Teaching is a difficult job (even with the help that technological advancements provide). While some do it better than the others, there are those whose lives and lessons continue to inspire long after the sessions and classes are over. These fictional mentors come to mind.

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8. Walter White, Breaking Bad

Due mostly to the context of his relationship with Jesse Pinkman, Walt is as tough as teachers can get. The chemist-turned-teacher-turned-meth-cook made Jesse learn his lessons the hard way but he always made it a point to look out for him.

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7. Dewey Finn, School of Rock

We all know that Dewey Finn isn’t the role model type, what with him ruining his best friend’s life and all. But Mr. Finn’s unconventional teaching shows a group of apparently talented 10-year-olds the rewards (and punishments) of pushing the limits.

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6. Miss Honey, Matilda

If all grade school teachers were as nurturing as sweet Miss Honey, more kids would probably live up to their potential. Miss Honey lovingly took Matilda away from her abusive parents and bravely fought her own demons (in the form of her aunt, Headmistress Trunchbull).

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5. Mrs. Wilkinson, Billy Elliot

When Sandra Wilkinson saw promise in Billy’s dancing, she did everything she could (and even helped him lie to his dad who feared his ballet-dancing son would be made fun of) to open doors for him. While Dewey Finn’s motivations for making his students perform can be qualified as a little self-serving, Mrs. Wilkinson’s all out support was the unrelenting wind beneath Billy’s wings.

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4. Mr. Miyagi, Karate Kid

Daniel LaRusso’s sensei is a paragon of sangfroid. He had all the right to be a bitter, vengeful karate-fighting man (because you know, he lost his wife and kid and then fought in the World War II to get out of an internment camp) but he chose to live a life of Zen, honor and restraint, and used his wisdom to edify these very values to Daniel.

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3. John Keating, Dead Poets Society

John Keating, in all his resplendent strangeness, inspires a group of young men in a stuffy all-boys school to love literature and to have a hunger for independent, critical thinking. Like most teachers with unorthodox methods he gets sacked. But like true a life mentor, he leaves a lasting mark.

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2. LouAnne Johnson, Dangerous Minds

Based on real life, Dangerous Minds’ Miss Johnson is a former US marine who finds a job teaching a difficult group of jaded, underprivileged teenagers who are involved in the drug trade and gang warfare. While any other teacher would’ve either packed up and left or just continued with the curriculum without engagement from the students, she worked hard to motivate her students by using methods that they can relate to.

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1. Tang, On the Job

Forget that Tang is a hired gun (who also happens to be in prison for homicide), think about how he loved and cared for his protégé so much that when it came down to it, he made sure that the young Daniel wouldn’t end up like him. Tough love.


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