Best Teachers on TV

18 Nov

It’s weird that education and schools don’t get more representation on TV. Schools are a bigger part of people’s daily lives than police, lawyers or hospitals, but there are hundreds of shows that revolve around those professions and very few that feature schools and education.

There are however a few teachers on TV and here are the best.

Who did I forget or miss? Tell me in the comments:

1) Roland Pryzbylewski, The Wire (Jim True-Frost

Quote: ” I don’t get it. All this so we score higher on the state tests? If we’re teaching the kids the test questions, what is it assessing in them?”

Bio: Pryzbelewski is an incompetent detective in Seasons 1-3. At the end of season 3 he retires and in Season 4 becomes a middle school math teacher allowing the series to explore the links between the failures of the school system and violence on the streets of Baltimore.

Why I like him: Pryzbelewski cares deeply about his students and does the best he can while recognizing that he is working in a very imperfect system.

2) Charlie Moore, Head of the Class (Howard Hessman) 

Bio: Out-of-work actor Charlie Moore is a substitute teacher, assigned to the Individualized Honours Program (IHp) class, a gifted class. He makes it his mission to get them to think rather than merely to know. He is there to listen and shows an unswerving ability to get the students to solve their own problems while making it seem like they came up with the answers on their own.

Why I like him: The curriculum is problem based learning that empowers the students back in 1986. A reminder that these are not new ideas.

3) Gabe Kotter, Welcome Back Kotter, (Gabe Kaplan

Quote: “Buchanan is not anywhere. It’s in Bensonhurst, which is in Brooklyn, which is where I spent four degenerate years as a student. You know how rough that is? The gangs there don’t use guns. They insert the bullets manually.”

Bio: Mr. Kotter is a well-meaning, teacher who returns to Buchanan High after ten years to teach the Sweathogs, a group of remedial students. He has an affinity for the potential of these students because he was a founding member of the original Sweathogs. He teaches Social Studies, and frequently role-plays events to the class.

Why I Like Him: Anyone whose taught students who struggle to learn know that it’s incredibly hard and frustrating. Flexibility and a sense of humour is key. Mr. Kotter has both of those.

4) Phil Gilbert, The Inbetweeners, (Greg Davies

Quote: “This isn’t The Dead Poets Society and I am not that bloke on BBC 2 that keeps getting kids to sing in choirs.”

Bio: Mr Gilbert is the permanently angry head of sixth form and answers to the headmaster of the school. He has a biting wit and sarcasm which he uses to convey his dislike of his job and the children for whose care he is responsible.

Why I like Him: Greg Davies was a secondary school teacher for 13 years. In his time he no doubt encountered many angry and burnt out teachers. He offers a note perfect parody of someone who shouldn’t be working with students, but is.

5) Helen “Greg” Gregson, Summer Heights High (Chris Lilley

Quote: “I’m always joking with the principal. I always say to Margaret, ‘you’ve got yourself an entertainment industry professional for the price of a teacher! So where’s my pay rise?’”

Bio: Mr G, is a drama teacher at Summer heights High. He believes he is an incredibly talented and well-liked teacher and that his students share his intense passion for drama and performance. He is in constant conflict with other members of staff, and the school principal in particular.

Why I Like Him: Chris Lilley, the creator of Mr. G & Summer Heights High trained to be a teacher and is another actor with insider knowledge of education. Mr. G is the kind of teacher who makes it all about him. The teacher who didn’t succeed in their chosen field and so retreats to teaching even though it’s obviously beneath them 🙂

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