Teachers are a huge part of the pop-culture landscape, and it’s no wonder why – most of us spend about 15 years of our life with teachers. The good ones make an impression on us, but the worst ones even more so. We’ve collected 7 of the most terrible TV teachers for your nostalgic pleasure. Warning – possible spoilers.
1. Mr. White, Breaking Bad
It’s easy to forget that Walter White started as a meek chemistry teacher, given his complete transformation into the ruthless Heisenberg. While you could argue that he definitely knew his stuff – most of his success came from his knowledge of chemistry – it’s obvious that he’s not the greatest teacher. Just ask his most dedicated student: Jesse Pinkman.
Memorable quote: “I am the one who knocks.”
2. Dr. Kelso, Scrubs
Scrubs’ first episode pulled the old switcheroo, making Dr. Cox out to be an evil chief physician who hates his students, and Dr. Kelso to be the kindly old head of the hospital. Later on in the episode, it’s revealed that Dr Cox is actually an excellent mentor who perhaps relies a little too much on ‘tough love’, and that Dr Kelso is an absolute phony who cares more about his hospital’s profits than its patients.
Memorable quote: “Listen up, name-tags!”
3. Mr. Largo, The Simpsons
Edna Krabappel is charming for her sarcasm. Seymour Skinner is hilarious for his incompetence. And Elizabeth Hoover actually seems to care about her students. But Dewey Largo has absolutely nothing going for him – he’s a terrible conductor with no passion for music, and was an even worse groundskeeper when he temporarily took over from Groundskeeper Willie. He left the series quite early on and is consistently voted one of the worst Simpsons characters by fans.
Memorable quote: None.
4. Mr. G, Summer Heights High
Mr. G is an eternal optimist, viewing himself as a star-in-the-making but actually stuck in a suburban Australian high school. His grand plans involve a musical called Tsunamarama, based on the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, and a giant performing arts arena that would be bigger than the school itself. During the course of the series, he creates a musical capitalising on a student’s drug overdose, and then gradually inserts himself into the production until he’s the star of the show.
Memorable quote: “My name is Greg Gregson, but the kids at school call me Mr. G, which is sort of an abbreviation that some of the more popular teachers seem to get.“
5. Señor Chang, Community
Señor Chang starts out as a Spanish teacher at Greendale Community College, but after it’s revealed he doesn’t actually know any Spanish, he becomes a student, then a campus police officer, then overthrows the entire school with a maniacal plan, then gets accepted back after faking amnesia. So basically, he doesn’t do anything that a teacher is supposed to do.
Memorable quote: “I’m out. I Chang-ed my mind.”
6. Mr. Garrison, South Park
No one who lives in South Park has their life completely together, and Mr Garrison is no exception. You could argue that the kids he teaches probably wouldn’t have turned out great anyway, but he very rarely has time to do any real teaching in between his myriad personal issues. The one thing you can say about him is that he does seem to enjoy his job!
Memorable quote: None that we can publish…
7. Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus
As much as we hate to include her, since she taught us all about the power of imagination, there’s still the fact that she was constantly putting her students in extremely dangerous situations. She’s nearly gotten them frozen on the surface of Pluto, digested in someone’s stomach, and eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Are their parents signing permission slips for these field trips?!
Memorable quote: “Seatbelts, everyone!”
If you’ve got any other votes for terrible TV teachers, let us know!