One of the most exciting aspects of heading back to school (if your kid is excited about it at all), is finding out who your new teacher will be. Is it the cool one? The tough one? The teacher with all of the jokes? It takes a village to raise a child, and a whole cornucopia of personalities to educate them.
If you look back through the annals of television, fictional students have been taught by a host of different characters. You have the wise veterans, like Boy Meets World’s Mr. Feeney, and the hopeful newbies, like Abbott Elementary’s Ms. Teagues. And then, of course, there are the teachers you would never wish upon anyone, ever (looking at you Walter White).
As you sharpen those pencils and boot up the Chromebooks, head back to classrooms of the small screen with these truly unforgettable teachers.
As seen on: Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin
Madam Giry is Millwood High’s dance teacher and to say she is tough is a huge understatement. The former ballerina is particularly ruthless when it comes to Faran and her future as a dancer. She’s so villainous, in fact, that some even wonder if she might be Original Sin’s version of “A.” She almost makes Dance Moms’ Abby Lee Miller look nice. We said almost.
Ms. Geraldine Grundy
As seen on: Riverdale
Ms. Grundy was Riverdale High School’s resident music teacher…until she had an affair with a 16-year-old Archie. Fired from the school after the scandal was revealed, she still managed to find a music teacher gig at another nearby high school (who is running this school district?). Some people simply never learn their lesson and Grundy began another illicit affair with a student before meeting her maker courtesy of the Black Hood.
Ms. Janine Teagues
As seen on: Abbott Elementary
If you aren’t already watching this hilarious ABC sitcom, what are you waiting for? Created by Quinta Brunson, who also happens to play the role of Janine Teagues, the series follows the teaching staff at a fictional elementary school. Ms. Teagues is incredibly optimistic and determined to give her second grade students everything, even when reality is working against her.
Mr. George Feeny
As seen on: Boy Meets World
Mr. Feeny wasn’t just wise in the classroom, teaching the likes of Cory, Topanga and Shawn, he was also doling out sage advice as the Matthews family’s neighbor. While the kids certainly tried to pull one over on Feeny now and again, for the most part they never wanted to disappoint him. After all, if you can’t count on Mr. Feeny, who can you count on?
Miss Eva Beadle
As seen on: Little House on the Prairie
As the sole teacher at Walnut Grove’s schoolhouse, Miss Beadle really had her work cut out for her. In one episode she was chastised for not disciplining the older children enough, and in another she angered parents for teaching the students about the Civil War. Beadle was a trailblazer like that. While some mistook her kindness for weakness. Miss Beadle could hold her own against Walnut Grove’s most nefarious characters (hi, Nellie Oleson).
As seen on: Riverdale
In a twist we certainly were not expecting, Jughead (yes, former gang leader Jughead), became an English teacher at Riverdale High in the series’ fifth season. In fact, the whole crew tackles teaching roles at their alma mater in an effort to take back their town. Jughead’s teaching career may be brief, but it’s such a 180 move on the part of the showrunners we have to put him in this teachers hall of fame.
Mrs. Yvonne Teasley
As seen on: Beverly Hills, 90210
Shout to actress Denise Dowse, who played the no-nonsense Mrs. Teasley, 90210’s high school years. Dowse recently passed while battling meningitis, but her portrayal of West Beverly’s Prince Principal will live on forever. Mrs. Teasley was tough but fair, often sparring with Steve Sanders and his antics. She was so loved she scored an invite to Donna and David’s wedding, which was the last time we saw Mrs. Teasley on the series.
As seen on: Never Have I Ever
There’s always that one teacher that makes an impact, whether it’s because they’re close in age to the students or offer an interesting perspective on life. On Never Have I Ever, that teacher is Mr. Kulkarni. An all-around nice guy, the English teacher really takes our protagonist Devi under his wing. He’s also the soccer coach, which makes him a jock, too.
As seen on: Breaking Bad
And here we get to the portion of the list where things take a really dark turn. But how can we not include Walter White on a list of unforgettable TV teachers? The chemistry teacher turned drug lord used the school’s equipment to cook up meth alongside his former student Jesse Pinkman. So…maybe it’s okay if our kids never take chemistry.
Mr. Richard Belding
As seen on: Saved By the Bell
Okay, sure, Mr. Belding was actually Bayside High’s principal, but he shared plenty of teachable moments with the kids. Let us not forget when his seemingly cooler younger brother, Rod Belding, had a brief stint at the school as a teacher. While Zack, Slater, and the gang thought he was an inspiration, Rod’s inability to follow through on teaching them anything proved that maybe the elder Belding, with his rules and discipline, had been right all along.
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