Teachers are unsung heroes. In real life, teachers can guide, inspire and prepare children for the world. And in movies, on-screen teachers can inspire audiences. Who doesn’t love Miss Honey in Matilda? Or Hilary Swank in Freedom Writers? Or Michelle Pfeiffer’s Louanne Johnson in Dangerous Minds, who proves her intensity by staring down Coolio in the “Gangsta’s Paradise” music video?
But not every teacher is making their Mr. Holland’s Opus. Some teachers are problematic, lazy, and grossly unprofessional. Even some of the best fictional teachers can cross lines that would never fly in the real world.
A few of these fictional teachers can be better at their job. It may make for a less entertaining film, but it’s important to honor what it takes to be a teacher. Here’s a list of some teachers in film history who could have stepped up their game to get a better grade.
- Photo: Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix / Warner Bros.
Appears In: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Teachers should at least like children to be a teacher, but Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) is so concerned with her political aspirations that she ignores the job that she received via nepotism. Furthermore, she physically harms her students with enchanted quills and she’s biased against people with Muggle backgrounds. Plus, she shows a willingness to dose and torture students.1505Should they be fired?
- Photo: Half Nelson / THINKFilm
Appears In: Half Nelson
Dan Dunne (Ryan Gosling) is a substance user who cannot wait until after school to use. He convinces a student to hide his unlawful activities and also has an inappropriate relationship with a student outside of school. His issues make him a bad person and affect his teaching. Worst of all, his inconsistency is likely to cause lasting emotional damage.389Should they be fired?
The FacultyPhoto: The Faculty / Miramax Films
Appears In: The Faculty
Although it's an alien invasion flick, this film also offers commentary on our failing school system. The staff includes a miserly busybody principal (Bebe Neuwirth), a heavy-drinking history teacher, a drama teacher who cannot reasonably discipline students, and a school nurse who is always sick. The worst is Coach Joe Willis (Robert Patrick), who is not only verbally abusive, but also bullies his students with inappropriate remarks. He seems to have a toxic rage problem that’s not good for kids, and this is even before he’s even infected by alien parasites.368Should they be fired?
- Photo: School of Rock / Paramount Pictures
Appears In: School of Rock
Dewey Finn (Jack Black) is a horrible teacher, but that is probably because he has absolutely no qualifications to teach children. He has a provocative classroom manner and does not act appropriately around his pupils. He takes them out of school without their parents' permission while forcing them to play music rather than providing educational instruction.5938Should they be fired?