Everyone remembers who their favorite (or least favorite) teacher was, growing up. It takes a special type of person to teach, mold, shape and inspire youths - that, and a lot of work. In celebration of great teachers everywhere, we've gathered some of the best - and worst - teachers from TV history. Who knows, maybe some of the teachers on this list will help give a new perspective to some of your least favorite classroom experiences.
Best of the Best Teachers in TV History
These are the teachers that inspired students, raised the bar for educators, or otherwise stole the hearts of America.
Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus.
No list of famous TV teachers would be complete without the amazing Ms. Frizzle! The Friz and her pet lizard, Liz, would shrink down the school bus, kids and all, to take them on fantastic, science-driven field trips. Not only is Ms. Frizzle a favorite TV teacher, but she also has a book series by Scholastic Corporation.
Miss Bliss from Saved by the Bell.
Did you know that the popular TV show Saved by the Bell was originally titled Good Morning, Miss Bliss and was set in Indiana, not California? While Good Morning, Miss Bliss was an entirely different concept than Bell, the character of Miss Bliss carried over.
Mr. Bergstrom from The Simpsons.
Mr. Bergstrom was Lisa's substitute 4th-grade teacher who made each class an adventure. Part substitute teacher, part method actor, Mr. Bergstrom would come to class one day wearing gym shorts, the next day speaking French or dressed as an important historical figure. His enthusiastic, immersive, and progressive teaching style won the hearts of Springfield Elementary and helped mend a little girl's relationship with her father.
Miss Othmar from Peanuts.
The endearing “wah wah” of Charlie Brown and his classmates’ teacher earned a special place in the hearts of America, even if her words ended up going in and right out of her students’ ears. Fun fact about Miss Othmar’s voice: producers called for a sound that was different than the jazzy beats and classic music featured in the Peanuts until that time. When the show’s original trombonist began working the slide, the iconic “wah-wah” sound was born. The name of the original trombonist has since been forgotten - but critics called the sound innovative and it has been used for adult voices on the show ever since.
Edna Krabappel from The Simpsons.
Ms. Krabappel had a tough exterior no doubt, but her dedication to teaching the 4th-grade students of Springfield and her heart of gold were more than enough to qualify her for our list. Plus, she was the only teacher at Springfield Elementary with the grit to teach the "unteachable" - Bart Simpson.
Gabe Kotter from Welcome Back Kotter.
The wisecracking, well-intentioned teacher that returned to his alma mater in Brooklyn to teach a group of remedial troublemakers won a place in the hearts of America and his students - to the extent that high schoolers in his class would visit his apartment after hours by way of the fire escape. Since he used to be one of the “bad kids,” when he went to Buchanan High, it was easy for him to bond with the class and help them realize their potential, and for that, he earns a spot on our list.
Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World.
Feeny, also known as the man with the most titles on TV, went from teacher, to principal, and later to college professor on the beloved '90s TV series. While he had a tough-love approach, he truly cared about the well-being and future of his students. Not to mention he inspired the "Feeny Call," and holds the honor of speaking the last line on the last episode of the show.
You Saw The Best, Now For The Rest: The Worst Teachers On TV
Teaching isn't for everyone as the educators in this section of our list will prove. Some are harmless and uninspired, while others should never teach again. These are the worst teachers from TV and film and one of them in particular should make you feel so much better about even your worst experiences in the classroom or on a field trip.
The Economics Teacher from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Ben Stein's flat repetition of "Bueller...? Bueller...?" became a rallying cry for one of the biggest cult movie hits of the '80s. Stein's character had a dry, dull personality and style of teaching that could put a crying baby to sleep. It's no surprise that his rapport with the class was non-existent and for that, he makes our list.
Mr. Garrison from South Park.
While not many of the characters from the TV series South Park can be considered role models, Mr. Garrison is especially notorious. With the tendency to become passionate about all the wrong things, Mr. Garrison is best known for teaching the children of South Park Elementary about things they should never know, flying off the handle for no reason, falsifying grades, and cursing uncontrollably.
Mr. Schuester from Glee.
Surprised to see him here? I know, us too! We had to do a little digging but don’t you remember him fake blackmailing one of his students in the beginning of the series? When the football player with the golden voice wasn't interested in joining Schuester's glee club, he did what any teacher would do, right? Wrong! Instead of gently trying to convince the boy he took a different approach altogether: fake blackmail! Schuester said he found pot in the boy's locker and the only way to avoid getting into trouble was to sing in the glee club. While there were no consequences for Mr. Schuester's actions in the show, they were enough to save him a spot on our list.
Chuck Noblet from Strangers With Candy.
Noblet is one history teacher famous for his bad advice, questionable classroom lectures, and mean spirit. While Mr. Noblet was inappropriate and mean to all of the students at Flatpoint High, he had a particular hate of 40-something-year old student Jerri Blank and took it upon himself to make life especially difficult for her. Mr. Noblet falls under the category of teachers who shouldn't be allowed to teach.
Walter White from Breaking Bad.
This high school chemistry teacher-turned-kingpin is one of the most popular TV characters of all time. His illegal business endeavor with a former student secures him a place on our not-so good list. Or maybe it was that time he poisoned that kid… or those times he orchestrated multiple deaths on the show… Either way here he is folks, Walter White!
Peggy Hill from King of the Hill.
Not even the best of intentions and strongest passion for teaching could overcome substitute Spanish teacher Señora Peggy Hill’s blatant incompetence. She almost avoided our list with her terrible pronunciation and unkillable confidence. But any teacher that takes their class across international borders, unwittingly kidnaps a native child, and still doesn’t notify the police when the mistake is discovered will make our list of the worst teachers in television history any day of the week!
Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Regular viewers of this popular TV series are familiar with Dee's less-than-nurturing personality. So it should come as no surprise that during her stint as a high school drama teacher she: put on a play so that she could be the star, gave obscenity-riddled instruction to her class, and was eventually fired for bringing her entire class to a bar to watch the screening of Lethal Weapon 5 (a homemade follow-up to the original series).
We hope you enjoyed this list of some of the best and worst TV teachers! If you have any fictional TV/movie teachers that you think should have made the list let us know in the comments.
(All images sourced from YouTube.)