Your favorite teacher growing up could never compare to your favorite fictional teachers. Your favorite teachers were in your world, assigning you homework and tests; your favorite fictional teachers were assigning tests and homework to their fictional students that you didn’t have to do. The best thing about the teachers of TV and film are that they somehow always had the time to teach life lessons in between the mini-lessons, quizzes and tests.
Learn how you can take a page from these fictional teachers and up your game.
Professor Minerva McGonagall, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, by J.K. Rowling
“Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magic you will learn at Hogwarts. Anyone messing around in my class will leave.” Minerva McGonagall, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Professor M from the Harry Potter Series was very serious about her curriculum, and set the tone on the very first day of class.
To adopt her style and attitude, communicate to all students that you hold them to highest expectations - not just by assigning tough work that challenges students, but by telling them you believe in them. She once told Neville that she believed that even he could pass his O.W.L.S. if he gained more confidence in himself (from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix).
Image from Harrypotter.wikia.com
Mr. George Feeny, Boy Meets World
“You don’t have to be blood to be family.” George Feeny, Boy Meets World
Mr. Feeny knew that what was learned inside the classroom, could be applied when boy meets the real world. He constantly sought to help students learn their history but also about themselves. But more than that - he listened to his students, knew what was happening in their lives, and didn’t shy away from the hard stuff. His students endlessly appreciated his advice, attention and care.
To channel your inner Mr. Feeny, have a conversation and learn something new about one of your students every day.
Image from Boymeetsworld.wikia.com
Ms. Frizzle, Walkerville Elementary School, The Magic Schoolbus
“Take Chances, make Mistakes, get Messy.” Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus
The dresses, the hair, the adventures. Need I say more? Ms. Frizzle believes wholeheartedly in experiential learning. She knows that kids need to experience in order to learn. Once, Ms. Frizzle famously took the kids on a field trip through the human body.
To emulate this now-retired teacher, try to find ways for your students to simulate or experience what you’re teaching. Set up a mock election, go outside and find some rocks, and learn from her sister on the new Netflix Series.
Image from blogs.edweek.org
Miss Jewls, Wayside School, by Louis Sachar
“You learned that children are really smarter than their teachers.” Miss Jewls, Sideways Stories from Wayside School.
She’s wacky and sometimes completely clueless about her students and the state of her classroom, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can learn from Miss Jewls. Her unorthodox methods become memories that last a lifetime for the kids in her class and readers alike. Who can forget when she taught gravity by throwing things out of her window on the 30th floor of her classroom?
Miss Jewls is the master of a student-centered classroom. Look for ways that your students can teach you and each other. Start genius hour. Jigsaw activities would be Jewls Approved as well.
Image from wayside.wikia.com