It is said that you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family, and the saying appears to hold true for teachers as well. You’d be well within your rights to not like Miss Cruz for giving you that detention when you didn’t hand your homework in on time, and most people would forgive you for lamenting the way Mr Jones always seems to have a pop quiz up his sleeve. Even we might agree that most PE teachers seem to derive a little too much schadenfreude from watching the students struggle to complete the bleep test year after year.
We all dream of having extraordinary teachers like the ones we see on the Silver Screen, such as Jack Black from School of Rock, or the late Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. Sure, these examples are only fictional characters, but what if you were able to choose any real person to replace Miss Cruz or Mr Jones? Who would you pick? We’ve compiled a list of people who you might want to substitute your teachers with if given the chance, but our suggestions come with a warning: be careful what you wish for…
Chemistry – Walter White
This chemistry entrepreneur turned high school teacher turned meth chef thoroughly knows his way around a laboratory and is certainly one teacher who wouldn’t put up with classroom horseplay. Unfortunately, the actor behind Mr White (Bryan Cranston) wasn’t a professional chemist before he turned to acting, so his molecular bravado stands testament more to his acting abilities than any scientific merit. Although Cranston was a member of his high school’s Chemistry Club, we might hazard a guess that either he’s forgotten a few things, or syllabuses have changed a little bit since 1973.
Psychology – Derren Brown
Brown is best known for his astonishing illusions both on stage and on screen, but he professes that he is not so much a magician as a master of psychological manipulation. It doesn’t stretch the imagination to concede that this man, who hypnotised a stranger into assassinating Stephen Fry (among other shocking feats), probably knows close to everything there is to know about the human brain. The only problem with having Brown as a teacher is that his close ties to The Magic Circle would almost certainly prevent him from sharing any of this extensive knowledge at all!
Art – Banksy
This Bristol-based graffiti master has a unique talent for using street art as a vehicle for political statements – from his kissing policeman to the Mona Lisa with a bazooka launcher – he always seems to have a creative and liberal opinion to put forward on current events. With Banksy as a teacher, art lessons might teach you a little more than just how to paint, draw or, indeed, open a spray can. It’s just a shame that nobody knows for sure who he really is…
Music – Beyoncé Knowles
This music mega mogul has been in the business since age eight and is arguably one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She can compose music, sing, dance and act, too, so she’d undoubtedly be able to teach you more than how to play chopsticks on the glockenspiel. Not only this but she’s a strong business woman, a proud feminist and a loving parent – who could be a better role model? The trouble is that employing Beyoncé costs over £300,000 for 20 minutes, which is unlikely to be a sum of money smaller than your school’s weekly budget – maybe a pre-term bake sale might drum up a little revenue?
Food Technology – Gordon Ramsey
This TV chef has trained under Marco Pierre White and has had a grand total of 15 Michelin Stars awarded to his restaurants. He definitely knows his way around a kitchen so could easily teach any class how to concoct something with a little more finesse than chocolate chip cookies or lasagna. However, Ramsey is not known for his patient and forgiving nature, so he may not be best suited for guiding early learners. After all, he was infamously quoted as telling a budding young chef, “my grandma could do better than that, and she’s dead”.
English – William Shakespeare
The Immortal Bard is commonly regarded as the greatest single contributor to English Literature. This poet, playwright and actor would not only have impeccable knowledge of grammar (if a little old fashioned) but his creative genius would help inspire your own short stories too. However, whether Shakespeare may indeed be the single best English substitute isn’t so certain. Indeed, it has been proposed that ‘Shakespeare’ may have actually been a pseudonym used by groups of other authors. “To be or not to be: that is the question”, Shakespeare would be a great English teacher, if only we could be sure that he actually was.
If this bunch of mavericks really was your teaching staff, you might be pretty excited to end the summer holidays to get back to school, however, you might also quickly find that their appeal is rather short-lived. Although old Mrs Wilson might talk a little monotonously when listing the many differences between plant and animal cells, or Mr Cunningham’s tweed jacket might smell a little too strongly of moth balls for your personal preference, these are the teachers who know their stuff and care about you enough to put in their time and dedication to make sure you achieve your full potential. Personally, we’d take a mothball filled classroom over watching Gordon Ramsey hurl expletives at failing students any day.
Who would you like to have as your celebrity teacher?
Written by Sophie Valentine
An A-Level tutor