Top 5 Teachers from TV or Movies!

Today’s list is Top 5 Teachers from TV and Movies. Obviously the text book definition of a teacher is someone who imparts knowledge onto someone else, so a teacher can really be any one. But for today’s list, we are going to try to stay with the more school oriented teachers…or teachers that hail from Dagobah.

My sister submitted this list (which was her idea) and I think she really wants to try to stay with the standard classroom style teacher. You will be able to tell that from her list. I will be taking teacher in the more literal sense…my favorite teachers of knowledge regardless of where that knowledge is taught. It might be in a pit class at Princeton Plainsboro or on a lake in district 5, but some of the best lessons we ever get in life are taught out of the classroom anyway.

My sister, Katie Leinenkugel, is today’s guest lister. She is currently living in Dallas and is a first grade teacher. Here is her introduction and list:

I have officially finished my first year of teaching and after just one year I have a whole new respect for the profession that is teaching.  I cringe thinking about the torture I undoubtedly put some of my teachers through as a student because I now know firsthand the kind of patience and acceptance (of germs, tears, and scary bathroom situations) it takes to care for 23 6-year-olds on a daily basis.  Since I can only choose five I want to give out some honorable mentions.  Professor Keating from Dead Poet’s Society, Ms. Norbary from Mean Girls, and Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell were all highly considered.  So here is my ode to teachers from television and movies– You deserve a lot more credit than you get.

1. Roberta Guaspari – The subject of my all-time favorite movie, Music of the Heart, and inspirational Harlem teacher, Roberta Guaspari is the definition of the kind of teacher I want to be.  She teaches underprivileged youth in New York City and starts a violin program, which is still standing today.  Meryl Streep is amaze as Roberta and does not let anything or anyone get in her way.  It’s a tearjerker every time I watch it but SO inspiring! Keep an eye out for an Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas violin program starting up soon!

2. Miranda Bailey – This hilarious and accidentally-witty doctor is one of the best teachers on television.  She allows absolutely zero shenanigans to fly on her hospital surgical floor or in her OR.  She is a straight pistol– blunt, even rude, at times and definitely one of the best characters and actors on Grey’s Anatomy.  Scrub caps off to you, Doctor Bailey.

3. Professor Minerva McGonagall – Minerva has the tiger teacher thing down to a science.  She is everything a good teacher should be: a mentor, a motivator, and a friend.  She is loyal to her administration and her students which makes her loved by all- except the dementors but that’s whatever. Plus, she enjoyed a good butterbeer and what teacher doesn’t need a beer every now and then (everyday).  10 points for Professor McGonagall.

4. Ezra Fitz – I’m going to be completely honest and admit that Ezra Fitz is only on my list because of what he looks like. This guy met one of his future high-school students in a bar.  Clearly not the sharpest tool in the shed since he didn’t figure out that she was about 16 years old.  Pretty Little Liars played with all of our heartstrings when they made Ezra Fitz the hottest high school English teacher in history.  I would have DIED to have a teacher like that in high school.  A+, Mr. Fitz.

Ezra Fitz

5. Miss Jennifer Honey – Miss Honey from Matilda is the beloved teacher that helped fight her awful Aunt, Ms. Trunchbull.  What a magical story from most of our childhoods.  She made us all believe that a teacher was supposed to support your dreams and wishes no matter what, the way she believed in Matilda’s superpowers.  Everyone during the Matilda era wished that their next teacher would be Ms. Honey and I was no exception.

Miss Honey

That is Katie’s list. Good list sister! Here is my list to go along with it:

1. Dr. Gregory House – Lost in the pill popping, cane walking, smart ass retorts and childish pranks is the fact that this man is a teacher. He is a teacher at Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital and the show starts with Chase, Cameron and Foreman as interns to learn about diagnostics from the best diagnostician there is. Like I said, he might be a little childish, but he is a hell of a teacher. He certainly subscribes to tough love and go do it yourself, and it affects his team and the people in his life in different ways. House is a child until someone’s life is on the line, then he will seclude himself with a whiteboard and a tennis ball (or some other toy) and try to the connect the dots that will lead to a diagnosis. House is a man obsessed with the truth of the world but most of the time can never face the truth about himself. Perhaps the best episode of the show takes place when House teaches a pit class and recounts three separate stories of how patients hurt their legs.

Dr. House

2. Yoda – Wise, old, and powerful, when you are 900 years old, look as good as Yoda you will not. Sure, maybe he talks funny (Yoda, for the most part, speaks in object – subject – verb word order) but he gets his message across to avoid things like Anger, Fear and Aggression. Yoda, like House, shows a childish side when we first meet him as he raids Luke’s camp, but when he realizes that the Son of Skywalker is there to learn, he turns serious. He ends up training Luke Skywalker, the savior of the Jedi Order. Done good work you have, Yoda.

Yoda in the middle of a lesson with Luke

3. Gordon Bombay – Lawyer who made one mistake that changed his life for the better. After being arrested for drunk driving, Gordon Bombay was sentenced to community service where he was forced to coach District 5 hockey team. He took a bunch of scrubs and made them into pee-wee hockey champions earning the nickname “The Minnesota Miracle Man” in the process. He earns the respect and trust of the kids as he teaches them how to skate, how to work as a team and that soft hands can pass eggs on the ice like they were pucks. Perhaps in the process, he learns more from the kids and learns about himself. I know you thought you had a chance at the pro’s Gordon, but your true calling was the kids…and beating Wolfe “The Dentist” Stannson in 1v1 matchup! Also, where can I buy a pair of Air Bombay Loafers? For kids who want to coach.

Gordon Bombay

4. Master Splinter – Good old Hamto Yoshi. You try to teach four, teenage ninjas how to coexist in a small sewer with one another…oh yea, and they are mutant turtles. Splinter, who is a mutant rat, was the calming, teaching force of these four teenage turtles that protected New York City from people like Krang, Baxter Stockman, and of course Shredder (who, by the way, was voiced by Uncle Phil from the Fresh Prince of Bel-air. Just saying.) Shredder follows and instills in his students a strict code of honor. Splinter is accepting of his students different personalities, but also not afraid to punish them. He is respected by his students, and once in a blue moon, can let loose and have some fun with them. (I think this is a theme for my teachers. They need to be able to relate to the people they are teaching and be able to have fun, but the best teachers are the ones that can reign in the class when necessary to achieve the goals that need to be achieved.)


5. Hank Moody – Ok, so maybe the guy isn’t the best teacher at all. And while most people like to jump on him immediately as a womanizer or something like that, I think we can learn a lot from Hank. He is only a teacher for one season, but he plays a reluctant mentor role to people throughout the show. Hank is probably up there with the most childish people in general. He is an infantile intellectual. He is a genius at his craft, he has all the talent in the world and his flaw is that he tends to waste it. This kills the people around him as they watch him sink into depression. But for some reason, there are so many times where people seek out his advice, and he always seems to drop the act of “who cares” and gives them exactly what they need to hear. Hank can teach us about hope, false or otherwise, and he teaches the people around him that sometimes your paper on vampires suck and you need to pick up and try again. Hank has a ton to learn about himself, but as a writer, he seems to have the human condition down. I hope for his sake he can learn to apply his lessons to himself before time runs out.

Hank Moody

That is my list. Join in down in the comments section with your own teacher list! They can be in the classroom or out in the world, but either way, we should respect our teachers. A quick shout out to some teachers that I had that inspired me: Thomas Shannon, Laura Jean Baker, my aunts, my friends that have since become teachers, and perhaps my greatest teachers, my parents.

Leave a comment


  1. HAHAHA this is a great list! Hilarious and fresh. I agree with most of your choices, too! I watched Music of the heart and cried too :'( It was so, so good. Sigh. And Mr. Fitz does look hot. And Matilda was my favorite book when I was about eight. I read it at least seventeen times, I think, haha! Ms. Honey is awesome :) Harry Potter was and still is my favorite series, although I have to say my favorite teacher from that series is remus lupin. But, whatever you say! :D

  2. Brian

     /  July 17, 2012

    1. Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World.

  3. Reblogged this on thetop5five and commented:

    My sister Katie, who was featured in this article, started a program at her school to teach kids the Violin. She is raising money for her program. They currently have 4 violins but have 20 kids that want to play. Please help them out by checking out her fundraising page here:

  1. Update: Best Fictional Teacher! « thetop5five
  2. Toplist: Best Fictional Teachers! « thetop5five

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