We all have that one teacher who we can remember from school, be it primary, secondary or even university. That one person who made us feel like we could achieve anything or gave us that extra 5 minutes to finish our work! This got us thinking. Teachers are such an important part of our childhood – you’ll always remember a brilliant teacher, but you’ll also remember the teacher who scared the living daylights out of you. We’ve searched through our favourite books to bring you some of literature’s most memorable teachers, whether it’s for all the right or wrong reasons!
Miss Temple – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
As the teacher in charge of Lockwood Institute, Miss Temple is the only one who can protect the students from the cruelty of Mr Brocklehurst. Although she does not have much of a character, Miss Temple is Jane’s refuge, caring and encouraging her to do the best she can for her education.
Ms Frizzel – The Magic School Bus
Valerie Felicity Frizzle is the eccentric science teacher at Walkerville Elementary School and she uses her magic school bus to teach her class. Although her students think she is a bit odd, with her red hair and pet lizard, they all love and respect her.
Minerva McGonagall – Harry Potter Series
Head of Gryffinor and a Transfiguration Professor, McGonagall comes across as a stern rigorous disciplinarian. However, she takes to Harry and often assists him indirectly with activities that are not strictly within the rules of Hogwarts.
Mr Brunner/Chiron – Percy Jackson Series
Percy’s favourite teacher, Mr Brunner, teaches Latin and he sets his expectations for Percy high. When he realises that Mr Brunner is also Chiron, a very smart centaur, Percy helps him run the camp which ultimately helps him understand his own prophecy.
Miss Trunchbull – Matilda by Roald Dahl
Memorable for all the wrong reasons, an all round despicable human – let alone a terrible teacher! She definitely has a lasting impact on any young reader, or perhaps viewer if you’ve seen the film or theatre production. What made her particularly awful was the way she abused her power; she got a thrill off making innocent children feel intimidated and belittled. Miss Trunchbull makes you grateful for that strict maths teacher you had who was always a bit too happy to give out detentions. We’d take line writing over Chokey anyday!
Professor Dumbledore – Harry Potter Series
Wise, intelligent, and brave. Albus Dumbledore was respected by his pupils and colleagues in equal measure. The man had class, and he used his position as Headmaster for all the right reasons. Not only did he want the best for his students on an academic level, he cared for them on a personal level too. He wanted each of them to have the opportunities and choice to become good, moral, and decent people. Dumbledore was, and we don’t use this word lightly, a legend. He had great taste in sweets too. Sherbet lemon anyone?
Miss Honey – Matilda by Roald Dahl
Sweet as her name, and the complete opposite of her horrible Aunt Trunchbull. Miss Honey cared for her students immensely. She used the very little power she had to build each one of them up – making them feel they were capable of anything they put their minds to. A great teacher is one who believes in you when the rest of the world doubts you.
Miss Stacy – Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery
Miss Muriel Stacy makes this list because she, as a teacher, always prioritised what was most important: the happiness and the learning experience of her students. She was liberal and progressive and ignored the many critics who deemed her unorthodox and unprofessional. Miss Stacy believed in what she taught and the way she taught, and her students loved her for it. She was an inspiration and mentor to many of her pupils, particularly Anne, who chose a career in teaching because of her.
Lucy Snowe – Vilette by Charlotte Bronte
Lucy defeated the odds that were stacked against her from an early age, and used this experience of hardship to make her the best teacher she could be. Lucy sees the hidden strengths in those around her, and focuses on bringing them to the surface. Intelligent and hardworking, the progress she makes in her teaching career speaks volumes.
Professor Snape – Harry Potter Series
Snape’s a tricky one. A good teacher? No. A memorable teacher? Yes. Snape is a terrible teacher for a number of reasons, the main one being the way he belittles his students. He makes his less able students feel stupid, and his more able students feel afraid of progressing. A good teacher encourages their students to keep moving forward, and he halts students firmly in their tracks. Having said that, Snape’s loyalty, bravery, and intelligence is undeniable. He sacrificed himself for Harry and the good of the Wizarding World. His love for Lily meant he protected a boy who was a daily reminder of the torment and humiliation he faced as a student himself. That surely has to count for something.
Which fictional teacher do you find most memorable, and why? What about real world teachers? If you have someone you’d love to say thank you to, you can shop our teacher gifts here.