Oh captain, my captain… sorry Robin Williams, you didn’t make the list!

Bad Teacher… Horrible Bosses… Does anyone do a good job when in a position of authority anymore? Today’s subject is teachers… love them, hate them, they have the right to exist. Here are some of the finest men and women to occupy an administrator’s office or classroom:
Mr. Belding – Saved by the Bell
Mr. Belding is the authority figure children of the 80’s most identify with, as a school disciplinarian. His many run-ins with Zack and the gang led to many of our fondest childhood memories and without him, we probably wouldn’t realize that principals actually do have a heart and are, in fact, real people. Belding was not without his faults, though. His relationship with his students bordered on creepy. He had a guy’s night with Zack, Slater and Screech, eating pizza and talking philosophically with the boys in Zack’s bedroom. What kind of absentee parents would allow this to happen under their own roof?
Principal Skinner – The Simpsons
Perhaps the longest running school official and therefore, the most famous on this list, Skinner has a tough job, trying to operate Springfield Elementary on a shoestring budget and dealing with delinquents like Bart Simpson. When he’s not challenged by the student body, he has to deal with Superintendent Chalmers breathing down his neck. And did you know that he’s not even the real principal Skinner??? Oh wait, we were supposed to completely forget that ever happened. My bad.
Dean Pelton – Community
Much like Belding, Dean Pelton has an odd affiliation with his student body, particularly that of Jeff Winger, unofficial leader of everyone’s favourite study group. While he just wants to better the image of his school, he often goes about it in all the wrong ways, often leading to mass chaos on the campus. For example, the past two year’s end-of-the-year paintball tournament have turned the community college into a post-apocalyptic warzone. If that is enough to make you want to enrol at the school, which for this writer, it is, then well done Dean… mission accomplished.
Señor Chang – Community
Sticking with Community, Asian Spanish teacher Señor Chang (Ken Jeong) is by far one of the most absurd characters on TV right now. Chang used to teach Spanish at Greendale Community College, before it was discovered that he never earned his teaching credentials. This resulted in Chang losing his job, having to live in the school’s ventilation system and finally becoming the college’s head of security. What could be next for Chang as he works to solve the mysteries of the school? I’ll definitely be watching to find out.
Mr. Garrison – South Park
Mr. Garrison, has gone from Mr. to Mrs. and back to Mr. again. He’s been straight, gay, lesbian and even hat-sexual. While dealing with the potty-mouthed children at South Park Elementary, Garrison is just as likely to be caught cursing up a storm and acting childishly as his students. His antics have resulted in his being fired or suspended on a few occasions and he seems to suffer from a number of mental health issues. Whether it be Mr. or Mrs. Or something completely different, Garrison is one of the funniest recurring characters on the show and that won’t change anytime soon.
Mr. Kotter – Welcome Back Kotter
Anyone who could put up with the antics of The Sweathogs deserves to be on this list. We all know that John Travolta can be a handful, but as Vinnie Barbarino, he was simply out of control. When someone is known to utter the phrase “Up your nose with a rubber hose,” and wants to be taken seriously, you know they’re trouble. Kotter (Gabe Caplan) also had to put up with such delinquents as Arnold Horshack, Freddie “Boom Boom” Percy Washington and Juan Luis Pedro Philippo DeHuevos Epstein. Wow, given those last two names, it’s as if the writers couldn’t decide on just one name, so they just threw everything they had together and voila, you’ve got yourself a couple ethnic stereotypes.
Ben Stein – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off/The Wonder Years
Ben Stein made a career from his dry, monotonous teacher persona exhibited in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. One of the top catchphrases to come from the movie was Stein’s unenthusiastic “Bueller?… Bueller?… Bueller?” while taking attendance at the start of his economics class. Obviously, Bueller wasn’t there, he was taking the day off. Stein went on to play a similar character on The Wonder Years, tormenting Kevin Arnold and his friends with classic filmstrips for his science class. Stein even uses the same delivery for allergy medicine commercials. That’s quite a career for not having to work too hard.
Mr. Feeny – Boy Meets World
Guide and neighbour to the young, impressionable Cory Matthews, Mr. Feeny will always be remembered as the voice of Knight Rider… I mean as the voice of reason when Cory was facing a dilemma at school or in his personal life. As the kids moved from grade school to high school to college, Feeny came along with them, jumping from teacher to administrator to professor to pedo… no, he never went that far. When you really think about it, though, how awful would it be to live next door to your teacher/principal/professor? He’d always know what you were up to and there’d be no separation of school and not school.
Mrs. Peggy Hill – King of the Hill
Substitute teacher of the year, three years in a row, Peggy Hill is most likely to be found teaching Spanish (why are there so many Spanish teacher characters?), although her skills with the language are quite poor. On a field trip to Mexico, she even managed to accidentally abduct a young Mexican girl, mistaking her for one of her own students. When the girl complained to her that she belonged in Mexico, Peggy misunderstood her. Hill was also dubbed “Paddling Peggy” after she spanked a troublemaker with a large leather strap. They definitely do things different in Texas.

John Kimble – Kindergarten Cop

First off, how does a guy with as thick an Austrian accent, as Arnold Schwarzenegger has, end up with a name like John Kimble? Kimble, an LAPD detective, is thrust into the role of a kindergarten teacher as he tries to track down a drug dealer and murderer, who is simply trying to reunite with his ex-wife and child. Hilarity ensues, as Kimble tries to go undercover in the classroom and deal with the children he’s left in charge of. He also finds time to start a romantic relationship with the mother of one of his students, all while doing detective stuff and playing teacher. All in a day’s work.

Dewey Finn  – School of Rock
Although his teaching style was very unorthodox, Finn (Jack Black) was able to get more out of his students than most of their other teachers could – and he did so while sneaking into the job (another common theme in this list). Finn uses his love of music to impart wisdom and confidence on his group of ragtag fifth-graders and leads them into a local battle of the bands competition. If only substitute teachers were actually effective and respected.
Coach Hines – Mad TV
Is there anything more ridiculous than a physical education teacher who looks like this (see below)? Okay, now take that teacher, put about 10 Red Bulls in him and give him a penchant for wanting to hurt any of his students who are caught chewing gum, talking while others are or just generally misbehaving. Hines has feuded with students, administrators and even nuns. His nervous twitch, likely caused by the tightness of his shorts, is enough to induce fear into the entire student body and it doesn’t take much for the coach to strike again.


One response to “Oh captain, my captain… sorry Robin Williams, you didn’t make the list!

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