Ever watch a movie, read a book, or view an old TV episode and think to yourself: “Man, I wish that person had been my _______ teacher!” Yeah. Me, too. We’ve all done it. Well, I hate to break it to you, but most of them were just as full of crap as your teachers that you actually had. And I should know, being a teacher myself. So here they are, in all of their ridiculously flawed glory!
Qui Gon Jinn, “Star Wars”
The Good: The guy who trained Obi Wan Kenobi, who in turn trained Luke Skywalker. Without these two dudes, the force and all of Star Wars would be pretty boring. Plus, one of those guys went on to train Batman. Err… Wait a minute…
The Bad: He went against the Jedi Council, took illegal guardianship of a minor, put said minor in harm’s way, and nearly caused his death numerous times. And he himself died (quite easily, actually) when he fought Darth Maul with his apprentice. Due to his death, his buddy, Obi Wan Kenobi, was also sort of obligated to take on young Anakin Skywalker as an apprentice. So, in a roundabout way, Qui Gon Jinn quasi-trained Darth Vader, who in turn helped enslave the entire galaxy. Nice one.
Charles Xavier, “X-Men”
The Good: Training people who can blink and kill you or fart and blow up a building while talking about King Arthur and Victor Hugo is probably a tough job, especially if you’re in a wheelchair, taking the term handi-capable to new lengths.
The Bad: Where to start? The ultimate “ends justify the means” guy here. Might be worse than Magneto, because at least the master of magnetism knows who he is and what he has to become to save his people. Chuck’s just a liar who uses kids to fight his outdated battles. Technically a terrorist himself, Xavier uses students as soldiers to spark, not avoid, a war between man and mutant, all in the misguided, God complex-driven concept of an outdated an unrealistic “dream.” Oh, he also imprisoned an alien life form to create the Danger Room, making him even more of a bastard because he “needed to train his team.” Then there’s the creepy relationship with Jean, the constant mind-wiping and lying to his friends and allies, and a little episode where he turned into the villain Onslaught and killed Captain America and the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and about half of the Marvel Universe.
Rupert Giles, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
The Good: Though technically a librarian, this guy takes Watcher to a new level when he basically accepts his role as father figure. He even risks his life several times for various annoying friends of his Slayer, most of which arguably deserve to die. Now that’s dedication.
The Bad: The whole “almost getting students killed on a daily basis” thing is tricky. Plus, the life expectancy in Sunnydale is like two percent, so there’s always that. Not to mention his blatant disregard and disrespect for his fellow Watchers Council, an organization that has been successful for a millennium. And the whole “mysterious past” aspect is a little more than sketchy. The nickname “Ripper” infers that he was not only a badass, but probably a killer. Which would make sense why he is totally okay with putting children in harm’s way as long as he protects his precious Slayer, whom he covets and treats almost as if she is is his own daughter, which we might add, she is not.
The Entire Faculty, “Harry Potter”
The Good: Two words: Wizard. School.
The Bad: Lying. Racist. Plotting. Hating. Killing. More plotting. Actual evil staff members. Constant and daily child endangerment “lessons.” Promoting competition to a ridiculously unhealthy level. Letting students participate in activities that lead to their deaths. Having and promoting an elitist mentality. Mysterious pasts that come back to bite them in the ass (and kill their students). Even more plotting. Revenge schemes. But… Wizards!
Grady Tripp, “Wonder Boys”
The Good: This professor smokes pot, teaches about writing, and is so full of shit that when he kidnaps students, kills the Dean’s dog, and has numerous flings with faculty members, he actually somehow manages to inspire his students in spite of himself.
The Bad: A prime example of “those who can’t do, teach.” Basically list all of the things that make him cool, but really think them through. And add the fact that he supplies minors with drugs and alcohol in his own house, has inappropriate relationships with students, impregnates the dean’s wife, kills the dean’s dog, kidnaps his students, steals stuff, drives drunk, and hangs out with super sketchy people, including but not limited to his own equally ridiculous (but awesome) agent. Oh, yeah. And he may or may not be a hack and may or may not be morally bankrupt. But it’s Michael Douglas, so we’re kind of okay with that.
Dan Dunne, “Half Nelson”
The Good: This teacher is great in the classroom. And he knows how to party outside the classroom. But you can do both of those things and still remain a professional, right?
The Bad: Not so much. Even the greatest teachers are apparently freebasers, have delusions of grandeur in terms of their “children’s book writer and illustrator” careers, are habitual liars to their friends and family members, are poor role models, violently attack and almost rape their girlfriends, buy drugs from students, offer students rides home (while drunk, no less), hang out with students in your house or outside of school in general (you know, for fun), and take breaks during basketball games (which they coach) to do more drugs in the locker room… Right?
Rainer Wenger, “The Wave”
The Good: A social experiment that arguably goes a little farther than it needs to, the concept behind teaching the dangers of political power in a high school are now more important than ever. Plus, this guy’s such a badass that he literally inspires kids who don’t like school to take action. Hell, he starts a revolution that sweeps the whole town. If only he had proper political training, he would have literally been able to take over the world.
The Bad: This awesome social experiment takes over the whole city, causes community and child endangerment, promotes bullying and exclusion of those who oppose the group or are different, leads certain students to stalk and protect people they see as leaders from people they see as threats, and results in multiple deaths of multiple students. It’s one thing to teach about the Holocaust, but it may have been a little too far to recreate it.
Veronica Vaughn, “Billy Madison”
The Good: Did you ever have a crush on your teacher? Would you have acted on said crush if you knew that it a) would be okay to do so, b) didn’t get him or her fired, and c) you were up to date on your cootie shots? Liar.
The Bad: Everyone had a crush, but seriously. She should be in jail.
So there you have it. Just a few of your dreams crushed, one countdown at a time. You’re welcome! Now… Get back to class!