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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

The Hippie Teacher eschews traditional academic discipline with a more laid back, free spirit, peace, love and grooviness to their curriculum. May or may not be a good teacher, but rarely a good disciplinarian. Often let students call them by their first name "Mr. Hippie is my father; you can call me Rod," and a strange incense can be smelled from their office.

Definitely Truth in Television; while they can be in different areas of the school they tend to be in liberal arts, guidance counselors or other "soft" or "creative" subjects. Hard sciences are less common, unless crossed with Absent-Minded Professor. When portrayed sympathetically, this character is usually a Cool Teacher who is passionate about their students and finds alternative ways to influence the Book Dumb. If portrayed unsympathetically, they're either incompetent pushovers who are trying to slide by with minimal effort and hand out A's like candy, or sees their students as an entire generation they can program their own counter-culture / anti-authority ideals on.

May overlap with a Sadist Teacher, but more likely to be seen as harmless or a positive influence. Foil to the Stern Teacher. Compare Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher and Psychologist Teacher, Hippie Parents for the parent variant, and Loony Librarian.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In An American Carol we get this mixed with Politically Motivated Teacher, in song form!
  • 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.
  • Miss Lippy, Billy's first grade teacher from Billy Madison.
  • 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.
  • Enid's summer school art teacher in Ghost World.
  • Played straight with Pauline Fleming in Heathers.
  • Mr. White in The Last Mimzy.
  • 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.
  • Jeff Bridges in The Men Who Stare at Goats, playing a wide-bodied, pony-tailed hippie military officer, a variation on the Dude.
  • 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'.
  • 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.
  • River's Edge: Interestingly zigzagged with Mr. Burkewaite who appears in this film twice.
    • First in the beginning he delivers a speech about the progress made by the US society due to the 60's Civil rights movement in 60's.
    • Then it the ending he somewhat too energetically reprimands the students for not caring about the death of their mate. He reproaches both those students who did not report the murderer as well as the rest the class. He finishes his diatribe with the remark than all pupils do not care about the death of their classmate as if they did they'd be out on the street hunting down John. Thus becoming a proponent of vigilantism and posses no less.
  • Ms. Tebbit, the drama teacher in Were the World Mine. Although it's implied that she may actually be a fairy in disguise.
  • You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah: Rabbi Rebecca is pretty spacey and dresses like a hippie, even having a Grateful Dead kippah.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Although not actually hippie-ish, 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 discipline because she wasn't any good at it. Her best teacher, Susan Sto Helit, completely ignores it.
  • Mrs. Hiolet in Tough Magic is described as being bubbly, overly-bright and friendly, with strict views against corporal punishment.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Earth Mother (Amanda Chulkris), who in her youth had been the counter-culture superheroine Flower Child. She teaches magic and has plants growing out of her body.
    • Mr. Kennedy, one of the history teachers, who admitted to fellow spirit medium Jimmy T. that much of his drug-taking in the 1960s was simply to drown out the incessant chatter of the ghosts around him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ms. Dawes of Degrassi is this, she is the art teacher. She also happens to LARP in her spare time.
  • 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.
  • Frankie of Grace and Frankie teaches art class for convicts, or "society's outcasts", and is an avid fan of drugs.
  • Mr Bill "Scruffy" McGuffey of Grange Hill.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • J.D. becomes a bit like this in Scrubs: Med School (season 9). "Let's gather round the Teaching Tree!"
  • Mr. Donovan of Square Pegs, who dressed conservatively but would hark back to his nostalgic days of sit-ins and experimental theater.
  • 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.
  • Another one of Schneider's shows, Victorious, has Mr. Sikowitz. He's a very good, but very laid-back teacher who goes barefoot.
  • Art Cooney on The Wedge. He is of the "Call me Art" mould, and has zero respect from his students.

  • In The Train At Platform 4 episode "Bag", a horde of noisy children descend on the train, take over the quiet carriage because the teacher allowed them to book their own tickets since it enourages a sense of responsibilty, and proceed to write on the windows and crawl into the luggage racks while she does absolutely nothing except talk about creativity and exploring boundaries. She thinks that "we don't believe in schedules" is an appropriate response to being told the train is leaving in two minutes, and says she doesn't think of them as children, except chronologically. She also ruthlessly monitors the kids' diets (asking the snack trolley to be taken away before they see it) and won't let them have mobile phones, and apparently sees no contradiction there.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • Sun Park from American Dragon: Jake Long is a high school teacher who doesn't like being called "Ms. Park", says words like "groovy", and believes that violence is for the weak and cowardly.
  • 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.
  • Calypso from Bluey, the kids call her by her first name and her approach to teaching is very laid-back and focused on play, introspection, emotional intelligence, and appreciation for nature. Justified in that Calypso works at a Waldorf/Steiner school, where this kind of teaching method is the entire point.
  • 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.
  • 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. Burkenbake (Mr. Burkenbake. Niiiiceeee) on The Fairly OddParents!, literally a Hippie Teacher. Also the substitute teacher 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.
  • 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 named Teacher Doug who "doesn't believe in tests".
  • Mr. Simmons in Hey Arnold!; like Mr. Mackey he's more well-dressed than a stereotypical hippie, but definitely has the attitude.
  • King of the Hill: Hank Hill has locked horns with his share of this trope over the years.
  • Mr. Mandrill from My Gym Partner's a Monkey, another hippie school counselor.
  • Pixel Pinkie: Nina's mum, Fern, who is already a hippie, automatically becomes this for one episode when she substituted for a teacher that Nina accidentally wished for to be on vacation.
  • 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.
    • This would make Ms.Grotke a new age hippie seen often in the 90s. But an episode has the kids going through old year books and they see Ms.Finster as a much younger teacher. The year book praises the young teacher for positive, progressive new ways of teaching.
  • In The Replacements episode "Cheer Pressure", Riley replaces the cheerleading coach with a hippie teacher. Hilarity Ensues.
  • 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."
  • 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 "Flaming Moe", 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."
  • Miracle from Sit Down, Shut Up. Ironically, despite her fitting this trope, politically she's actually a hard right conservative.
  • 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.

    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