Happy Tuesday! As August inevitably comes to a close, there’s only one thing on my mind: the beginning of a new semester! I love the start of a new school year because it’s brimming with exciting possibilities and opportunities. What new people will you meet? What new things will you learn? It’s such a hopeful, optimistic time of year for me!
Since this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is a back-to-school freebie, I’ve decided to explore a topic that deserves some time in the spotlight: my Top Ten Teachers in Fiction. Teachers have such an important job yet they rarely receive the credit and praise they have earned. As I made this list I realized that teachers don’t often get a lot of page-time in books. Why aren’t teachers integral characters in more stories?
Here are the fictional teachers that have stood out to me in the fiction I’ve read:
1. Dr. Hyde (the “Old Man”) from Looking for Alaska by John Green
Dr. Hyde is the World Religions professor at Miles’ boarding school, and he really opens the students’ eyes to different ways of viewing life, death, and loss. Besides, his grumpy personality is hilarious at times! I would love to have him as a professor.
2. Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Technically Jane is a governess, but it still counts, right? Jane is kind, wise, and not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She is an excellent role model for anyone, but especially young girls trying to find their place in the world.
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
3. Bill from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Bill is Charlie’s ninth grade English teacher who encourages Charlie and gives him extra books to read. He is an important, supportive “parental” figure for Charlie when he needs one, despite his rather unusual personality. He means well and has a positive impact on Charlie, which is all you can really ask for!
4. Miss Dovecott from Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard
As the only female teacher at an all-male boarding school, Miss Dovecott has to be independent and stand her ground. She encourages Alex as a writer, but also fights to know the truth about his tragic secret (despite his blossoming feelings for her.)
5. Gaston Cleric from My Ántonia by Willa Cather
Gaston is Jim’s professor at university who shows him the joys of studying Latin and old texts. He also brings out the bookish, studious, more “European” side of Jim that was not able to fully come out while living on the “Americanized” plains. I don’t necessarily have an attachment to him as a character, but he’s a fascinating figure to analyze!
Brom is Eragon’s dragon-riding mentor who says golden nuggets of wisdom like this one: “Keep in mind that many people have died for their beliefs; it’s actually quite common. The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe in.” I figured that Brom is a kind of teacher, despite his unusual “classroom” setting.
The Giver is the man who teaches Jonas about his new role as a keeper of memories. He is wise, compassionate, and understanding– everything you want a teacher or mentor to be!
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”
Miss Edmunds is Jess’ music teacher who he has a big crush on. She isn’t afraid of being a quirky, unique individual despite the disapproval of others. She is only of the only people who encourages Jess to be true to himself and not to conform with the other kids at school simply to fit in. Long story short, Miss Edmunds is a wonderful role model!
Gandalf is a great mentor, for obvious reasons: he’s wise, funny, and gives the best advice. Plus, he always comes back in the nick of time to save the day!
Albus Dumbledore, Remus Lupin, Minerva McGonagall, Molly and Arthur Weasley, Sirius Black, Hagrid, and even Snape– the list goes on and on! They are all so supportive and compassionate, especially when it comes to helping Harry. I would love to have any of them as a teacher– just not Umbridge!!!
What have I learned from creating this TTT list? Teachers deserve to be fully developed characters, too. Coming up with ten teachers was surprisingly difficult, but it definitely shouldn’t be. Teachers are so important, and they should be more dynamic, multidimensional characters in stories.
What are your favorite teachers in fiction? What professor at Hogwarts would you most like to have? What do you think of the books that I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!