Teachers make for some of the most memorable characters in film and TV -- whether the strict, cane-swishing type, or the more encouraging, supportive figure. Take our 12-question quiz to find out if you’re top of the class or deserve a week’s detention. And see if you can do better than your kids.
1. Which children’s character has a fearsome headteacher called Agatha Trunchbull?
2. What is the first name of Hogwart’s Potions Master Professor Snape?
3. What is the unlikely name of the cruel headmaster in Charles Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby? (a) Arkwright Swivelstick (b) Travers Whippencrack (c) Major Backsmart, (d) Wackford Squeers
4. Which famous actor plays a working as an undercover kindergarten teacher in a 1990 comedy film?
5. Which of the following is NOT a teacher at Springfield Elementary in The Simpsons?
(a) Miss Hoover, (b) Mr MacGyver, (c) Mrs Krabappel, (d) Principal Skinner
6. Miss Ada Cackle presides over Cackle’s Academy in which much-loved series of novels and TV show?
7. What non-curricular subject does Mr Kesuke Miyagi teach to Daniel LaRusso?
8. Henry “The Fonz” Winkler plays cool music teacher Mr Rock in which CBBC show (based on Winkler’s books)?
9. Which movie franchise include the teachers Mr Strickland and Clara Clayton?
10. Speaking of music, who plays the rock star turned substitute teacher in 2003 film School of Rock?
11. In The Demon Headmaster, a TV series and a set of novels by Gillian Cross, what power does the infernal teacher use to control his pupils?
12. And finally, which of these celebrities was NOT a teacher before they found fame?
(a) Simon Cowell, (b) JK Rowling, (c) Hugh Jackman, (d) Sylvester Stallone
Scroll down for answers.
1. Matilda, from the eponymous Roald Dahl novel, and its stage and screen adaptations. “The Trunchbull” is the archetypal nasty teacher, keen on discipline and lacking humour.
3. (d) Wackford Squeers. Another example of a fearsome teacher, Squeers heads up the equally improbably named Dotheboys Hall.
4. Arnold Schwarzenegger. A 2016 sequel saw fellow ageing hardman Dolph Lundgren play the undercover teacher.
5. (b) Mr MacGyver, who I just made up. Other named teachers at the school include music teacher Dewey Largo (who features in the opening credits), gym teacher Prunella Pommelhorst, and the unforgettable Mr Glasscock.
6. The Worst Witch. See our map of fictional homes for the location of her academy.
7. Karate, in the Karate Kid films. And fence painting. And car waxing.
8. Hank Zipzer.
9. Back to the Future. Strickland is the long-serving bald teacher with a short temper, while Clara is a wild west school teacher in the third film, who ends up marrying Doc Brown.
10. Jack Black.
12. (a) Simon Cowell. Rowling was briefly employed as a language teacher in Portugal; Jackman spent a gap year as a PE teacher in the small English town of Uppingham, Rutland; Stallone was also a PE teacher, in Switzerland (in Rocky III, his character took on Mr T… yet another former PE teacher).
How did you do?
1-3: See me after class; 4-6: extra homework for you; 7-9: good effort; 10-12: top of the class.
Although originally from the Midlands, and trained as a biochemist, Matt has somehow found himself writing about London for a living. He's a former editor and long-time contributor to Londonist.com and has written several books about the capital. He's also the father of two preschoolers.