A Look Back at Some of Our Favorite Movie Teachers

May 8, 2018 · CLASSMATES FUN

Like you probably have, we’ve watched a ton of movies over the years that have had memorable teachers. Whether the central plot is school-related or they’re more of a peripheral part of the story, these characters captured our attention and have stuck with us.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Day, we’d like to present some of our favorite movie teachers!

Mr. Hand, as portrayed by Ray Walston (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1982)

As much as we laugh at the antics of Jeff Spicoli, we always love Mr. Hand and his sarcastic comebacks. (“Yes, it is our time. Mine, yours and everyone else’s.”)

Economics teacher, as portrayed by Ben Stein (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986)

It’s apparent that this guy isn’t a very good teacher. We never even learn his name. But, thanks to him, we’ll always remember the phrase “voodoo economics.”

Norman Dale, as portrayed by Gene Hackman (Hoosiers, 1986)

Dale is a teacher, but, more importantly, he is the new basketball coach. What he manages to help his tiny team achieve is incredibly inspiring and full of heart.

Freddy Shoop, as portrayed by Mark Harmon (Summer School, 1987)

This is the kind of teacher a lot of us probably wanted when we were in high school: Fun-loving, laid-back, and willing to give students a LOT of leeway. In the end, he even manages to successfully pass knowledge on to his band of summer school misfits.

John Keating, as portrayed by Robin Williams (Dead Poets Society, 1989)

English instructor Keating’s “carpe diem” philosophy propels the characters to take chances and be true to themselves. It’s nearly impossible to watch him in action and not be inspired.

John Kimble, as portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Kindergarten Cop, 1990)

As an undercover detective, Kimble makes a reluctant and initially awkward kindergarten teacher. But he soon finds his own way, and his rapport with the kids is hilarious and heartwarming.

Dewey Finn, as portrayed by Jack Black (School of Rock, 2003)

Although he doesn’t follow the assigned curriculum (and starts out with a distinctly self-serving goal), Finn manages to make the most of his substitute teaching gig. As a teacher, he’s unorthodox and undisciplined but very entertaining. And he clearly knows music. We can never hear “Immigrant Song” without seeing Finn’s enthusiastic face leering back at us.

Sharon Norbury, as portrayed by Tina Fey (Mean Girls, 2004)

Norbury is someone we can relate to. Forced to deal with high school drama, she manages to be both easy to talk to and full of wisdom (with Tina Fey’s signature self-deprecating charm). We especially like her message to teens everywhere: “You don’t have to dumb yourself down in order for a guy to like you.”

Professor Severus Snape, as portrayed by Alan Rickman (Harry Potter series)

Many people disagree as to whether Snape is a hero or a villain. He’s definitely an intimidating professor who will put up with no nonsense. And his sneering contempt for the boy he is destined to protect can be awfully entertaining.


Who’s your favorite teacher from the movies?