10 Fictional Teachers We Wish We Had

We’ve all had teachers who changed our lives, or at least the way we see the world. But aren’t you curious to know what it would be like to be taught by some of the most iconic, though fictional, teachers of all time? From high school teachers in middle America to larger than life professors in film and literature, here are 10 teachers we wish we’d had.

  1. Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr., Indiana Jones: Besides his dashing good looks, Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr., or Indiana Jones, is a true adventurer who isn’t afraid to get down and dirty for his work. Who wouldn’t want to tag along on one of Jones’ crazy trips around the world? Dr. Jones proves that studying ancient civilizations and digging up dusty old artifacts isn’t boring at all.
  2. John Keating, Dead Poets Society: Robin Williams played John Keating in Dead Poets Society, the new, non-conformist teacher at the all boys’ Welton Academy. Keating, who teaches English, transforms the typical curriculum by taking the boys outside, asking to be called "O Captain, My Captain!" and inspiring his students to start a literary club. Keating serves as a mentor and academic tutor that the boys worship, even though their parents and administrators feel differently.
  3. Ms. Norbury, Mean Girls: Ms. Norbury, played by Tina Fey, is Lindsay Lohan’s dorky, down-and-out math teacher in Mean Girls. She has to work at a bar in a mall to make ends meet, is in the middle of a divorce, and is even the subject of a cruel rumor that accuses her of being a drug dealer. Ms. Norbury, though, is a "pusher," and gives even her meanest students a second chance. Plus, she helps Lohan’s character escape her grounding punishment and make it to the Spring Fling.
  4. Dr. Ross Geller, Friends: David Schwimmer’s Dr. Ross Geller on the major TV hit Friends was kind of a dork about dinosaurs, but he still managed to land the hottest girls on the show — including a student — and even got to present his thesis at a convention in Barbados. Ross was a complete softie, totally adorable, and wholly passionate about his love of paleontology.
  5. Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting: Robin Williams plays another teacher we’d love to have, this time a community college professor in Good Will Hunting. Williams’ character, Sean Maguire, counsels Matt Damon’s Will Hunting — a young janitor genius from Maguire’s old neighborhood — and helps him heal from his abusive childhood, open himself up to a realistic romantic relationship, and understand that his intelligence is a gift that he has a right to be proud of.
  6. Professor Robert Langdon, The Da Vinci Code: Dr. Robert Langdon, the principal character in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, is a professor of religious iconology and symbology at Harvard. The quietly clever and analytical Langdon, also played by Tom Hanks in the movie version, seems to be an open-minded, chronically curious teacher who is humble, highly intelligent, and passionate about his work. Plus, if he really liked you, you might get to travel as his research assistant on adventures around the world.
  7. Professor Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter: If Professor Dumbledore was your headmaster, you wouldn’t just be a lucky student, you’d also be a wizard. But if you brought Dumbledore into the real world, you’d have a caring mentor who respects his students and helps them succeed in their personal lives as well as in their academic pursuits.
  8. Professor Roy Hinkley, Gilligan’s Island: Better known as just The Professor, Roy Hinkley on Gilligan’s Island was virtually the only potential love interest for Mary Ann and Ginger, and usually the only character who came close to finding a way off the island. His seeming encyclopedic mind would come in quite useful, and we’d love to have the patient, strapping (but dense) professor on hand if we were trying to solve any kind of difficult problem, shipwrecked or otherwise.
  9. Professor Charles Kingsfield, The Paper Chase: Although Professor Kingsfield is seen as a sort of villain, or at least a bully, in The Paper Chase novel and film, he’s a driving source of inspiration, ambition and personal development for the story’s main character John Jay Osborn, Jr. The Harvard Law contracts professor is practically a dictator and ends up being the father of Osborn’s new girlfriend, but he’s also admired for his work ethic and own professional achievements.
  10. Katherine Ann Waston, Mona Lisa Smile: Katherine Ann Watson is an art history teacher from Oakland, CA, who travels across the country to teach the most privileged girls in the country at Wellesley. She is accused of being too liberal among the socially conservative administration and alumni, but many of the students come to appreciate her progressive thinking. Watson is almost too harsh in her criticism of Wellesley, but she is ultimately open to accepting the fact that some of her students feel comfortable reconciling domesticity with higher education.

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