7 Times That Fictional Principals Were Too Real

If only I could be more like Mr. Feeny.

Even for those who are not educators, the school principal in movies and television looms large in the imagination of people who grew up in the 80s and 90s. Now that you’re on the other side of the desk, take a look back at these iconic fictional principals. You might just have a little more in common than you think!

Mr. Rooney in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Sometimes you need to run in the hall, but you don’t want to be seen doing it. Any administrator will tell you that there’s no graceful way to move quickly through the school building.

Principal Skinner from The Simpsons

To the untrained eye, Principal Skinner is just a fictional principal on this classic show. However, only an administrator knows how much he mirrors real life. Not only does Skinner have to contend with intense bureaucracy and a very harsh supervisor, but it seems like a single ten-year-old boy takes up the majority of his time.

Principal Mullins from School of Rock

Becoming friends with other faculty is important, and it makes your job better. However, it can be hard to know how to make that happen. Here, Principal Mullins’ awkward attempts at small talk are mortifying because we’ve all been there. The best move is to relax and put some Stevie Nicks on the jukebox.

Mr. Clark in Lean on Me

Anyone who grew up in the 80s remembers the tough-as-nails principal of Eastside High. You’ve probably considered buying a bullhorn many times. It might not be your style, but it’s completely understandable why he made this choice.

Assistant Principal Vernon from The Breakfast Club

Let’s face it, Assistant Principal Vernon is a total disaster. There are few things about his style that you’d emulate. Thanks to Assistant Principal Vernon, you know that Saturday detentions are a disaster waiting to happen. In this scene, Vernon shows us what happens when we eat lunch at our desks.

Mr. Belding from Saved By The Bell

Here’s a secret all principals know: Belding’s trademark “hey hey hey!” is a great way to get people to freeze in place. There is not an administrator alive that has not used this tactic to stop kids (and adults!) in their tracks. Use it sparingly for the best effect.

Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World

Most of your day is spent managing your email, jumping from meeting to meeting, and fixing disasters. The best moments are the ones when you get to engage one on one with students. Even rarer are the moments when you can drop a piece of wisdom on an unsuspecting kid. Mr. Feeny was a master at this. And the hope of being like him is why many of us choose this career.

Join the conversations going on about school leadership in our Facebook groups at Principal Life and High School Principal Life.

Plus, 6 Ways in Which Teaching Is Nothing Like the Movies.

Posted by Anne Rubin

Anne Gomez Rubin has been a dean and teacher in Minneapolis, MN, since 2016. She tweets about education, intersectional feminism, and tacos on Twitter at @annegrubin .

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