Top Ten Teacher Stereotypes

Posted at 5:00 AM Apr 27, 2009

By Jennifer Mathieu

As the end of the current school year hangs temptingly in the distance for those of us who teach or take classes, let us take a moment to honor the top ten most enduring teacher stereotypes from kindergarten through college.  Raise your hand if you recognize one of them.

10. The One Who Thinks He is Robin Williams from Dead Poets Society

Oh gads, the one who thinks he's going to change your life by reading you poetry and quoting Walt Whitman (or Bob Dylan) and rapping at you on your level, man.  This guy (or girl) watched Dead Poets Society one too many times and is sure that he can touch your soul and change your life if only you stare at him with rapt attention and begin to nod and smile when you realize what he is saying is The Truth.  Sufferers of this stereotype may also be big fans of Stand and Deliver and Dangerous Minds.

9. The Drunk/Addict

Shows up late for class, disheveled and unkempt.  Takes frequent bathroom breaks and sweats for no apparent reason.  Seems too friendly with the dealers on campus.  Will either be completely useless or totally brilliant.  You feel like you should report him, but then you realize that if you were a teacher, you might need to self-medicate, too.

8. The Flirt

Ew, yuck.  Usually a male high school gym teacher, but with recent headlines trumpeting the dalliances between female teachers and their male students, perhaps this stereotype is changing.  The Flirt has a tendency to hold his favorite students after the bell and speak vaguely of "extra credit" while winking and grinning.  He or she peaked socially somewhere around 10th grade and is most likely reliving youth via the student body - no pun intended.  Report them.

7. Mister Fun!

Hey, kids!  Let's have class outside!  Let's watch a movie today!  Let's just sit and get totally off-topic and talk about last night's game!  We can just have a free day today because you guys have been so good!  Mister Fun is fun until about December when you realize that instead of getting smarter, you are now more stupid than you were in August.

6. The One Who Hasn't Changed in Thirty Years

This dead-eyed teacher still insists on using the mimeograph machine, she's been around so long.  Same lesson plans, same routine, same seating arrangements, same dusty old posters on the wall.  She is so out of touch with the times she continues to teach that Pluto is a planet (if she's a science teacher) and Germany is made up of two countries (if she's a social studies teacher).  Hates her job, so she went on autopilot sometime in the late '80s and never went off.  Useless.

5. Little Miss No Control

Even as a kid you almost feel sorry for this one.  Fresh out of college, she tries desperately to get the class in order by pleading, "Class! Class!" and clapping her hands, flicking the lights on and off, and screaming at the top of her lungs.  Little Miss No Control either gives up and quits/sits at her desk reading while the class goofs off, or transforms into Army Sergeant by Christmas.


Stick said:

Yep, I've had 'em all.

R-MOR said:

My Multimedia professor this semester is actually a mix of #4 and #1.

She's legendary around here for being the Army Sergeant type. Total slave driver.

Vince said:

Hey Jennifer, This is a really funny top ten list. I like the Kindergarten Cop reference, I totally forgot he was on meds, "It's not a tumor!". You can post this to our site and then link back to your site. We are looking for top ten lists and our users can track back to your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.

Anonymous said:

This is hilarious!! As a fellow teacher I got a great laugh out of this! Not to mention saw myself and my collegues in way too many of them!! Thanks for a good laugh!!

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