In pop culture, teachers tend to come in one of three types: There's the inspirational, life-changing teacher (typically white) who struggles to get students (typically black) to buy into an unorthodox teaching style before winning them over and transforming them from future prison inmates to future Nobel Peace Prize winners. Then there's the uptight, rule-worshipping teachers who work tirelessly to make the lives of students painful, stressful and as full of Shakespeare as possible. And lastly, there are the complete dumbasses who should have never made it out of third grade.
We'd like to focus on those last two groups because, frankly, they're way more entertaining than the first. Also because the world will be introduced to one of pop culture's worst teachers ever this weekend when Cameron Diaz's "Bad Teacher" comes out. As far as we can tell from the trailer, she shows up to work drunk, is vocal about her hatred of school and consistently hits students in the face with balls. All of those things would earn her a place on this list if "Bad Teacher" came out yesterday. Until then, here are the 10 worst teachers from the annals of pop-culture history.
1. Ms. Frizzle, "Magic School Bus"
It was hard to include The Friz on this list because she's clearly one of the coolest teachers to ever get her own TV show. But as is typical, being cool also means being irresponsible. We're reminded in particular of the time Ms. Frizzle took her students inside of Arnold Matthew Perlstein's body to teach them things like how the digestive system works. But did she have permission slips? No! And did she consider the carnage that would have taken place if the Magic School Bus accidentally restored to its original size while inside of Arnold? Doubtful! For that carelessness, the lizard-loving teacher makes this list.
2. Mr. Fulong, "The Faculty"
Mr. Furlong, Jon Stewart's character in "The Faculty," tries to infect the school's students with a mind-controlling parasite after his own body is taken over by an alien. It would be unfair to call him a bad teacher for that and that's why we're not. We're calling him a bad teacher for that goatee.
3. John Kimble, "Kindergarten Cop"
What happens when you take a juiced-up cop with a funny accent and put him in front of a kindergarten class? He ends up using valuable instructional time to investigate crimes, which is only hurting the children. Speaking of hurting the children, allowing your 'roid rage to take over in the the classroom (above) is the height of unprofessionalism. And lastly, he lied to the students. We're pretty sure it was a too-maa.
4. Chuck Noblet, "Strangers With Candy"
A repressed homosexual who never knows the first thing about the subjects he teaches, Chuck Noblet is the awful teacher Stephen Colbert played in both the "Strangers With Candy" movie and TV shows. In the show he was a misinformed history teacher who said things like "following his violent revolution, Gandhi was devoured by his followers." In the movie, he was an equally inept science teacher. And in all formats he cried. What a baby.
5. Dan Dunne, "Half Nelson"
In "Half Nelson" Ryan Gosling plays Dan Dunne, a young and--let's face it--dreamy teacher in Brooklyn with some revolutionary teaching methods. And like in all movies that include a white person trying to help poor black students, those methods work. So why does he land on this list? Well, call us crazy, but getting caught by a student using cocaine on school grounds is enough to cancel out any good you've done in the classroom.
6. Teacher, "Hot For Teacher"
You can't blame a hot teacher for being hot. It's not her fault teenage boys are hornier than a rhino convention. But you know when you can start blaming a teacher for being hot? When she dons a bikini in the classroom and starts strutting back and forth on her desk like it's the stage at a place called De Ja Vu.
7. Professor Terguson, "Back to School"
When a guy's a Vietnam vet who's clearly still coping with the horrors he witnessed during the war, maybe he should teach math or science or some other subject that won't cause him to explode on his students like a cocaine-addled volcano. Instead, Prof. Terguson, played by Sam Kininson, teaches contemporary American history and he gets a little too worked up about it.
8. Mr. Garrison, "South Park"
Maybe it's unfair to call Mr. Garrison a bad teacher since he's such a troubled soul, but we're going to do it anyway. A few of things working against him: the puppet he wears on his hand in class, Mr. Hat, is a member of the KKK; he teaches his students historically inaccurate (Chubby Checker was a Beatle) and inappropriate (the difference between a cop and a prostitute) lessons; he brings Mr. Slave, his BDSM and blasphemy-loving assistant, to class.
9. Mrs. Krabappel, "The Simpsons"
Mrs. Krabappel tries. She really does. But when Bart Simpson is one of your students, life is too hard to not take a couple dozen smoke breaks a day. If old Edna were still young and idealistic, she wouldn't have made this list. But she's been beaten down by years of the ineffective public school system, she doesn't care what happens to her students and she's so unaware of her surroundings that she'll drink her coffee after it's been spiked with booze and get fired from her job for it. Actually, this is far more tragic than funny.
10. Shale, "The Substitute"
Sometimes being a good teacher isn't about whether you helped your students excel in the classroom. Sometimes it's about whether you took out a handgun and started blowing them away in the hallways. That's what Tom Berenger--who isn't even credentialed!--does to a gang of students in "The Substitute." Gang members or not, high school students don't deserve to be shot in the face.