and it works. The students are always depicted as being engaged with the material and active with the assignments. That said, it isn’t just the characters that enjoy learning from Miss Frizzle. Many elementary and middle schools even to this day in real life will play episodes of the show in their science classes. Goes to how much of an impact the character has on people.

One of the best lessons Miss Frizzle ever taught wasn’t even about science directly, but still applies to it as well as anything else. One lesson she taught was to “Take chances and make mistakes,” and there is a lot to that. It is important to sometimes take a risk and fail every once in a while, because it allows a person a chance to learn from that and grow. Also, there is the possibility that the risk will be a success. Doesn’t mean taking unnecessary risks, but still. At the end of the day, Miss Frizzle helps make science fun for so many while also teaching them to go out in the world and not be afraid of taking a chance and maybe failing. 

The Magic Schoolbus can be found on Tubi. 

4. Charles Xavier (Professor X) from X-Men 

Here is a character whose lessons have continued to get better with age. Charles Xavier, aka Professor X, is a mutant with telepathic abilities and as such has an academy where he teaches other mutants how to control their powers. It isn’t a traditional school of teaching subjects like math or history (or at least not in some versions), but is helping people learn more about themselves and the world for that matter. Charles always wants to help his students by telling them not to be ashamed of who they are and supporting them to reach their fullest potential. This is shown with his team, the X-Men, especially in shows like X-Men: Evolution (2000-2003), where viewers see the group start off as young and inexperienced with their powers before growing and eventually being incredibly skilled. Charles has long-term goals for his students and is patient with them. 

One of the greatest lessons Charles ever taught was ironically to himself. In X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), a young Charles (James McAvoy) meets his older self, portrayed by Patrick Stewart, and seeks his help, with young Charles doubting himself after not using his powers for so long. In the scene, older Charles tells his younger self “Just because someone falls and loses their way, doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.” This is a brilliant reminder that no one is perfect. Everyone has flaws, and sometimes good people have dark days. They could be at an all-time low, but that doesn’t mean they can’t turn things around. It doesn’t mean they can’t get back up and start again. Not everyone is beyond redemption. It is also a lesson in not giving up just because things go wrong. Like with Ms. Frizzle, people need to fail sometimes so they can learn. All in all, Professor X is an example of how positive reinforcement can build a person up and shape them into the best version of themselves. 

Movies and shows featuring the X-Men can be found on Disney+.

3. Mr. Fenny From Boy Meets World 

Out of all the teachers on this list, Mr. George Fenney (William Daniels) is the only one here who is just an ordinary teacher, but that doesn’t mean he is the lesser of them. Mr. Fenny serves as the teacher for the younger cast of Boy Meets World (1993-2000) including Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) and Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong) and teaches them from middle school to college. He mainly teaches history, although some would argue he does more English depending on what he is teaching, but some of his most memorable teaching moments are when he teaches his students about life and how to survive in the real world. He encourages them to always seek higher learning and not let what others say about them dictate who they are. Mr. Fenny also makes an effort to work with students one-on-one if they need it and sometimes offers the chance to make up work, which proves to get them to want to do better, such as the case with Eric (Will Friedle). 

Mr. Feeny’s most fantastic lesson comes at the finale, where some of the main group is leaving for New York. During this he says, “Dream. Try. Do good.” Technically three lessons, but each matters for its own reason. People should dream of ideas of what they want to do with their life, and in order to make that happen, they need to go out and try. Finally, there is to do good. Not “well” as in “to succeed,” but doing good as spreading positivity by helping others. Fenny notes that it isn’t enough to succeed in life, because one risks being a part of the system. One also has to change it to survive the world and its cruelties. What is interesting is how things almost played out differently. According to William Daniels himself in an interview with ET, Daniels nearly quit the show over being dissatisfied with the script and only stayed on after series co-creator Michael Jacobs did rewrites over it. It makes one wonder how Mr. Feeney would have played out if someone else took on the role. 

Boy Meets World can be found on Disney+. 

2. Professor Albus Dumbledore From Harry Potter 

Here is a teacher who always knew what to say. When it comes to Professor Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, whether it be the Richard Harris or Michael Gambon version, he left a memorable impact on audiences. Although he never taught a class in the original series, since he was the headmaster of the school, he still was an effective teacher nonetheless. Like with every other teacher on this list, Dumbledore encouraged his students to do their best and was there for them when they, or in most cases Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) needed him. He would more often than not offer life lessons which proved to stay with the students. 

One lesson Dumbledore taught that holds true is, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Similar to Fenny and wanting to change the cruel world, Dumbledore in this case teaches about how even in the darkest of times, there can still be something positive out there as long as one searches for it and helps spread it. Even the small happy moments can be enough to get through a tough day. This is proven in the seventh film, Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010). In one scene, Harry and Hermione (Emma Watson) are upset after Ron (Rupert Grint) leaves. Harry then decides to try and cheer Hermione up by dancing with her to the radio, and in that brief moment, the two forget about their troubles and have a bit of fun. It didn’t last long, but it still helped both of them. 

All eight Harry Potter films can be found on Peacock. 

1. Grand Master Yoda From Star Wars 

One of the wisest teachers in all of fiction, Grand Master Yoda (Frank Oz) was the head teacher and leader of the Jedi Order in the Star Wars franchise during the Prequel Era. Unlike Dumbledore, despite essentially being the headmaster of the Jedi, Yoda would still teach a class. It could range from basic lightsaber combat training to harnessing force powers; he would take the time to help his students constantly improve. Even during the Original Trilogy Era, Yoda’s teaching methods are still effective when he starts working with Luke (Mark Hamill). He can be strict, but still fair. He will have reservations, but still chooses to teach. Ultimately, Yoda does show he cares about his students, and even if he is disappointed in them for making a mistake, it is only because he knows they can do better. 

Perhaps Yoda’s most iconic lesson and most iconic line of his period is, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Simple, but it holds value. People say in life they will give something a try but often never fully commit to what it is they are trying, either out of fear or something else entirely. Yoda’s lesson is straight to the point. Either fully invest in whatever the goal is or don’t do it all. To try means to give a half-hearted attempt, and that just leads to nothing but wasted time. At the end of the day, Master Yoda is a one-of-a-kind teacher. Through his backwards talk is wisdom and tranquility, something many should aspire to. 

All Star Wars films can be found on Disney+.

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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I am from Michigan. I am a recent graduate of Bowling Green State University majoring in Film Production with a minor in Media Production.

Cailen Fienemann is a current student at Le Moyne College pursuing her BA in English and Communications with a film studies minor and a creative writing concentration.  Though uncertain about her career end-goals, any job that allows her to write is a cherished one indeed.