Our Most Favorite Fictional Teachers of All Time
Of COURSE McGonagall makes the list. She can turn into a cat, for crying out loud.
Erica Silverstein · 5 months ago
Wizarding World | Warner Brothers
If teachers are heroes, then the most beloved teachers of literature and film are superheroes. These larger-than-life educators use magic, innovation, and good old-fashioned heart to make a difference in the lives of their students — and of the readers and viewers who are along for the ride. If you’ve ever waved your Hogwarts house flag or imagined your school bus could fly, raise your hand as we present big, red apples to our most favorite fictional teachers of all time.
1. Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus series
She’s got wild hair, even wilder dresses, and a pet lizard, and she brings new meaning to “hands-on, interactive learning.” Yes, it’s Ms. Valerie Frizzle, who teams up with a magic school bus to take her upper-elementary school students on the best field trips ever. While our school field trips took us to the theater or the aquarium, Ms. Frizzle takes her class inside the human body, into the depths of the ocean and outer space, and back to the time of the dinosaurs. School is never boring when The Friz is in charge.
2. Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter series
You have to respect a teacher who can literally turn you into a toad if you act up in her class. Professor Minerva McGonagall teaches Transfiguration at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but her coolness doesn’t end there. She can turn herself into a cat, is not afraid to duel with Death Eaters, and is a rabid sports fan. Plus, despite her stern demeanor, she definitely has a soft spot for her Gryffindor students.
3. Miss Nelson, Miss Nelson is Missing
Miss Nelson is a teacher with moxie. When her students misbehave, she doesn’t stick them with detention — oh, no. Instead, she transforms into her evil alter-ego, Miss Viola Swamp, and begins a substitute reign of terror in her classroom! Once her students are begging for mercy, she returns, all sweet and innocent, to be adored by her cowed and suddenly well-behaved class. Now that takes chutzpah.
4. Miss Stacey, Anne of Green Gables
A lady teacher? How shocking! All feminists-in-training will cheer for Miss Stacey, who can command the chaos of a one-room schoolhouse and breathe new life into Avonlea’s educational system with field trips and concerts. She gently encourages her students to reach their full potential and expand their horizons, while forgiving them their quirks and faults. Anne feels that Miss Stacey truly sees her — and isn’t that what we all want in a teacher?
5. Mr. Brunner/Chiron, Percy Jackson series
Any teacher who can inspire the dyslexic kid with ADHD to try harder in Latin class gets our vote for awesomest educator. Yancy Academy’s Mr. Brunner tells funny stories, plays games with his students, and schedules “tournament days” when he comes to class in a suit of armor (complete with real weapons) and grills the kids on their knowledge of classical gods and heroes. But wait — it gets better! Mr. Brunner is actually the centaur Chiron and his trusty grading pen transforms with a click into a monster-slaying sword. Armed with more than grammar flashcards, he trains Percy to do battle with centuries-old villains and match wits with the gods. Sign us up for that P.E. class.
6. Miss Honey, Matilda
Any teacher at Crunchem Hall who isn’t the dictatorial, child-tossing Agatha Trunchbull would be primed to be your favorite. But Miss Honey is truly as sweet as her name would suggest. Despite the trials and tribulations of her youth, she is a kind and caring teacher, one who can see the potential in students like Matilda and will find ways to support them. If you’ve ever wanted your school teacher to adopt you at the end of the term, you’ll understand why Miss Honey was a shoe-in for our list.
7. Dr. Cosmic, Mad Scientist Academy series
Imagine your teacher was a crazy inventor, and you and your classmates were the guinea pigs who got to beta-test his creations. That would make for an insane day at school, amiright? Mad Scientist Academy’s Dr. Cosmic is just that teacher, accidentally trapping his class inside his version of Jurassic Park and later in a hyper-realistic planetarium. It’s a good thing his instructional handbooks are so good because his students’ lives depend on them.
8. Teacher Harriet, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
Give it up for preschool teachers. They’re incredible at staying calm, soft-spoken, and loving while their little charges have irrational meltdowns over the most inconsequential disputes. Teacher Harriet is the platonic ideal of a preschool teacher, helping Daniel and his friends use their imaginations and teaching them life lessons through ear-worm songs. Ugga mugga, Teacher Harriet.
9. Mr. Browne, Wonder
Mr. Browne is a bit like Confucius with all of his wise sayings, which he calls precepts: Choose kind. Your deeds are your monuments. Follow the day and reach for the sun. He knows that school is about learning who you are as much as learning about literary classics. With his monthly essays, he encourages his students to be better, more compassionate people, which is not always easy for the characters in Wonder. We all could use a teacher like that — especially one played by Daveed Diggs in the movie version.
10. Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather, Sofia the First
It takes a very special kind of educator to teach a bunch of privileged princes and princesses. These royal kids live in towering palaces and spend their free time cavorting with talking animals and riding flying horses. How could school hold a candle to that? Hence, the headmistresses of Enchancia’s Royal Prep are fairies, specifically the colorful Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather. They teach the future kings and queens to rule with wisdom and kindness — as well as how to dance, fence, give diplomatic orations, and use magical charms — all while fluttering about in the air. That’s what we call a liberal arts education.