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25 memorable TV teachers

Choosing from the plethora of memorable TV teachers is not quite as simple as ABC. Teachers are not only a part of the fabric of our everyday lives, they make a huge impact on our development and personal identities as we grow. When you think back on your younger years, the cast of characters from your life is sure to include at least a few teachers—from those who inspired you to love learning to others who maybe had the opposite effect. It’s not surprising that many TV shows reflect the important place teachers hold within our communities and our hearts.

Stacker surveyed the history of TV and chose 25 memorable teachers from a wide variety of TV shows including animated series, teen dramas, and iconic sitcoms, presented here in alphabetical order by the last name of the teacher.

Any show attempting to capture the experience of childhood or adolescence would be incomplete without a teacher among its cast. From sources of inspiration and wisdom to comedic relief, from protagonist to villain, teachers have played a variety of roles throughout the history of TV. Keep reading to be reminded of 25 memorable TV teachers.

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20th Century Fox Television

Lily Aldrin

One of the most beloved characters from “How I Met Your Mother” is Lily Aldrin, the energetic and quirky wife of protagonist Ted’s best friend Marshall. Throughout the show, Ted recounts the story of how he met the mother of his children with his group of friends. Played by Alyson Hannigan, Lily’s profession as a kindergarten teacher is a source of much comedy throughout the series.

NBC Television // Getty Images

Eva Beadle

Based on the iconic book series “Little House” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the TV show “Little House on the Prairie” captures the bucolic family life of the Ingalls in 1800s Minnesota. All three Ingalls daughters attend school in Walnut Grove, where they meet teacher Miss Beadle. The sweetheart teacher known for her caring manner eventually elopes with Adam Simms, the father of one of her students.

Carrie Bliss

With a title like “Saved by the Bell,” it is no surprise that this early ’90s sitcom makes this list. Set in the Los Angeles area Bayside High, the show depicts a group of high schoolers as they navigate their teenage years. The show was originally named “Good Morning, Miss Bliss,” and centered around teacher Carrie Bliss, portrayed by Haley Mills and inspired by former NBC president Brandon Tartikoff’s sixth-grade teacher.

Krasnoff Foster Productions

Ben Chang

Writer-producer Dan Harmon created the comedy sitcom “Community” to reflect his experience going to community college. The NBC show takes place at a community college in Colorado, where a former lawyer creates a study group for his Spanish class. The teacher of that class is none other than Señor Ben Chang, a sadistic psychopath who may not even know Spanish.

Mr. Collins

Starring Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold, a young boy growing up in the late ’60s, “The Wonder Years” is a classic American series. Throughout the show Arnold’s math teacher, Mr. Collins, holds him to a high standard and pushes him to develop a strong work ethic. The actor who played Mr. Collins, Steven Gilborn, was actually a professor before turning to acting.

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Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures

Jessica Day

“New Girl” stars Zooey Deschanel as the new girl Jessica Day, the newest roommate to move into an all-male Los Angeles apartment. Deschanel’s quintessential quirkiness defines the character, who begins the series as a middle school teacher at Coolidge Middle School before shifting through various roles including server, substitute teacher, and principal.

Michael Jacobs Productions

George Feeny

Any ’90s kid will be hit by a wave of nostalgia when hearing the name Mr. Feeny. The sagelike neighbor of Cory Matthews, the protagonist of “Boy Meets World,” serves as a middle school teacher, high school teacher, principal, and even a college professor for the main cast of characters, for whom he always has a nugget of wisdom.

Coach Fredericks

Cult classic “Freaks and Geeks” may have been canceled after one season, but the show’s legacy lives on. The series centered around a brother and sister attending William McKinley High School who each join one of the show’s titular cliques. Despite appearing in just six episodes, physical education teacher Coach Fredericks made his mark on his students. Like the tender treatment it gives to the rest of its characters that sets the series apart, Coach Fredericks goes from one-note bad guy to a multi-faceted, sympathetic character with his own pathos.

Valerie Frizzle

Known for her vibrant frizzy red hairdo and her bold patterned purple dresses, Miss Frizzle is the star of the 1990s animated children’s series “The Magic School Bus.” Throughout the show, the oddball elementary school teacher takes her students on imaginative, educational adventures aboard a magic school bus.

Mr. Garvey

In one of the most memorable episodes of the popular sketch comedy show “Key & Peele,” Keegan Michael-Key plays Mr. Garvey, a Black substitute teacher who mispronounces every one of the white suburban students’ names. As so often they do, Key and Peele manage to make their audience laugh while also considering the broader implications of that humor.

Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions

Dr. Ross Gellar

One of TVs most noteworthy nerds, Dr. Ross Gellar is a member of the close-knit New York City clique around which the show “Friends” revolves. Along with hippie Phoebe, type-A Monica, trendy Rachel, and jokesters Joey and Chandler, Ross is the group’s token brainiac and works as a paleontologist and professor. Some devoted fans even took the time to make him a Rate My Professors page on social media.

Lydia Grant

The 1980s TV show “Fame” tells the story of the New York City High School for Performing Arts. In addition to following the artistic students in their arduous hunt for fame, the show also showcases the dedication of faculty members like Lydia Grant, a dance teacher portrayed by Debbie Allen who pushed them along the way.

Ron Galella Collection // Getty Images

Marla Hendricks

Like its name suggests, “Boston Public” is a show about a public school in Boston, specifically focusing on the complex storylines of the schools’ teachers and students, both in and out of the classroom. One of those teachers is Marla Hendricks, a social studies teacher who struggles to manage her mental health.

Peggy Hill

“King of the Hill” is a popular adult animated sitcom that ran for more than 250 episodes between the years 1997–2010. The show focuses on the adventures of protagonist Hank Hill, a propane salesman living in Texas with his eclectic family. Hank’s egotistical, yet caring, wife Peggy holds many jobs throughout the series from writer to sculptor, though her primary gig is as a substitute teacher at the middle school.

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Gabe Kotter

“Welcome Back, Kotter” is a ’70s sitcom that told the story of Gabe Kotter, who returns to his own high school to teach a class of disobedient kids known as the “Sweathogs.” Having been a part of the remedial class himself, Kotter is dedicated to helping his students and determined to make change in the school.

20th Century Fox Television

Edna Krabappel

“The Simpsons” holds many records, including the longest-running cartoon show in history. The adored series tells the story of the Simpson family and is set in the ambiguous U.S. town of Springfield. A prominent resident is the middle-aged, chain-smoking fourth-grade teacher Edna Krabappel, who is characterized by her cynicism.

Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions

Max Medina

Rory, main character of the American-sweetheart dramedy “Gilmore Girls,” attends Chilton Preparatory School, where much of the story takes place. The show centers around the mother-daughter relationship between Rory and her mom Lorelai. Mr. Medina is the beloved English teacher at Chilton who eventually becomes romantically involved with Lorelai.

Chuck Noblet

What happens when a drug addict and high school dropout decides to return to high school as a 46 year old? That’s what Comedy Central’s “Strangers With Candy” explores in this three-season comedy series. Played by one of the series creator’s Stephen Colbert, Chuck Noblet is the disgruntled, closeted high school history teacher who is having an affair with another teacher.

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Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision

Will Schuester

Taking place in McKinley High, the musical comedy “Glee” tells the story of Will Schuester, a high school Spanish teacher who decides to take over the glee club. The show revolves around the glee club’s diverse members and their complex high school lives, while also diving into Mr. Sheuster’s personal and romantic life.

Richard Katimski

The beloved, short-lived series “My So-Called Life” mirrored the experience of many ’90s teenagers. The daring show pushed the envelope for young adult dramas of the time, tackling everything from homophobia to censorship. Sweet, sweet Mr. Katimski teaches English and runs the drama club at Liberty High School. He also delivers much-needed empathy for the drama erupting regularly amonlives with his boyfriend in Katimski’s apartment

Sweet, sweet Mr. Katimski in

homophobia, child abuse, censorship and homelessness

20th Century Fox Television

Cameron Tucker

Spirited and enthused, Cameron Tucker is one of the main characters on “Modern Family” and is the near antithesis of his husband Mitch. Aside from his past positions as a clown and a college athlete, Cameron also holds various teaching stints throughout the show.