Our favourite teachers in children's books

Published on: 08 July 2015 Author: Nisha Alberti

We've taken a closer look at some of our favourite teachers in children's books - and their origin stories.

Find out how Stuart Little, Miss Honey and Hagrid became teachers (chance played a big part!)

Stuart Little in EB White's Stuart Little

Stuart Little is - very briefly - a substitute teacher, and a popular one at that. But it's a bit of luck that gets him his new role. Stuart spots a man who is clearly worried about something. Chatting to him he finds out it's because a teacher at his school is ill and there is no one to replace her. Stuart, always willing to help, becomes a substitute teacher and saves the day!

His pupils are all very sad to see him leave. Here are Stuart Little's two top tips to becoming a teacher - the right outfit and making it interesting:

Stuart Little'If I'm to conduct a class in a schoolroom, I'd better take off these motoring togs and get into something more suitable,' he said. Stuart climbed down the bank, went into the bushes, and was back in a few minutes wearing a pepper-and-salt jacket, old striped trousers, a Windsor tie, and spectacles.'
'Do you think you can maintain discipline?' asked the superintendent.'
'Of course I can,' replied Stuart. 'I'll make the work interesting and the discipline will take care of itself. Don't worry about me'

(From Stuart Little by EB White, illustrated by Garth Williams [Puffin, 2000])


Miss Honey in Roald Dahl's Matilda

Miss Honey is probably the first teacher that springs to mind when thinking about teachers in children's books. (Though we have to give a shout out to Matilda's Mrs Phelps as the most memorable librarian in children's books!)

Miss Honey is a great teacher though and she'll go out of her way to help her students. Here's how Miss Honey became a teacher:

'Then how did you become a teacher? Matilda asked.
'There is a Teacher's Training College in Reading,' Miss Honey said. 'That's only forty minutes' bus-ride away from here. I was allowed to go there on condition I came straight home again every afternoon to do the washing and ironing and to clean the house and cook the supper.'
'How old were you then?' Matilda asked.
'When I went into Teacher's Training I was eighteen,' Miss Honey said.

(From Matilda by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake [Jonathan Cape, 2010])

Hagrid in JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Is Hagrid a great teacher? Well, his intentions are good and you certainly will learn how to deal with magical creatures... but you might sustain a scrape along the way. But we think he's pretty great! Here's how Hagrid got into the teaching profession, as announced by Dumbledore:

'well, I am sorry to tell you that Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs. However I am delighted to say that his place will be filled by none other than Rubeus Hagrid, who has agreed to take on this teaching job in addition to his gamekeeping duties.'

(From Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling [Bloomsbury, 1999])

Topics: Classics, Features

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