There are always those teachers who have a lasting impact on you. Whether it’s instilling a lifelong love of an area of study or simply inspiring you to be a better person, we all have those aspects of our lives where we can say “I am doing this now” or “I love this so much because of my teacher.” And while we could sit for hours talking about our favorite teachers, there was one educator who managed to inspire and teach an entire generation of kids: Ms. Frizzle.
Though Ms. Frizzle is the fictitious, overly-adventurous teacher from The Magic School Bus, she was without a doubt one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Okay, sure, she may have had some unconventional teaching methods, like shrinking the class down to travel through the body of a sick student or turning her class into bees…
Still, the lessons she taught us all went far beyond math and science. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember a lot of the content taught on The Magic School Bus. What I do remember are those life-lessons that The Friz taught us.
Ms. Frizzle was always a bit of an odd duck. She dressed in crazy dresses, and she had a non-traditional pet in the form of a very lively little chameleon named Liz (because what ELSE do you name a lizard?).
The Friz stood out in a crowd, but she never shied away from it. She was never embarrassed about who she was, what she liked, and she never hid her constant thirst for knowledge. She waswas always 100% unabashedly herself, and she always welcomed her students to be themselves. And while the other kids might push back on a kid’s eccentricities, Ms. Frizzle never mocked, teased, or scolded a kid for being who they really were–not even with Carlos and his incessant, painful dad jokes. I mean, just look at how pleasant she is in the face of some seriously groan-worthy Carlos comedy:
Ms. Frizzle made learning fun, and she helped give kids the confidence to proudly love whatever they were passionate about, even if it wasn’t particularly “cool”. Math and science were never my jam personally, but Ms. Frizzle’s consistent lessons of fostering creativity, curiosity, and a love of learning helped me feel totally unashamed of my bookish passions. I can think of a handful of real teachers that I had who fostered my love of literature and writing, but it was the foundation laid by Ms. Frizzle that helped me embrace a curious spirit.
And while Ms. Frizzle cared for and accepted her students for who they truly were, she also pushed them to try new things. She taught them they were great just as they were, but she also tried to instill ambition and bravery in them. She wanted them to be strong enough and brave enough to truly be themselves and take big chances. She constantly helped her kids overcome obstacles in their lives from pushing Phoebe to overcome her stage fright to helping Arnold overcome his fear of the unknown (specifically the unknown in Ms. Frizzle’s field trips which, to be fair, often edged on the dangerous side).
In teaching the kids on The Magic School Bus, Ms. Frizzle taught all of us to ask questions, to be brave, and embrace who we really are. She gave us a love of learning, and helped us embrace a natural curiosity about life and the way the world works around us. While her field trips would have likely gotten her fired (or killed) in the real world–I mean, can you imagine the field trip permission slips she’d have to craft–she made us all feel like we could achieve anything. She did what any great teacher does, real, animated, or otherwise, she didn’t just teach us a subject in school. She empowered us to dream big and to chase those dreams. So today on National Teacher Day, we say thanks to Ms. Frizzle, one of our all-time favorite teachers. Thanks for all you taught us.
Did you watch The Magic School Bus growing up? What lessons did Ms. Frizzle teach you? What were some of your other favorite fictitious teachers? Let’s discuss in the comments!
Feature Image: PBS