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Hippie Teacher

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Let's get in touch with our inner-granola, m'kay?
"Did I ever tell you kids about the sixties?"
Unnamed teacher, The Simpsons

May or may not be a good teacher, but never a good disciplinarian. Often let students call them by their first name ("Mr. Hippie Teacher is my father; you can call me Rod"). Definitely Truth in Television; many people had art teachers like this. While in fiction they can teach any subject, art teachers, guidance counselors and other teachers of "soft" or "creative" subjects tend to predominate with hard sciences being less common unless crossed with Absent-Minded Professor. When portrayed sympathetically, this character is usually a Cool Teacher. If portrayed unsympathetically, they're well-meaning but ultimately incompetent pushovers who are viewed as A factories by students at best and arrogant, passive-aggressive moralists who hand out As to anyone who agrees with them at worst.

Contrast with the Sadist Teacher. Compare Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher and Psychologist Teacher, and Hippie Parents for the parent variant.



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     Anime and Manga 
  • Although he is too young to be a real hippie, Watanabe Osamu of The Prince of Tennis fits the mold.
  • Souma from Sora No Manimani. He spent most of his twenties travelling all around the world and working for N.G.Os.
  • In the Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin prequel story Casval, 0057, it's revealed that Char's father Zeon Zum Deikun was originally a politically active university professor before becoming the face of the Space Colony independence movement. Being that he's involved in a car bomb plot against the Federation security bureau and makes overwrought comparisons between Jesus Christ and his newly born son (who will go on to attempt to blow up the entire Earth) Deikun is less New-Age Retro Hippie and more dangerously unhinged Weather Underground hippie.

     Fan Works 
  • In the Discworld continuum of A.A. Pessimal, unwary students at the Assassins’ Guild School might briefly think that just because she looks like the classic Hippie Teacher, their Art Mistress, Miss Gillian Lansbury, is a pushover. Gillian is also a graduate Assassin. She makes her own paints. Even those hues hitherto thought to be harmless are deadly. Pupils annoying her are soon sent to create their own bespoke paintbox and find themselves grinding the pigments for Ubu White (lead), Agatean Yellow (arsenic), Cobalt Blue, Vermilion (mercury salts), Prussic Green (cyanides) and other gloriously colourful pigments such as Death Black and Agent Orange. They might also discover even the linseed oil isn’t harmless if ingested.
  • Starfire to the new Titans team in the Our Own League novels. Her class is about applying philosophy to superhero-ing, so it involves a lot of talking about feelings and trust building exercises.

  • Ms. Tebbit, the drama teacher in Were the World Mine. Although it's implied that she may actually be a fairy in disguise.
  • Although not exactly a hippie (he's a rock musician), Jack Black's character from School of Rock fits the bill, especially his "stick it to the Man" diatribes and very liberal views on discipline.
  • Enid's summer school art teacher in Ghost World.
  • Mr. White in The Last Mimzy.
  • Played straight with Pauline Fleming in Heathers.
  • Jeff Bridges in The Men Who Stare at Goats, playing a wide-bodied, pony-tailed hippie military officer, a variation on the Dude.
  • Miss Lippy, Billy's first grade teacher from Billy Madison.
  • In Animal House, Donald Sutherland plays Professor Dave Jennings, a university level version of this. In a slight variation, the film's setting is contemporaneous with the actual hippie movement, making him a Cool Teacher as well. As it turns out, he's just as bored by the subject matter of his lectures as his students are.
  • In the movie version of the musical Mame, during the song, "Open a New Window", we see Mame taking her nephew to many different schools with different educational philosophies, but she promptly pulls him out of an all-nude, all-boys' school headed by a nude headmaster.
  • The teacher in Dazed and Confused who tells her students that the riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention was the "most bitchin'" time of her life.
  • The New Guy has the Guidance Counselor in Diz's first school, who is such a bleeding heart that Diz Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin'.

  • Barbara Finney from The Cat Ate My Gymsuit was the first person to help insecure Marcy Lewis break out of her shell. Her controversial teaching methods has also caused an uproar from a large portion of the school faculty.
  • Although not actually hippieish, Madame Frout, headmistress of the Frout Academy of Learning Through Play in the Thief Of Time, has invented a method of teaching that doesn't involve dicipline because she wasn't any good at it. Her best teacher, Susan Sto Helit, completely ignores it.
  • Mr. Freeman, the art teacher from the YA book Speak (although the narrator takes pains to point out that he's not an ineffectual disciplinarian; he has different rules than the other teachers, but he does make people follow them).
  • The music teacher, Miss Edmunds, in Bridge to Terabithia is a literal hippie as the book takes place not soon after the The Vietnam War. She stands out like a sore thumb in the small-town she lives in due to this. She's considered weird because she wears pants and a lot of the adults complain about her. Jess however has a Precocious Crush on her and thinks she's a breath of fresh air amongst his boring peers.
  • Ms Partridge, Bigmac's social worker in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy used to be like this, before dealing with Bigmac wore her down:
    When she'd started the job, less than a year ago, she'd firmly believed that everything that was wrong with the world was the fault of Big Business and the Government. She believed even more firmly now that it was all the fault of Bigmac.
  • Mrs. Hiolet in Tough Magic is described as being bubbly, overly-bright and friendly, with strict views against corporal punishment.
  • Firenze the centaur in Harry Potter.

     Live-Action TV 
  • iCarly: Mr. Henning. He loves nature, disproves of modern methods (or rather just major energy wasting ones), and takes students on a root and berry retreat.
    Spencer: You know, when I was at Ridgeway, I had a teacher who was such a loser! He's a freaky weirdo and smells like rotten wood...
    Mr. Henning: Spencer? That's me.
    Spencer: What? (pauses) Oh.
    • Henning seems to use the root and berry retreat as a form of Cool and Unusual Punishment on his students. While he himself enjoys it, he knows his students don't and uses it as a threat to make them try their best on their projects (failing grades can only be made up by going on the trip with him).
  • Mr Bill "Scruffy" McGuffey of Grange Hill.
  • Another one of Schneider's shows, Victorious, has Mr. Sikowitz. He's a very good, but very laid-back teacher who Does Not Like Shoes.
  • Mr. Rosso on Freaks and Geeks is a Hippie Guidance Counselor.
    • Interestingly enough, while he still fits the classic trope, he's also a well-rounded enough character to be legitimately helpful at times and be thoroughly capable of discipline.
    Rosso (driving up to Lindsay and Nick who are skipping school): Guess who's in trouble!
    • Though he may be more disciplinary than most trope examples, the legacy of his time as a hippy does occasionally disadvantage him. For example, in an episode when then Vice President George H. W. Bush came to visit the school, despite his political differences he tied back his hair and put on his best air of respectability. However, he is turned away by a secret service agent (played by Ben Stiller) due to his name being on some subversive mailing lists back in The '60s.
  • Art Cooney on The Wedge. He is of the "Call me Art" mold, and has zero respect from his students.
  • Mr. Jellineck from Strangers with Candy, in sharp contrast to his secret lover.
    • According to Paul Dinello, Jellineck (a totally insecure loser) was based on Hippie Teachers who in real life are often considered kind of creepy by their students, who don't really want a forty-year-old man giving them advice on problems he shouldn't even know about and insisting that he "gets" them all the time.
  • Ms. Dawes of Degrassi is this, she is the art teacher. She also happens to LARP in her spare time.
  • Mr. Donovan of Square Pegs, who dressed conservatively but would hark back to his nostalgic days of sit-ins and experimental theater.
  • J.D. becomes a bit like this in Scrubs: Med School (season 9). "Let's gather round the Teaching Tree!"
  • Valerie on Awkward., who is more of a Cloud Cuckoolander than a hippie, but fits the mold by being a horrible disciplinarian and treating the kids (especially Jenna, her favorite) like they're her friends.
  • On Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Detective Jake Peralta's mom, Karen, is a mellower version of this, teaching art classes and sporting a hippie-influenced fashion sense, including round glasses and beads. She even appears to be the right age to have grown up in the 1960s.
  • Lily on How I Met Your Mother is one of these to her kindergarten class. Somewhat justified since pre-schoolers really don't respond very well to a Stern Teacher.
  • Frankie of Grace and Frankie teaches art class for convicts, or "society's outcasts", and is an avid fan of drugs.
  • Miss Claymore, the ceramics teacher in 100 Things to Do Before High School. She spends a lot of time talking abut auras and healing energy.

     Video Games 
  • Professor Potsdam in Magical Diary, although she can be terrifyingly competent when the need calls for it. All while calling you and the other students such things as "starshines" and various diminuitives for plant and animal offsprings.

     Web Comics 
  • Merlin Ambrosius, in his role as Arthur's art teacher in Arthur, King of Time and Space ... maybe. He's definitely a hippy and a teacher, but we don't really see him teach to judge if he actually fits the trope.
  • In Questionable Content, Sam's entire school is like this, since students can skip class whenever they want, as long as it's for "personal development and life experiences".
    Faye: That is the most Pioneer fuckin' Valley thing I ever heard.

     Western Animation 
  • Mr. Van Driessen on Beavis and Butt-Head (pictured), a literal hippie who embodies pretty much every stereotype associated with the 60's counter-culture. His teaching methods and easy going nature makes him fairly popular with the students, but are unfortunately completely wasted on the main characters. Supposedly based on a real teacher Mike Judge had in high school.
  • Mr. Mackey, the school counselor on South Park, is almost a Captain Ersatz for Mr. Van Driessen, since he is constantly using the catchphrase "Mmmkay?" He doesn't quite fit the profile visually with his tightly-tied tie and short haircut, but he is a lot more "empathetic" toward the children than teacher Mr. Garrison (who often loses his temper when the students get unruly). His Day in the Limelight episode also has him briefly take up drugs and embrace an overtly hippie lifestyle, although of course he gives up both by the end of the episode.
  • Mr. O' Neill on Daria, who is scarily similar to Mr. Van Driessen save for the fact that he's not overtly a hippie. When Daria and Jane come to visit his apartment in one episode, it's filled with new age-y paraphernalia, and he offers them tea with a gem tincture.
  • Mr. Simmons in Hey Arnold!; like Mr. Mackey he's more well-dressed than a stereotypical hippie, but definitely has the attitude.
  • Recess: Ms. Grotke is the most obvious example, but according to The Movie, Principal Prickly and Ms. Finster were Hippie Teachers back in the sixties.
  • Mr. Burkenbake (Mr. Burkenbake. Niiiiceeee) on The Fairly OddParents, literally a Hippie Teacher. Also Mrs. Sunshine in "No Substitute for Crazy" until Timmy wishes her into Mr Crocker's job, and she reveals herself to be a scarily competent Fairy Hunter whose professional name is Miss Doombringer.
  • Doug's school counselor Mr. Shellacky straddles this and Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher. As that he is always suggesting "Hugs" and other "Make Love" solutions to problems and his office is plastered with feel-good posters.
  • Mr. Mandrill from My Gym Partner's a Monkey, another hippie school counselor.
  • King of the Hill: Hank Hill has locked horns with his share of this trope over the years.
  • Miracle from Sit Down, Shut Up. Ironically, despite her fitting this trope, politically she's actually a hard right conservative.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Springfield Elementary has one — he's just a background character, but he usually shows up when there's a group of teachers onscreen. When all the textbooks were stolen and the teachers had to improvise their lessons, he sat cross-legged on his desk and asked, "Did I ever tell you kids about the '60s?"
    • Skinner dates one in another episode, the substitute music teacher Calliope.
    • "Weekend at Burnsie's": When Homer starts medicating upstairs, Lisa sniffs the air and remarks "It smells like the art teacher's office."
  • In The Replacements episode "Cheer Pressure", Riley replaces the cheerleading coach with a hippie teacher. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Steve Small from The Amazing World of Gumball is the student counselor for Elmore Junior High and very much a hippie: he wears tie-dye and sandals, holds interpretive dance classes, and tried to subsist on a diet of sunlight and meditation. Beneath that however, he strongly diverges from the type as he shows himself to be violently bipolar, impatient, and often quite mean to his students—he once smashed an old painting with a club and burned it for being a "relic of convention", acted as a Drill Sergeant Nasty at cheerleading try outs, and when two students have trouble with when to tell the truth or lie he eventually decides to just scare them into never talking again. He also admitted to only being a vegan so he can feel superior to everyone else and in another was willing to eat the Wattersons when he led a raider gang of students and neighbors.
  • Family Guy had an episode where Chris is in danger of failing history because of his Stern Teacher (and just being plain dumb). Stewie and Brian attempt to help him learn the material via a time-travel adventure, but with very little success, until they arrive back home, and discover that Chris's original teacher no longer exists due to them accidentally causing his ancestor to drown on the Titanic. He has been replaced by a Hippie Teacher who "doesn't believe in tests".
  • Rick and Morty used the trope in The Stinger of "Lawnmower Dog", where the stern teacher in Scary Terry's nightmare gets replaced by "Scary Mr. Johnston", who then corrects himself, using the "that's my dad's name" line and telling the class to call him "Scary Glenn."

     Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: Being a hippie is essentially a prerequisite for a professorship at The Evergreen State College, an "alternative" institute of higher learning in Olympia, WA, which does away with, among other things, grades.
  • If someone was a 20-year-old college student in the 1960s, then today they'd be old enough to retire. Which means many, if not most of them likely entered the workforce after graduating college. Thanks to the Draft being a big part of the 60's and 70's as well, it's entirely possible for one of your teachers to have been a Hippie Teacher and a Retired Badass Veteran Instructor.

Alternative Title(s): Hippy Teacher


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