Since Back To School is right around the corner, let’s celebrate literature’s best teachers!

We find teachers of all kind in literature, from the effective all the way down the continuum to the extremely not helpful.  Here are some teachers who were not only effective at teaching book knowledge but who nurtured their students’ spirits and inspired them to become great human beings.

Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series

This is such an obvious choice, but a list of great teachers must (must!) include the head of the Hogwarts School, who inspired students and fellow teachers alike.

Miss Edmunds in Bridge to Terabithia

Miss Edmunds is the unconventional music teacher who takes artistic and sensitive Jess under her wing. And not just at school. She invites Jess to spend the day with her at a museum and treats him to lunch. The day later takes a tragic turn, but we can’t blame Miss Edmunds for that.

Penelope Lumley  in The Incorrigible Children 

Penelope is barely into her teens when she becomes the nanny, and de facto teacher, to three children who were raised by wolves, literally. Ingenious, empathetic, and very clever, Penelope guides her charges with a steady, loving hand.

Miss Temple in Jane Eyre

Miss Temple is the kindly superintendent at the Lowood School. She treats her students with compassion despite the best efforts of treasurer Mr. Brocklehurst and protects Jane from his accusations. And Miss Temple gets her own happy ending, of sorts.

Jo March in Little Men and Jo’s Boys 

All grown up, Jo still retains her merry disposition as the head of an unconventional school for boys.

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