There are various reasons why many of us decided to become teachers. In every college education class I took, the very first question the professor asked us is why have you decided to become a teacher. All the other students took the question very seriously and would eloquently speak of some life-changing event that led them into the wonderful world of education. When it came time for my answer, I would say quite casually, “Well, I saw the movie Kindergarten Cop, and I decided if Arnold could do it, then I could do it, too.”
This would always receive a laugh from the rest of the class, but then later on a classmate would often tell me in confidence that they, too, were inspired by someone from television or film who was acting as a teacher. Perhaps some of these shows should be required viewing for those thinking about becoming a teacher. They can display the good and the bad of teaching, and can often demonstrate what makes a great teacher. Below is a list of classic television teachers who no doubt influenced numerous future educators.
The Facts of Life: Mrs. Edna Garrett
If you were a fan of late 70s and early 80s television, you probably fondly remember Mrs. Garrett. While not technically an educator on Facts of Life, she was constantly being a teacher for Blair, Jo, Tootie, and Natalie. The show had Mrs. Garrett working at Eastland Academy in, Peekskill, New York. She demonstrated effectively what makes a great teacher. She was often very loving with the girls, even referring to them as like daughters, but she could be scarily tough as well. Her voice when she was angry on the show was just a bit frightening.
Welcome Back, Kotter: Mr. Kotter
Mr. Kotter is one of the most recognized television teachers of all time. The background story for the show was that Gabe Kotter was just hired to become a teacher at his old high school. He was not a good student himself and often caused problems, but somehow he ended up as an educator. Because of this, karma came knocking. He was put in charge of a classroom full of underachieving, rowdy, wisecracking, and incorrigible students. They were known as the Sweathogs. Kotter would handle everything with a sense of humor, but also made his students realize he expected more from them. I feel this is a teaching style that many of us have adopted. Also, I guarantee you every teacher who has watched this classic show has had some student in their career that reminded them of Horshack.
Breaking Bad: Walter White
Breaking Bad became a cultural phenomenon when it aired on AMC from 2008 to 2013. While we don’t often get to see Walter White teaching in his classroom, he does put his love of science to use during the last couple years of his life. He was able to show his brilliance in other ways outside of the classroom. If nothing else, this show demonstrated that many teachers have a secret private life that is kept hidden from their students.
Good Morning, Miss Bliss: Miss Bliss
Good Morning, Miss Bliss was only on for one season in the late 80s, but it was basically the first season of the iconic Saved By the Bell. There were a few major differences between the shows though. Saved by the Bell was set in California and Miss Bliss was taking place in Indiana. Slater, Kelly, and Jessie were not in the Miss Bliss season. But the biggest difference was that Good Morning, Miss Bliss was centered around the teacher, appropriately named Miss Bliss. She was the caring, thoughtful, British-accented teacher that we all wished we had when we were younger. She exhibited to others exactly what made a perfect teacher, much better than Mr. Belding’s brother Rod a few years later.
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Written by Ryan Crawley
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