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Tormented Teacher

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One of Mr. Demartino's more fulfilling moments as a teacher.

Teachers have an important job, educating the youth of a nation. Unfortunately, it's not always an easy, or respected job.

They could be in charge of the Wacky Homeroom, or a Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher, or have a group of Delinquents running their classroom.

Whatever the case, these teachers are put upon, worn out, and looking forward to summer vacation almost as much as the kids they teach, possibly moreso.

They may or may not be the Stern Teacher, but odds are they're certainly not the Cool Teacher. They do try not to be the Sadist Teacher, with varying degress of success.

In many instances, these teachers are shown to be caring and concerned for their students, and oft times undeserving of some of the trials and tribulations that are their lot in life, making them sympathetic to the audience.

In some instances, the teacher does invite the scorn of the students, and so to keep them sympathetic to the audience, they will be the subject of Disproportionate Retribution and/or Comedic Sociopathy.

They often have much in common with the Badly Battered Babysitter. Teasing the Substitute Teacher applies when the regular teacher is out sick. If they're bullied too much by their students, they may become an Apathetic Teacher.

Common indicators may include Eye Twitch and Cross-Popping Veins. Chain smoking is not unheard of in older works.

Overlaps with and possibly a subtrope of Butt-Monkey.

Can be Truth in Television, particularly in areas where the prevailing mindset is that teachers are responsible for students' advancement, rather than in cooperation with parents and the students.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Doki Doki School Hours has Mika-Sensei. She's a Sensei-chan who is 27 years old, though you'd be forgiven for mistaking her for being all of 12, both in stature and maturity. She is not only the teacher for the Wacky Homeroom, but the unwanting recipient of Huge Schoolgirl Kitagawa's Hot for Teacher advances (not to mention Kitagawa is a Sadist), and is frequently scolded by the principal for not making her lessons and exams difficult enough. In addition, her students include an oblivious jock, his gay Hopeless Suitor, a girl obssesed with a pop star, a crossdresser, an otaku who draws manga pages on the back of his homework, a girl who drifts back and forth between her Weight Woe and her concerns of Perpetual Poverty, and a 15-year-old student who looks and acts like he's 40 years old.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: The students of Class 3-4, manipulated by Miyabi into hating all teachers, have driven every one of their homeroom teachers to quit before Onizuka comes on the scene. One of them even joined a cult, and another attempted suicide. One student makes fake naked photos of Onizuka and puts them up around the school, and another gets a snake (fortunately, not a venomous one) to bite his crotch.
  • Project A-Ko: Ayumi-sensei has it rough. The school is frequently being demolished by the spat between A-ko and B-ko. What's more, B-ko, a Teen Genius, and with the money to back it up by actually building the machines she can dream up, frequently makes backhanded remarks about Ayumi not keeping the class busy enough. And on top of all that, the final movie reveals that she's worried about becoming an Old Maid and is trying to hold an Arranged Marriage with Kei to avoid that fate, only to learn that Kei is the object of lust to A-ko and B-ko, and that Kei is obsessed with the childish C-ko. Her marriage is crashed by A-ko and B-ko trying to steal Kei, and by C-ko's alien family showing up to collect her. Poor, poor Ayumi-sensei.
  • School Rumble. Mr. Tani tries to be a Nice Guy, and he's actually one of the few at the school who is impressed with Harima's improvement. But he is also a Butt-Monkey who has a class of extreme personalities, has had a couple of moments with Harima where the two were Mistaken for Gay (Harima's withdrawal letter ended up in the envelope he gave Tenma, meaning Tani got the love letter intended for Tenma, and on another occasion Harima wanted to invite Tenma to the movies, but she'd moved off, so he'd accidentally asked Tani). Then, when the attractive new School Nurse, Tae Anagasaki gives him some homemade cookies as a way of introducing herself, they're eaten by Tani's rival, Kato, homeroom teacher of Class 2-D.
  • Wasteful Days of High School Girls: Masataka "Waseda" Sawatari is saddled with Nozumu "Baka" Tanaka, who comes by her nickname honestly note , and Minami "Yamai" note  Yamamoto, who is hip deep in her Chuunibyou delusions. "Waseda" has tried on numerous occasions to warn "Baka" about her scorched-earth grades and shows concern for "Yamai"'s well-being, such as having her remove her PointlessBandAids to make sure she wasn't self-harming. Usually, the strain of dealing with "Yamai" has his glasses breaking from the strain. He even says he has half a mind to make Yamamoto start paying to replace them.

    Comic Books 
  • The Beano: Due to its focus on mischievous and disruptive but loveable kids, baring the odd Sadistic Teacher, this pretty much the norm for every teacher the protagonists go up against (especially for Dennis the Menace and Minnie The Minx). However, no one else embodies quite as much as this Teacher from the The Bash Street Kids. As well as Bash Street school being an underfunded dump that is literally falling apart at the seams, he constantly has to deal with the kids antics which can range from simply being disruptive in class to flat out causing chaos throughout the town, with him constantly being the victim of numerous practical jokes and disasters they cause. To the point that several issues involve him flat out assisting the kids in their efforts to bunk off school for the day, just so he can get some peace. However, every so often their be an issue do end with him getting the occasional victory, so that things don't get too hopeless.

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Battle Royale, Kitano'a antipathy towards the kids under his "care" stems from his former life as a much-abused teacher who got maimed by one of his students.
  • At the beginning of Goodbye, Mr. Chips, the new young teacher Mr Chips has to deal with the boys playing up during prep.
  • To Sir, with Love: Sidney Poitier plays a black teacher who tries to prepare a group of rowdy teenagers from East London to succeed in life. Most of the students are white, and because of the racial tension in English society at that time, it is an uphill battle for him.

  • Adrian Mole: In The Prostrate Years, the teachers frequently have to sea with the antics of Adrian's strong-willed daughter Gracie, including carrying her when she insists on dressing as a mermaid, who cannot walk.
  • Jennings: The masters, especially the short-tempered Mr Wilkins, have to deal with many antics of the boys. A notable occasion is at the beginning of term, when supervising the boys as they write postcards home, and one boy writes "I hope you are quite", then discovers he has no space to write any more.
  • The titular Miss Nelson of the children's book "Miss Nelson is Missing!" The way she was able to finally get her class of misbehaving children to settle down was to assume an identity of a different more evil teacher, Miss Viola Swamp.
  • Little House on the Prairie: In Farmer Boy, Almanzo's schoolhouse is unable to keep a teacher because a group of older boys pride themselves on running them out of town, breaking up the school. It's rumored they've even killed one of them. This comes up when Mr. Course, the new schoolmaster, is having dinner at the Wilder's. The next day, when the older boys come to school to intimidate the new teacher, Mr. Course pulls out a bullwhip and starts using it on them. The class is so stunned they work right through lunch. Through Almanzo's shock is the realization that the whip belongs to his father.
    • Played With with Eliza Jane, Almanzo's older sister who becomes schoolmarm at Laura and Carrie's school. She's a Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher who becomes a Sadist Teacher when teaching isn't all she thought it would be. She picks on Carrie, who is smaller and sickly owing to a winter of severe malnutrition. Laura doesn't take kindly to this, and stands up for her sister. When she's punished for it, the schoolhouse stages a full-on mutiny and antagonizes the teacher right back.
  • Jack Torrance from The Shining subverts this. Prior to the story, he worked as a teacher until a student slashed his tires and Jack beat him up in a fit of rage. Jack increasingly views himself as having been victimized by the student as he undergoes Sanity Slippage, and he had indeed been pranked by him several times prior. However, he ignores that he had viciously bullied the student prior and unfairly cut him from the debate club out of jealousy of his wealth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: While we don't see much of Clara's time as a teacher, what we did see shows that she struggled to get the class to respect her. There are moments of her attempting to quiet down a rowdy class that refuses to do as she says; this is before she joins the Doctor and starts to become more confident as a person.
  • Drake & Josh: The teacher for Drake's remedial English class is at the complete mercy of the students, who for the most part are delinquents who do whatever they want. They even tie him to his desk so he can be helpless as they cause chaos in the classroom.

  • The song When I kissed the teacher by Abba, in which the teacher has to deal with the ensuing chaos.
  • Songdrops: In "The Teacher Song", the teacher is said to have mentioned needing a vacation upon being asked to pay for an apple from the singer, a student.

    Visual Novels 
  • SHUFFLE!: Ms. Nadeshiko Benibara has to deal with the antics of an Unwanted Harem in her classroom, including being told by Primula about Mayumi and Rin "playing doctor" (not Rin's idea), is frequently hit on by guys who are immediately intimidated by her rather impressive martial arts skills (she neatly slices the neck off a beer bottle with one hand), and when Nerine accidentally blows up the gym by using her magic on two students who were badmouthing Rin, she has to call for a parent-teacher conference, only to find that it's the parents that she has to lecture on proper decorum and school rules. Mind you those parents were the Kings of god and demons, and they were intimidated by her.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers episode, "Mario UNIVERSITY", Princess Peach and Shroomy are tasked with looking after a hapless teacher's rambunctious class as one of the many exams they must take to pass. The teacher barely has has time to enjoy her freedom before Shroomy accidentally throws a grenade one of her students brought staright towards her, while Peach manages to calm the class down via intimidation where Shroomy failed.

    Western Animation 
  • Daria: Lawndale High has a couple of these, though how sympathetic they are varies.
    • Mr. Demartino is a Sadist Teacher and a strange variant on a Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher. He wants his students to learn, as evidenced when he was actually helping at a summer program with younger kids, but he's teaching a bunch of high schoolers whose apathy is roughly equal to his irritation with their failure to cite the most basic of facts. He does praise students who do well, it's just that he rarely has any who do. He does score some minor victories in the series, such as getting to witness Quinn answer a question about Manifest Destiny correctly, albeit with her own spin, and he negotiates a contract for the teachers successfully with Ms. Li.
    • Mr. O'Neill is another example of a Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher, but in a vastly different way from Demartino. He's too soft, unwilling to be harsh with students who make mistakes, even to their betterment. When Kevin completely bungles the answer to a question, it actually has him bawling on his desk in frustration.
  • Classic Disney Shorts: The short Teachers Are People has Goofy serving as this to an unruly class, at one point donning an umpire's outfit as he's about to charge into the fray.
  • Droopy: The 1958 short Blackboard Jumble has the Wolf encountering a teacher that's been driven batty over his class of three Droopy-like pups and taking his place. Despite his attempts at "modern education", the pups run Wolfie ragged and he soon cracks up like the old teacher.
  • Kim Possible: Steve Barkin has had to fill in for almost every class at Middleton High. In the course of his time on the series, he's had students run from detention (Kim herself, though in her defense, she had a bomb on her nose and was being targeted by her Arch-Villain). been attacked by a mutant at a campground, been altered in a man/mole-rat hybrid (he got better), had monkey ninjas rampage through his school, dated The Dragon of Kim's arch nemesis, and had his car vaporized by Kim's brothers at her graduation. All-in-all, the guy has it rough. Not that he's entirely sympathetic, as he is the Stern Teacher, though he is also fair.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: Miss Keane, the teacher at Pokey Oaks kindergarten, has three superhuman children in her class, and constantly has to remind them that they cannot just jet off to save the world without asking for permission (though she will grant it when asked), and never gets to the part about reminding the girls to use the window before they've smashed through the roof. In addition, there's a bully in the class named Mitch (and Buttercup often sides with Mitch), and one poor child, Elmer, ends up developing superpowers of his own and going on a rampage against his own tormentors. And then there's a spoiled rich girl, Princess Morbucks, who goes full-on supervillain, and Miss Keane has to constantly remind her and the PPG not to fight in class.
  • The Simpsons: Mrs. Krabapple had to deal with Bart's disruptive antics, and apparently his misbehavior is so unruly that the teacher's union had to include a clause in their contract that no teacher who has Bart in their classroom will be held legally responsible if he dies while under their supervision.
  • Sponge Bob Squarepants: All Mrs. Puff (SpongeBob's boating achool teacher) wants is to pass the sponge and get him out of her hair. The problem is that SpongeBob is a horrible driver, so Mrs. Puff has to bear the brunt of all his accidents and her consequent inflations. Her time with him got so bad that in "Demolition Doofus", Mrs. Puff tricks him into signing up for a demolition derby just for the other competitors to kill him, then join in herself when it backfires.