Fictional Teachers Who Are Not Ready for Back to School

Posted by Danielle Mohlman

It’s that time of year again! While students are sharpening their pencils and laying out that first day outfit, teachers everywhere are jogging their syllabi and redecorating the classroom, full of hope and the joy of knowledge. Except for these three. To be honest, they’re kind of dreading it. But they’re here. And they’re sticking around until students start chanting “No more pencils, no more books. No more teachers’ dirty looks.” Whether they like it or not. 


Jason Fitger from Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

If Dr. Fitger has to write one more letter of recommendation, he’s going to self-combust into a million pieces. At least, that’s how it feels. His inbox is full of requests, his colleagues under tenure review won’t stop knocking on his office door, and woeful undergraduates he’s known for eleven minutes are begging for a law school recommendation. From a creative writing professor! Our advice to Dr. Fitger is to power through, sneak in humor, and take it all in stride. And whatever you do, don’t write that letter to your ex. 


James Lee from Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Shaken by the disappearance and death of his daughter Lydia, it’s no wonder Dr. Lee’s mind isn’t entirely on teaching. In fact, it’s a wonder he keeps coming back to teach class at all. Just passing him in the halls, you can tell his mind is full of memories running at breakneck speed. Our advice? Take care of yourself. Take care of your family. And be careful how vulnerable you are around your grad students. 


Wambaugh from Vivian Apple At The End of The World by Katie Coyle

When the Rapture happens, Wambaugh is the last person who wants to go back to school. With The Believers in the majority, it’s likely that her classroom will be empty anyway. And there’s nothing more disheartening than filling the minds of impressionable teenagers with the real World History – free of that garbage in the Book of Frick – only to discover that your students are part of the violent post-Rapture contingent. Our advice to Wambaugh is to show up and unlock your classroom door. You may be surprised by who (and how many) of your current and former students show up looking for a little guidance.