10 Memorable Teachers from Movies

In movies, most teachers get a bad rap.  It makes sense when you consider the target demographic of many movies that contain teachers is 18-24 year olds.  With this in mind, the celebrity teachers on this movie teachers list  aren’t necessarily the ones you wanted for homeroom – these are the teachers that really stand out….

Jaime Escalante – Stand and Deliver

Unlike the rest of the teachers in this article, Jaime Escalante was a real person. He taught mathematics in Los Angeles for 17 years and successfully motivated his students to study hard and perform well. I had to watch Stand and Deliver when I was in middle school, and as bad as the kids in the movie were, I don’t think Escalante would stand a chance against some of the kids I knew. I distinctly remember one kid placed his penis on the teacher’s desk. True story.

Professor Dave Jennings – Animal House

Professor Jennings is a very bright guy, but he doesn’t get too wrapped up in his work. In fact, he finds Milton as boring as the rest of us do. Have you ever tried to read Paradise Lost? It’s brutal. Anyhow, Jennings is a bit like Mr. Shoop, only darker: he sleeps with his students when he’s not getting them high off marijuana. Speaking of professors and pot:

Professor Turgeson – Back to School

Professor Terguson teaches Contemporary American History at Grand Lakes University and the fact that he’s a Vietnam vet makes him love Thornton Melon’s description of President Truman as a “pussy wimp.” Kinison is a scene-stealer in this role, launching his trademark tirades at his students throughout the film. Say it! Say it!!!!

The Economics Teacher – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Credited only as “Economics Teacher,” Ben Stein’s character in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has a memorable monotone that remains quotable even today. I’m pretty sure Ben Stein wouldn’t be as successful as he is today were it not for his perfect delivery of “Bueller…Bueller…Bueller…”

Detective Kimble – Kindergarten Cop

So his real name is John Kimble, but let’s face it – Arnold plays Arnold in every movie. And if you put Arnold in a classroom full of kindergarteners who speak better English than he does – hilarity is bound to ensue. By the way, just for the record – It’s not a tumor.

John Keating – Dead Poet’s Society

O Captain! My Captain! As English teacher John Keating in Dead Poets Society, Williams plays the English professor I always wanted.

Mr. Hand – Fast Times At Ridgemont High

The archnemesis of Jeff Spicoli, Mr. Hand is a strict disciplinarian who teaches American History at Ridgemont High. Even though he can be a total dick at times (like when he gives away Spicoli’s pizza to the rest of the class), Mr. Hand does care about his students, and even informs Spicoli that he’ll probably let him squeak by. By the end of the movie, Mr. Hand is convinced that everyone is on dope.

Mr. Garrison – South Park

In the South Park movie, Mr. Garrison is a man, but fans of the show know that he’s been a woman at times, too. Mr. Garrison loves men, openly discusses sex with his students, and most of the time can be found with Mr. Hat on his right hand. South Park wouldn’t be the same without the guidance of Mr. Garrison, and even Satan himself is a huge fan of Mr. Hat.

Freddy Shoop – Back to School

Mr. Shoop is easily one of the coolest teachers ever. He’s not the best — because at first, he doesn’t really give a sh*t about his job — but he definitely knows how to have a good time. He approves a field trip to the beach, hosts a giant party at his home, and even lets one of his female students move in with him. And yet, somehow, his class passes the English basic skills exam, even the guy who got his zipper stuck in the bathroom for the entire summer (in fact, I think he got the highest grade).

Dewey Finn – The School of Rock

Personally I thought this was one of Jack Black’s best roles.  Of course he wasn’t Dewey Finn as a teacher.  He was Mr. Schneebly (or however you spell it).   “I’ve touched your kids!  And I’m pretty sure they’ve touched me!”

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  1. He’s not exactly memorable as a “teacher” (in fact, I can only remember one or two movie scenes where he’s actually in class), but Dr. Henry Jones Jr. certainly is one when he’s not archaeologisting. That’s right bitches, I coined a new word.

  2. Though it was only a small part in the movie, I love the part in Catch Me if You Can where Leonardo pretends to be the substitute teacher for his High School class.

    What about Indiana Jones? Is there a better Professor in the world than Dr. Jones?

  3. I like the list, but there is one I definitely would have included and that is Principal Joe Clark from the movie “Lean On Me”. That man was awesome.

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