Five fictional teachers you shouldn't try to emulate

3rd June 2016 at 10:02
It seemed like a good idea when you were bingeing on Netflix

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES USA on Twitter and like TES USA on Facebook.​​

Every teacher has done it: looked at a heroic portrayal of the profession on screen and nodded knowingly to themselves, "I could do that." But, as any philosophy graduate (or your students) can tell you, what we perceive isn't necessarily what others see. Here are five teachers you might try to emulate. And the likely reactions of your students:

  1. Mr. Keating – Dead Poets Society
    You think: You don't play by the rules: you're a maverick renegade who only has to answer to your two muses of Creativity and Inspiration. Your students would follow you to the ends of the earth (or until credits roll, whichever comes first).
    Your students think: Why are we standing on our desks again? 
  2. Miss Honey – Matilda
    You think: Your gentle nature and visible love for learning has earned you the respect and sweet adoration of your students, who recognize that you're trying your hardest to care for them in a system designed to spite them.
    Your students think: Pushover. Will buy her a bunch of flowers at the end of the year, though.
  3. Ms. Frizzle – The Magic School Bus
    You think: Every lesson is a WOW lesson and every day is an amazing adventure. Oh, the places you'll go will put all the other teachers in your school to shame. In years to come, your classes will still turn to each other and say, "Do you remember that Monday when…"
    Your students think: Oh nooo...she's got her freaking guitar out again…
  4. Sister Mary Clarence – Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit
    You think: You're hip. You're with it. You're totally down with the kids and your gritty street-smart realism will break through their tough façade so that together you can go on to win that choir championship. Or sports championship. Really, whatever championship. As long as you can belt out gospel covers when you win.
    Your students think: Try, much? Anyway, who are these All Saints she keeps talking about and what does it mean if something's "totally rad"? And what's up with all the singing in PE?
  5. Elizabeth Halsey - Bad Teacher
    We don't know what you're thinking, because this is a terrible, terrible idea. (We said heroic portrayal, remember?)


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today