My Favorite Fictional Teachers
It’s almost Thanksgiving, and in thinking about what I am grateful for this year, I keep coming back to teachers. I’m grateful for all the teachers at my daughter’s school for the work they do both in and out of the classroom. I’m grateful for the teachers I had as a child who prepared me for college and my eventual career choice. I am also grateful for my favorite fictional teachers who never let me forget that a good teacher can change your life.
Minnie McClary Speaks Her Mind by Valerie Hobbs. August 2012. 9780374324964. Gr. 4-8
Minnie has had enough change in her life lately. Her dad lost his job at a law firm, and now the family has had to move from California to New Mexico, where Minnie is starting middle school with no friends. Her uncle is back from being deployed in Iraq, but he is different now. He spends all of his time in the basement building some kind of model helicopter. All Minnie wants is to stay out of the spotlight at her new school, to do her work and get through the year without drawing too much attention to herself. But Miss Marks’ language arts class is different. Miss Marks encourages her students to express themselves and ask questions even when the topics get controversial, and soon there is controversy about Miss Marks herself. I couldn’t help but cheer for Minnie as she stood up for her favorite teacher.
Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes. May 2012. 9780763653125. Gr. 9-12
Paige’s entire life has been focused on one thing: being a Homecoming Princess in her senior year of high school. It’s what she’s always wanted. That’s what her mother says anyway. After a huge mistake changes everything, Paige starts her senior year on the outs with her friends, not sure where she stands with her boyfriend, and searching for who she really wants to be. She signed up for a creative writing class assuming it would be an easy A, but Mr. Tremont challenges and inspires Paige to see a life beyond the here and now of high school, beyond mistakes she has made, and beyond her preconceptions about people. I appreciated this look at prejudice and self discovery set in a small town.
These both happen to be language arts teachers, but I have also loved Ms. Shepherd the science teacher in Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande, Miss Pointy the 5th grade teacher in Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell, and of course, Miss Honey from Matilda.
Who are your favorite teachers (fictional or otherwise)?