The Most Memorable Teachers in Pop Culture

From Mr. Feeny to Miss Honey, these fictional teachers made us wish we were their students

01 of 21

Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World

WILLIAM DANIELS
ABC Photo Archives/ABC/Getty

Cue the "Feeny Call!"

Though most kids might dread having a teacher for a neighbor, Mr. Feeny, played by William Daniels, was the exception to the rule. The beloved teacher managed to become a mentor, friend, and trusted advice-giver to Cory Matthews.

Just try not to tear up thinking about the Boy Meets World finale, in which Mr. Feeny tells his students, "I love you all. Class dismissed."

02 of 21

Manish Kulkarni from Never Have I Ever

UTKARSH AMBUDKAR
Netflix

Everyone wants one cool teacher who knows when you give you a hard time and when to show you some support. Mr. Kulkarni (Utkarsh Ambudkar) isn't afraid to tell it like it is to Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), and we love him for it.

03 of 21

Miss Honey from Matilda

Embeth Davidtz
TriStar Pictures/ Everett Collection

With a name like Miss Honey, this iconic teacher (played by Embeth Davidtz) was bound to be sweet. Dedicated to giving her students a happy place to learn and nourish their (at times telekinetic) talents, we would have braved The Chokey if it meant we got to be in her class. Plus, she could rock a pair of overalls like it was nobody's business.

04 of 21

Economics Teacher

Ben Stein
Paramount Pictures/Alamy

The real-life version of the "wah wah" teacher from Peanuts, Ferris Bueller's never-named economics teacher (played by real-life economist Ben Stein) cemented his status as an education icon thanks to his memorably droning roll call: "Bueller...Bueller...Bueller."

05 of 21

Professor McGonagall from the Harry Potter Movies

Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows Part 2
Dame Maggie Smith in the Harry Potter series .

Let's be real, the teachers at Hogwarts were a truly mixed bag, but when it came to her craft, Professor McGonagall (played by Maggie Smith) was a boss witch.

06 of 21

Jaime Escalante from Stand and Deliver

Edward James Olmos
Warner Bros./ Everett

Stand and Deliver is based on the true story of high school math teacher Jaime Escalante (portrayed by Edward James Olmos), who managed to teach his students — who were below grade level and behind in math — calculus through determination and hard work.

07 of 21

Dewey Finn (A.K.A. Mr. Schneebly) from School Of Rock

SCHOOL OF ROCK
Paramount

While Jack Black's iconic School of Rock character was just impersonating a teacher, he proved that sometimes the greatest lessons we learn aren't the ones that have to do with reading, writing and arithmetic. Sometimes, you just need to be taught that you're not hardcore until you live hardcore.

08 of 21

Sister Mary Clarence from Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit

Whoopi Goldberg
Suzanne Hanover/Touchstone/Kobal/Shutterstock

In Sister Act 2, Whoopi Goldberg reprises her role as nightclub singer-turned-undercover-nun "Sister Mary Clarence" and turns a group of uninspired teens at a failing school into a full-on, competition-winning choir.

Did you know that the movie is loosely based on the life of Iris Stevenson, a real-life high school music teacher?

09 of 21

Ms. Norbury from Mean Girls

Mean Girls, Tina Fey | She's good with numbers, she has Liz Lemon's sharp tongue, and she's a pusher — meaning that she'll always drive you to be all that…

Teaching us the art of calculus and how to handle a few nasty rumors, Tina Fey's Mean Girl's character Ms. Norbury also managed to teach the young ladies of North Shore High a thing or two about respecting each other and themselves (and all before they had to be released at 4:00 p.m.)!

10 of 21

John Keating from Dead Poets Society

DEAD POETS SOCIETY
Rex USA

O Captain! My Captain! Robin Williams' performance in Dead Poets Society is one worth standing on a desk for. The free-spirited and inspirational private school teacher encouraged his students to seize the day and "make [their] lives extraordinary." If that's not good teaching we're not sure what is.

11 of 21

Ms. Frizzle from The Magic Schoolbus

THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS
Nelvana / Everett

A magical school bus that takes you on adventure after adventure wouldn't be the same without Ms. Frizzle at the helm!

12 of 21

Joe Clark from Lean on Me

Morgan Freeman
Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett

Sure, Morgan Freeman's character to Lean on Me was based on a real-life principal and not a teacher, but he taught plenty of lessons along the way — to students and staff alike. Dubbed "Crazy Joe" for his strict and unorthodox measures, Clark clearly cared for his students and their success, and helped them keep their school, which was under threat of being closed down unless 75% of the students could pass the New Jersey Minimum Basic Skills Test.

13 of 21

Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights

Connie Britton
Paul Drinkwater/ NBCUniversal via Getty

Yes, Connie Britton technically played a principal, but no one cared for Dillon High School and those kids quite like Tami Taylor. She was willing to get in the middle of those die-hard football fans and do what was right, and man, do we (and Coach Taylor) love her for it.

Also, it's impossible to name a principal with better hair.

14 of 21

Jessica Day from New Girl

Zooey Deschanel
FOX Image Collection via Getty

The New Girl character was unapologetically passionate about her students (and crafts!) which made her the best teacher. I mean, imagine having quirky, fun-loving Jessica Day (played by Zooey Deschanel) as your teacher! Then, imagine her bringing in her roommates, Nick, Winston, Schmidt and Coach for career day.

15 of 21

Lydia Grant from Fame

Fame
Debbie Allen on Fame.

Debbie Allen played dance teacher Lydia Grant in both the movie and TV show versions of Fame. In both, she taught at New York City High School for the Performing Arts and delivered some pretty epic lines to her students including, "You want fame? Well, fame costs, and right here's where you start paying in sweat."

Allen also notably choreographed the show and film!

16 of 21

Katherine Ann Watson from Mona Lisa Smile

Julia Roberts
Columbia/ Everett

We love a feminist icon! In Mona Lisa Smile Julia Robert plays the Wellesley College professor, who teaches the women in her class that they can be more than just wives and mothers, and encourages them to "see the world through new eyes."

17 of 21

Dr. Joshua Larabee from Akeelah and the Bee

Laurence Fishburne
Lions Gate/Everett

English professor Dr. Joshua Larabee (Laurence Fishburne) coaches Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer) to becoming Scripps National Spelling Bee champion in Akeelah and the Bee. What we love about him is that he wasn't perfect, but he was D-E-D-I-C-A-T-E-D to seeing his student win.

18 of 21

Miss Bliss from Good Morning, Miss Bliss

Hayley Mills
Disney Channel/Everett Collection

Before there was Saved By The Bell, there was Good Morning Miss Bliss, which saw our favorites from Bayside High (famously in California) being, taught by the kind, wise titular character (played by Hayley Mills) at John F. Kennedy Junior High in Indianapolis.

19 of 21

Mr. G from Summer Heights High

Chris Lilley
Princess Pictures/HBO / Everett Collection

Chris Lilley's over-the-top drama teacher from Summer Heights High is at the top of our "dream educators" list. Sure, he's not the greatest at actually teaching, but you can't tell us that you wouldn't spend 99% of your time in Mr. G's class laughing.

20 of 21

Mr. Holland from Mr. Holland's Opus

Richard Dreyfuss
Buena Vista/ Everett

If you don't cry when music teacher Mr. Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) is greeted by his former students at the end of Mr. Holland's Opus who remind him that his legacy is the students he helped along the way, I have one question: Are you a robot?!

21 of 21

Veronica Vaughn from Billy Madison

Bridgette Wilson
universal/ Everett

Can you imagine signing up to teach elementary school and then being tasked with teaching a man-child (who won't stop hitting on you) instead? Regardless, Billy Madison's Veronica Vaughn (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras) encourages all of her students, even the movie's titular, aforementioned man-child, played by Adam Sandler, and teaches him some life lessons along the way.

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