Teachers are the backbone of society, so it’s no wonder that television has brought teachers to the forefront of several shows over the years. While the schools on TV may not look like they do in real life, the teacher characters really do tend to be authentic in one form or another, which is what makes the shows so appealing.
Teacher TV shows have spanned decades and spanned all grade levels, meaning there’s something for everyone. Want to relive high school in the 90s from a new angle? Schooled has what you need. Looking for what it’s like to teach primary school in an underfunded school? Abbott Elementary School is the program to be broadcast.
ten Mr. Corman (2021) – 6.5
Joseph Gordon-Levitt didn’t just star in Mr Corman, corn he also created, directed and wrote the Apple TV+ show. The show centers on Josh Corman, a fifth-grade teacher in the San Fernando Valley who isn’t the greatest teacher or the best life possible.
Unlike other shows about teachers, Mr Corman follows Josh both inside and outside of school, giving viewers an inside look at what a teacher’s life is like outside of the classroom. Unfortunately, the series only lasted one season, making it part of the infamous “cancelled after one season” club.
9 Teachers (2016 – 2019) – 6.5
Although TV Land is best known for airing reruns of beloved sitcoms, the cable channel also has its fair share of original series, including Teachers. The sitcom, based on a web series of the same name, followed the lives of six teachers who worked at Fillmore Elementary School in Chicago.
The series ran for three seasons and included episodes centered around picture day, sex ed classes, and even popular book fair days. With an all-female cast, it’s a hilarious show that shows just how underpaid teachers are.
8 The Steve Harvey Show (1996 – 2002) – 6.6
In today’s era, Steve Harvey is perhaps best known as the host of the game show, family quarrel, or his own daytime talk show, but in the 90s he was also a sitcom star. Harvey stared in The WB sitcom The Steve Harvey Show as Steve Hightower, a funk legend turned teacher/principal at a Chicago high school.
The series ran for six seasons and was a comedic success, thanks in large part to its cast and numerous running gags. Not only did the show focus on the staff, but it also gave its students their own arcs, which is unique for a show about teachers.
7 Education (2019 – 2020) – 6.9
A spin-off of ABC’s hit sitcom The Goldbergs, educated is set in the 1990s and focuses on teachers at William Penn Academy in Pennsylvania. The series follows Lainey Lewis, who has returned from pursuing her dream of being a rockstar to teaching music at her alma mater.
The series ran for two seasons and explored everything from teacher novels to conflicting teaching styles. It also featured compassionate and iconic teachers, including CB, who managed to connect with the most nerdy student body and give them a safe space.
6 A Teacher (2020) – 6.9
Unlike most shows about teachers, A teacher takes a darker approach. The FX miniseries was actually based on a movie of the same name and centers on Claire Wilson, a high school English teacher who has an illicit sexual relationship with one of her students.
While the world would like to assume that teachers enter teaching solely to help children learn, it’s obvious that sometimes that goal is dominated by sexual urges. A teacher is an interesting show that examines what happens when a teacher crosses the ultimate line.
5 Welcome Back, Kotter (1975 – 1979) – 7.0
Despite four seasons on ABC and the launch of a small media franchise, Welcome to Kotter is a largely forgotten and underrated sitcom in our time. The series centers on Gabe Kotter who returns to his high school alma mater to teach a class of remedial students he once belonged to,
Welcome back, Kotter is a teacher special because it focuses on a teacher in a unique classroom setting. It also has a fun cast of characters, both working adults at school and students in the classroom. The series also faced a lot of criticism in its time, which is why it’s surprising that it lasted four seasons.
4 Mr. Iglesias (2019 – 2020) – 7.2
Comedian Gabriel Iglesias plays Mr. Iglesias in this hilarious yet underrated comedy series from Netflix. The show centers on Mr. Iglesias who teaches history at the same high school he graduated from. The series also features an eccentric principal and several students who idolize their teacher.
While Mr. Iglesias may not feature a set of teachers, it’s still a show about a teacher with a lot of heart. Over the course of two seasons, the show explores how important it can be to have a teacher who genuinely cares about their students’ lives.
3 Boston Public (2000 – 2003) – 7.3
Unsurprisingly located in Boston, David E. Kelley’s Boston Public focuses on a set of teachers who work in a public high school. Unlike other shows about teachers, Boston Public is a true drama that doesn’t shy away from exploring the ups and downs of what it’s like to be an underrated teacher.
This is the perfect teacher show for teachers as it offers a pretty authentic look at what the profession is all about. The series ran for four seasons before being canceled, largely in part because it was moved to an unfavorable timeslot in its fourth season, as reported. The Futon Reviewer.
2 AP Bio (2018 – 2021) – 7.4
Jack Griffin was very comfortable teaching philosophy at Harvard University, but that all ended when his rival fired him. Now Griffen is stuck teaching advanced placement biology to a tight-knit group of high schoolers. Instead of doing the job given to him, Griffen instead uses his students to help him get revenge on his rival once and for all.
AP Organic is hilarious and provides an interesting insight into the hierarchies that teachers face when it comes to the level at which they teach. Although there aren’t a large number of teachers, Jack Griffin’s experiences are enough to carry the show.
1 Abbott Elementary (2021 – ) – 8.0
Although it only aired a handful of episodes in 2021, Abbott Elementary School is arguably one of the best new shows and new comedies of the year. The series centers on an eccentric and diverse group of elementary school teachers who teach at an underfunded Philadelphia school. Despite their money troubles, the teachers are determined to give their students the best, even if it means compromising their own morals to do so.
Abbott Elementary School is one of the most authentic portrayals of teachers in a television series. Although it doesn’t follow them home, it shows how your co-workers can become family. He is also not shy about showing the lows that teachers can face when they are not supported by their states.
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