From Miss Brooks to Mr. Cooper, from 13 Reasons Why's Mrs. Bradley to Gilmore Girls's Mr. Medina, there is no shortage of good TV teachers. And then there are the others - those their show wants you to believe are good, but who, in actuality, suck at their jobs. The educators on this list have amassed reputations for being "memorable," but being memorable is not the same as being exemplary. While showrunners want to make you think they're spotlighting the triumphs and tribulations of the teaching profession and all the sacrifices therein, they're kind of giving teachers a bad name.
Whether a TV teacher is secretly involved in criminal activity or just blurring lines between the professional and the personal, television is chock-full of examples of less-than-consummate teaching professionals. Despite being considered decent educators in their respective fictional universes, it's pretty amazing the teachers on this list keep their jobs.
It's safe to say Walter White of Breaking Bad likely inspired no one to become a teacher. White uses his chemistry skills to cook up Grade A meth to pay for his cancer treatments - not exactly a glowing recommendation for the teaching profession. In fact, he is deeply resentful about having to be a teacher at all - he originally wanted to be a famous chemist after working on a Nobel Prize-winning research team in graduate school. During the show, he ropes his former student Jesse Pinkman into his schemes, which become increasingly more criminal and dangerous as the series goes on.
Even as a teacher and mentor figure to Jesse, White is inept: "Walt failed as Jesse's teacher because he could never for a moment stop playing the stultifying schoolmaster, the one who insists upon his superior intelligence [and] demands recognition of that superiority from his students," political scientist Samuel Chambers observed. "Only a bad teacher tries to establish mastery by way of [an] assertion of superior intelligence."
Mr. Schue may run one hell of a glee club, but he is not a good teacher in any sense of the word. First of all, he is supposed to be a Spanish teacher, as well as the head of Glee's titular extracurricular. But showrunners reveal in one episode he actually doesn't know Spanish very well at all and has to take remedial classes to receive tenure.
In addition, as the leader of the show choir, he blackmails Finn into joining the group by putting drugs in his locker. Like Walter White, Mr. Schue is nursing his own failed dreams. He once wanted to be a performer, but the need to make ends meet sidelined him into teaching.
Mrs. Krabappel from The Simpsons may show up to work every day and be a constant in the lives of her fourth-grade students, but her teaching skills leave a lot to be desired. Voiced by the late, great Marcia Wallace, Edna Krabappel does little more than go through the motions. She's a not-so-secret alcoholic, she sometimes smokes in the classroom, and she's ready to pounce on any eligible man in a 100-mile radius. She also has an on-again, off-again affair with the school principal.
It's no surprise Mrs. Krabappel has nonexistent boundaries with her students and often pulls Bart into her schemes. In one episode, Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner are under the impression that Bart is the only one who knows about their affair, and they force him to relay notes and messages back and forth between them during the school day.
#26 on The Best Fictional Teachers
Annalise Keating from How to Get Away With Murder is an exercise in how not to be a university professor. She's always embroiled in various crimes, including murder. During her lectures, she encourages her students to utilize underhanded tactics and less-than-ethical strategies to win cases.
Then there's that whole favoritism thing. She clearly has a small cabal of students who are her preferred pupils. If you're not among this elite group, she will more than likely ignore you. Also, the drama never ends with Professor Keating; as soon as one crime is solved, she's dragging her students into another one.