5. Mr. G – Summer Heights High
Summer Heights High is an Australian mockumentary that gained a lot of attention when it aired in 2007. Created by Chris Lilly, who plays three characters (including the one highlighted here), it was a parody of high school life that included non-actors as background players.
The character of Mr. G is an effeminate 37-year-old drama teacher at the school who believes he’s extremely well liked – so he’s somewhat of a dramatic Australian Michael Scott.
While he might not be as kind as the aforementioned teachers, he definitely has a passion behind the musical he wants to produce at school – based on a student’s unfortunate death based on drugs, yet somehow named Mr. G: The Musical.
Good news, everyone! Every list of great teachers deserves one mad scientist. While a bit senile, the Professor has put at least one parallel universe in peril with his inventions – yet he never let the bad days take away his dream of being the best scientist out there. (Hear that, Odgen Wernstrom? He’s just not giving up.)
Farnsworth makes the list because while being a bit dim, he has helped the crew during many an episode. While I unpopularly love the “Jurassic Bark” episode where Fry tries to rejuvenate a mummified version of his loving dog Seymour, it’s Farnsworth who creates the device to make it possible.
(And it fails because of Bender. I won’t explain it further, as I’ve been near tears since the start of that second paragraph.) (It’s just an emotional episode, okay?)
7. Dewey Finn – School of Rock
I always liked Jack Black, but School of Rock is one of his projects that has impressed me the most. When he’s kicked out of his band in the beginning of the movie and threatened to be evicted by his two roommates, Ned and Patty, based on his lack of a job, Dewey pretends he’s Ned on the phone and accepts a substitute teacher assignment. While not being fit to teach kids, his interest in the classroom grows once he realizes his students are musically talented.
Long story short, the kids form a secret band with Dewey and end up kicking a lot of butt at a Battle of the Bands. And while their parents are ticked off at Dewey for not teaching their children academic studies and for running away from them to play a show, they realize he’s harmless and the kids are having an amazing time.
8. Syrio Forel – Game Of Thrones
Sure, Syrio wasn’t on the show for long, but his amazing fencing skills were passed onto everyone’s favorite character, the young Arya Stark. Syrio trained Arya using wooden swords filled with lead, and also mentored her on how to think like a warrior: to be perceptive, move with grace, and command her fear.
While Syrio’s teachings may have lead to a lot of bruises, (as he says, every hurt is a lesson and every lesson makes you better), Arya refuses to learn under anyone else.
In turn, Arya turned out to be one of the most fearless members of the Stark family.
9. Lily Aldrin – How I Met Your Mother
Lily makes some questionable choices as a teacher and might have badmouthed a few of her students while trying to figure out a baby name with her husband Marshall, but she’s a tough little firecracker who seems content with her job. I mean, with activities like coloring, finger painting, show and tell, nap time and sharing, what’s there to be sad about?
Lily also has a Career Day, where she brings some of her buddies (Robin and Barney) in to talk about what they do for a living. As a running gag, it’s still never revealed as to what Barney does for a living. Instead of writing it on the chalkboard under his name, all it said was “not the purple one”.
10. Prof. Grady Tripp – Wonder Boys
First thing’s first – if you’ve never seen this movie, please do. This was back when Tobey Maguire was still boyishly cute, and not in the midst of a scary dangerous Seabiscuit weight plummet. But this is about Grady – played by the wonderful Michael Douglas.
Grady is so influential as an English professor that Tobey’s character, James Leer, uses him as a mentor without him every officially accepting the job. Grady’s also a writer, working on a follow-up to a best selling novel. And as many writers who feel the pressure of their second big hit, which has been in an “incomplete” status for many years, there’s a sadness in Grady.
While he might not make all of the right personal choices, Grady isn’t jarring or dimwitted – he’s human, and quite an amazing character.
Who makes your list of top teachers? Do you have any teachers you’d like to give props to in the comments? We’d love to hear about some of the strong people who’ve taught and inspired you!