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Kimble, Frizzle, Gilbert: Who is the best fictional teacher?

Albus Dumbledore, Jane Eyre, Ken Barlow: who would you consider to be your favourite fictional teacher? We're asking that very question at the moment – have a look at the survey and vote for your favourite.

In case you're having difficulty making up your mind, we invited people here at TES Towers to pitch for their own favoured candidate.

John Kimble, Kindergarten Cop

Our social media manager Ben, rather appropriately, has chosen to shun words in favour of a YouTube-based pitch. And what a pitch it is. All together now: “Who is your daddy, and what does he do?”


Ms Frizzle, The Magic School Bus

One of our web wizards, Guzen, is – perhaps unsurprisingly – in favour of what she describes as the list’s only “virtual teacher”. “You see her style of teaching; she not only engages the viewers and gamers in practical learning, but she also encourages you to think and question more. Oh, and not forgetting the Magic School Bus that can take you anywhere, of course. Is there any other fictional or virtual teacher able to do that?”

Charles Xavier, X Men

Abigail, our deputy production editor, has taken time out from correcting other people’s words to pen some of her own on a headteacher who really does have the X factor:

“Some may say that Charles Xavier represents a private school elite and, as such, doesn’t deserve to be anyone’s favourite teacher. To which I can only reply: he also embodies all those qualities that we most want to instil into our children – triumph over adversity, standing up to bigotry, intellectual and moral rigour, and hope, no matter how dark the hour.  Plus he can read minds, which must help in enforcing classroom discipline.  The complete teacher?  I think so…” 

Mr Gilbert, The Inbetweeners

Our deputy ed, Deputy Ed, is far from spellbound by Hogwarts’ array of professors. As far as he’s concerned, there’s only one man on the list who he’d describe as wizard…

“Despite his memorable and hilarious sarcasm, and his apparent disregard for his students, Mr Gilbert is very clearly a top, TOP teacher. What a presence the man has. What an understanding of the teenage mind. What a grasp of educational leadership. He’s neither a cute character nor soft – indeed, he could be seen as the anti-Dumbledore – and this should be celebrated by a profession that is all too-often happy to embrace Miss Honey as a standard-bearer. And yet he clearly does care for the wellbeing of his students and their educational achievements. I’d rather have Mr Gilbert run my school than any invention of JK Rowling’s imagination.”


Clément Mathieu, Les Choristes/The Chorus

Another deputy – this time on the resources side of things – Heather knows more than most what makes a great teacher, having been one before leaving for the bright lights of TES. She’s controversially gone for a name that didn’t make the list – sparking the very real possibility of a write-in campaign for teachers left out from the longlist.

“Mathieu’s effect on his former pupils is life-changing, despite his short tenure. He is a teacher who always tries to see the good in people, who works hard to give children confidence in their positive attributes and who transforms his pupils’ behaviour and attitudes for their own benefit, without looking for credit or recognition.”

The Demon Headmaster, The Demon Headmaster

We're not sure if she's under some sort of hypnotic influence, but news reporter Adi is coming to bat for The Demon Headmaster. As she puts it, the mysterious man is "surely who every teacher secretly wants to be". 

"The man can hypnotise his pupils into absolute obedience. All pupils are silent in his school. They absorb information effortlessly. Their uniforms are always perfect. They repeatedly say how marvellous their teachers are and how much they enjoy lessons. They even listen in assembly, for heaven’s sake."

Safety warning: Do not look directly into The Demon Headmaster's eyes. Even over the internet, his powers are great.

Miss Trunchbull, Matilda

Isla, our production editor, hasn't force fed anybody in our office cake. But she's looked like she wanted to on several occasions. Usually on press day. 

"Miss Trunchbull is no-nonsense. She feeds people cake. She hates pigtails. She has an excellent throw – literally a 'strong woman'. What's not to love? OK, she may sometimes go a little overboard, but kids need discipline, right? A vote for Miss Trunchbull is a vote for formidable teachers everywhere."

Ms Norbury, Mean Girls

As for me? There’s only one teacher to go with. Mean Girls is quite rightly celebrated as that rare beast: an accurate depiction of the horror of high-school teenage years. But what is often overlooked is how well drawn the teachers are, too. And none are better drawn than Tina Fey’s Ms Norbury. A recent divorcee, working three jobs to stay afloat, who weathers juvenile accusations of drug pushing, yet who still finds time to mentor students and run extra-curricular activities for her students – tell me you don’t find something to relate to there? Plus she can style out meeting her students in a non-school-based location.

And this is without even mentioning her great advice for young women everywhere:

  • “You all have got to stop calling each other *** and whores. It just makes it OK for guys to call you *** and whores.”
  • “I know having a boyfriend might seem like the only thing important to you right now, but you don't have to dumb yourself down in order for a guy to like you.”

So, go out, bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles, make fetch happen, but – most importantly – vote Norbury.

But our views count for even less than they usually do, because we want to hear from the people best placed to judge fictional teachers: you. Take the survey and let us know who your favourites are – we'll reveal the results in TES in the not too distant future.

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