5 Fandom Friday is a weekly prompt challenge hosted by The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick. This week's #5FandomFriday is especially exciting for me because I suggested the topic! When I was thinking about fall, back-to-school was still on my mind, and I thought Favorite Fictional Teachers would be a fun topic for my favorite community of Geek Girls. You can see the upcoming prompts here at the Female Geek Bloggers community.
Christy Huddleston, Christy - Remember that time in the 1990's when between daily Little House on the Prairie reruns and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman episodes, stories set in the previous century were everywhere? Christy was one of my all time favorite series; I loved that Kellie Martin's character was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse just like Laura Ingalls. When I read the novel in college, I fell in love with the story of a young teacher who travels to the mountains to follow her calling. Looking back now, some of Christy's struggles as a first-year teacher in Appalachia in the 1900's were no different from my own in the 2000's - poverty, hunger, and willful ignorance don't change - and the student who was determined to marry me off to her uncle was a dead ringer for Ruby Mae.
Rupert Giles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Having seen every episode of Buffy, I've come to the conclusion that Watcher is a terrible job title. Giles' life would have been a lot easier if all he had to do was watch Buffy become the Slayer - instead, he had to initiate, train, and mentor her, run the school library (which never seemed to have any patrons, but still), and use his mad research skills to keep the whole Scooby gang from getting killed by the Monster of the Week. Over time, Giles went from a stereotypical uptight Brit to serving as a father figure for Buffy and a role model Willow as well.
Mr. Feeny, Boy Meets World - Will I ever be as wise as Mr. Feeny? Probably not. I think this character had a huge influence on me as a kid - I could never figure out whether the class he taught was History or Literature (or both?), but I always thought it was cool how much he respected his students and spoke to them as if they were adults. Feeny could take a lesson on Romeo and Juliet or the War of 1812 and turn it into a life lesson. In my town, our elementary school vice principal moved up to middle school with us, and I was really hoping he'd pull a Feeny and come to high school and college with us too.
Yoda, Star Wars - Any list of great teachers should include Yoda! I love the way he starts testing Luke from the moment they meet and teaching him about patience and humility. Yoda pushes Luke outside his comfort zone - to what we teachers call the "frustration level" - which is what must be done in order for learning to occur, even when the student hates it. Yoda isn't just concerned with whether Luke can master the skills required of being a Jedi, but whether he can handle the mental and emotional pressure of training.
Minerva McGonnagal, Harry Potter - Out of all the teachers in the wizarding world, Minerva is my fave. I like to think that in my own teaching style, I'm transitioning from being a Christy into being a McGonnagal - basically, a classroom Tiger Mom. I understand now that I can't save every child because that mindset leads to burnout, but I can still make a difference and lead by example. I admire McGonnagal because she obviously feels compassion and love for her students, but she does not allow them to make excuses or whine when things get tough. She's great at seeing students' hidden talents and finding ways to let them shine (Harry's Quidditch aptitude, Seamus' gift of kaboom), and challenging students who aren't working to their full potential (making Ron take Potions with Professor Slughorn). Also, she can turn into a cat. 'Nuff said.
Who are your favorite fictional educators?