Whether we like it or not, summer is winding down. And while those of us who are post-grad might not be quite as swept up by back-to-school season (other than hitting up all of the sales, of course) we can surely take a moment to reminisce about our own days in the classroom. And what better way to get nostalgic about our formative years than to celebrate the fictional TV characters who taught us, and their onscreen students, best?
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Scroll down for 11 TV teachers who were so good at their jobs, they have us yearning to get back into the classroom.
1. George Feeny, Boy Meets World
George Feeny’s guidance extended well beyond the classroom, and that made him the ultimate TV teacher. He followed his pupils—Cory Matthews, Topanga Lawrence, and Shawn Hunter—from their middle school days all the way through their college years at Pennbrook University. Not to mention, he was Cory’s next-door neighbor and frequently gave off-hours advice while tending to his garden. Unrealistic? Sure. But Mr. Feeny truly cared about his students, and we would give anything to hear him say “class dismissed” one last time.
2. Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus
The Magic School Bus was an after-school staple for ‘90s kids, and Ms. Frizzle’s field trips were unforgettable. Seriously, the educational show made it fun to learn all things science as the orange-haired teacher took her elementary school class on one adventure after another, exploring venues from the solar system to the human body. If Ms. Frizzle and her truly magical school bus really existed, we’d be the first to in line her class.
3. Will Schuester, Glee
Mr. Schue could teach anything—and he did. The director of William McKinley High’s Glee Club taught Spanish for three seasons of Glee before trying his hand at teaching history. But his real passion was music, and encouraging his students to channel their creativity. His dedication to the school and his mentees was unmatched, and he was ultimately named principal of the school—which, fittingly, became a designated performing arts school.
4. Mr. Kotter, Welcome Back, Kotter
Stand-up comedian Gabe Kotter kept the laughs coming when he took a position teaching a remedial class at his Brooklyn alma mater, James Buchanan High School. And while teaching the underachieving “Sweathogs” would have proved challenging for many, Kotter—a former remedial student himself—found common ground with his pupils and tried to help them reach their full potential.
5. Jess Day, New Girl
With her quirky fashion sense and penchant for singing catchy tunes, Jess Day is the middle school teacher we all wish we had growing up. She’s a total mentor at all times, doesn’t put up with any bullying whatsoever in the classroom, and isn’t afraid to just be herself. Jess eventually became a vice principal before going on to work in adult education. Now, if only we could figure out how to sign up for her class.
6. Mr. Katimski, My So-Called Life
As Liberty High School’s English teacher and head of the Drama Club, Mr. Katimski formed lasting relationships with his students—especially Rickie Vasquez, a gay teen who found himself homeless after his family kicked him out on Christmas Eve. Mr. Katimski, who was also openly gay, ultimately took him in and mentored him. If that wasn’t enough, Mr. Katimski’s iconic and heartfelt line, “Nobody should hate who they are,” is forever engrained in the minds of fans of the short-lived show.
7. Haley James Scott, One Tree Hill
Who would have thought that Tree Hill High’s resident over-achiever Haley James would someday walk the halls as a literature teacher? OK, we all totally saw that one coming—she was literally called “tutor girl” in high school. But once Haley gave up her dream of becoming a professional musician and settled down with her former tutor success story, Nathan Scott, she returned to the place she knew best. Haley was a great mentor and forged lasting relationships with her students before she ultimately left teaching behind and went back to her true passion, music.
8. Lily Aldrin, How I Met Your Mother
If we could do kindergarten over again, we’re pretty sure we’d want Lily Aldrin as our teacher. She might have had her flaws—which included accidentally telling a student that his parents were getting divorced and allowing her friend Barney to vent about his sex life during feelings hour—but Lily really cared about her students and wanted to see them succeed. Plus, it wasn’t Barney’s fault that he thought it was acceptable to open up to Lily’s class about his feelings for Robin. He was holding Feely the Share Bear, after all.
9. Max Medina, Gilmore Girls
True, Max Medina made a few professional missteps when he began dating Lorelai Gilmore, the mom of his student, Rory. But the English teacher was smart and patient, and that made him an easy favorite for the teens at Chilton Preparatory School. While he and Lorelai may not have worked out as a couple, he never let his personal feelings impact his treatment of Rory in the classroom. A real class act, that one.
10. Mark Cooper, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper
A former NBA player, Mark Cooper wasn’t your standard substitute teacher. He was cool and young, and he gave his students great advice when they came to him with their problems. He ultimately landed the full-time gig of basketball coach at the school, much to the students’ (and our) delight.
11. Ezra Fitz, Pretty Little Liars
By no means was Ezra Fitz the perfect teacher. He did strike up a relationship with one of the students in his high school English class, after all. But despite his questionable ethics and obsession with the mystery surrounding his girlfriend’s missing friend, Ezra’s passion for the written word was palpable. It’s for the best that he went on to become a writer and left the classroom behind, but we wouldn’t hate to go back in time and sit in on one of his lectures.