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Our Favorite Professors from Movies

by Hannah Simon on October 13, 2011
Sophomore > Magazine Journalism> Syracuse University
Professor McGonagall: Reason #8734 you'd like to transfer to Hogwarts.
Professor McGonagall: Reason #8734 you'd like to transfer to Hogwarts.

Have you ever been watching a movie and wished that one of the professors you enjoyed could be yours? Here's who we'd like to see in our classrooms.

1. Professor John Keating in Dead Poets Society

English Professor John Keating uses his unorthodox teaching methods to inspire his students. From having the students stand on their desks to ripping pages out of their textbooks, Professor Keating uses whatever tricks he can to instill the idea of carpe diem to the boys who eventually become the Dead Poets Society. Who would not want a professor that insists on being called “O Captain! My Captain!”?

 

2. Professor Charles Kingsfield in The Paper Chase

“You come in here with a skull full of mush and you leave thinking like a lawyer.” Contracts Professor Kingsfield is the terrifying adversary to young first-year law student James T. Hart. Perhaps the toughest and most intimidating professor to ever grace the silver screen, if Kingsfield were real, there is no doubt you would leave his class nothing short of brilliant.

3. Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter films

Minerva McGonagall taught transfiguration at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry before becoming head of the department. Though she was stern in her teaching methods, she showed her lighter side when she saw Harry’s skills as a born seeker. Let’s not forget the badassery she displayed going up against Dolores Umbridge, and perhaps her finest hour, rallying the troops at Hogwarts in The Deathly Hallows: Part Two.

 

4. Dr. Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones in Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Many forget that when he was not out searching for the Lost Ark or Holy Grail, Indiana Jones taught archeology on the side. Though he does not spend much time in the classroom, I am sure a real class taught by Dr. Jones would have fascinating tales of hunting for Nazis and leave you wanting to write “I Love You” on your eyelids.

5. Professor Glenn Holland in Mr. Holland’s Opus

Struggling musician and composer Glenn Holland takes a teaching position to make ends meet. Spanning 30 years, Professor Holland forms an incredibly close bond with his students and inspires them to pursue music.

6. Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men

Professor “X” promoted mutant rights and favored non-violent means of gaining them. He was a scientific genius and high-level telepath capable of reading, and manipulating human minds. As the leader and founder of the X-Men, Professor Xavier played the Martin Luther King Jr. to Magneto’s more aggressive Malcolm X.

7. Professor Lawrence “Larry” Gopnik in A Serious Man

Professor Gopnik may be a bit neurotic and his physics lectures may be hard to swallow, but at least the man handles the classroom with some integrity, whether it be refusing to take bribes from students or dealing with the daily blows that life sends his way.

8. Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady

When we first encounter Professor Higgins on the streets of London he is haughty and misogynistic, exclaiming that he could teach any woman to speak “properly” and pass her off as high society. He meets Eliza Doolitle and everything changes. A flower seller from the slums, she is a match for Higgins’s stern demeanor, and ruffles his feathers, ultimately becoming the object of his desire.

9. Professor George Falconer in A Single Man

Professor Falconer is mourning the death of his longtime partner, Jim, and grappling with the fact that in the 1960s he is not free to live as a gay man. His passion is evident in one scene when he completely forgoes his teaching plans to instead discuss the topic of “fear” and how it relates to the treatment of minorities. We only see a glimpse of his lecture but the brief moment reveals Falconer’s views that challenge the status quo and rattle his students to the core.

 

10. Professor Dave Jennings in Animal House

Professor Jennings probably wont be accepting any teaching accolades any time soon, but his brutal honesty to his students is refreshing. Admitting that he too is bored with the material he is teaching, he gets stoned with his students and tries to turn them onto his left-wing ideologies.

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