They inspire us. They shape our minds. And sometimes, they make us laugh. Teachers make an important formative impression on us, so it’s no wonder there are so many memorable educators on television. Sometimes these characters serve as our guides, sometimes they’re the comic relief, and sometimes they’re the main characters — whoever they are, the wit and wisdom of these TV teachers make them hard to forget.
From the introspective insights of Boy Meets World’s Mr. Feeny to the absurdity of Community’s Señor Chang to the heartwarming tenacity of Ms. Teagues on Abbott Elementary, what these teachers have to say always makes an impact. In honor of all the very real educators who shape and guide our lives, here are 14 lovable lines from some of our favorite teachers on TV.
Well, technically, chemistry is the study of matter. But I prefer to see it as the study of change.
— Walter White (Bryan Cranston), "Breaking Bad"
I don’t care if you think I’m good at this or not anymore. I care about whether or not I can make a change.
— Janine Teagues (Quinta Brunson), "Abbott Elementary"
In the course of your education, you have always been taught to look for the right answer. But you must also know that in life, sometimes the right answer is that there isn't one.
— Mr. Feeny (William Daniels), "Boy Meets World"
Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!
— Ms. Frizzle (Lily Tomlin), "The Magic School Bus"
Life only really has one beginning and one end, and the rest is just a whole lot of middle.
— Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), "Glee"
Whoever's holding the feeling stick has permission to say whatever he or she is feeling without being judged. I'll go first. Um… I feel like I want to know what you're feeling.
— Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel), "New Girl"
You've got big dreams. You want fame. Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying: in sweat.
— Lydia Grant (Debbie Allen), "Fame"
I woke up this morning, and I realized that I studied and taught the great literature all my life. And those stories are replete with characters that let opportunities slip by, but what I teach is more than literature; it's lessons in life.
— Max Medina (Scott Cohen), "Gilmore Girls"
I'll tell you why I teach Spanish. It is none of your business, OK? I don't wanna have any conversations about what a mysterious, inscrutable man I am.
— Ben Chang (Ken Jeong), "Community"
Look, what is holding you back? I'm not cool enough? Don't let the fact that your English teacher is a dork stop you from fulfilling your potential!
— Richard Katimski (Jeff Perry), "My So-Called Life"
Open with a joke? It’s a university, not a comedy club!
— Ross Geller (David Schwimmer), "Friends"
The students — you know, I finally think I'm starting to reach 'em. They may not always like the way I do things, but at least I know I finally gained their respect.
— Steve Harvey (Steve Harvey), "The Steve Harvey Show"
You show me a teacher who doesn't almost lose his or her mind sometimes, and I'll show you a teacher who's not trying.
— Marla Hendricks (Loretta Devine), "Boston Public"
I'm a kindergarten teacher. I see a confused little kid in the corner trying to eat the lefty scissors, I gotta help.
— Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan), "How I Met Your Mother"
Photo credit: PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive/ Alamy Stock Photo