Go back to
Home » My Kolkata » Lifestyle » Five teachers from literature to remember this Teachers’ Day

Teachers’ Day 2022

Five teachers from literature to remember this Teachers’ Day

Teachers from Bengali and English fiction we will always hold dear

Shayeree Ghosh | Published 05.09.22, 09:02 PM
L-R: Prof. Minerva McGonagall, illustrated by Jim Kay, in ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,’ and Miss Honey and Matilda, illustrated by Quentin Blake, in ‘Matilda’

L-R: Prof. Minerva McGonagall, illustrated by Jim Kay, in ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,’ and Miss Honey and Matilda, illustrated by Quentin Blake, in ‘Matilda’

Teachers are a constant in our lives from a very early age, and if we’re lucky we get to meet that one teacher who changes our lives for the better. Since fiction often imitates life, the role of teachers in many literary works is just as varied. Some teachers are a nameless bunch in the background, and there are others that play a leading role. Their mentoring is an integral part of the story and the central character’s arc.

On this Teachers’ Day, we take a look at five teachers who left an indelible mark.


Minerva McGonagall, from the ‘Harry Potter’ series

We had to start with this phenomenal woman! We meet Professor Minerva McGonagall in the very first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopherr’s Stone, much before Harry even steps foot at Hogwarts and her protective feelings towards our hero immediately has our hearts. At the school, as Head of Gryffindor House, McGonagall has high expectations for Harry and his friends. She is a disciplinarian who demands excellence from all of her students and gives them goals to aspire to — her first lesson for the first years began with a demo of transfiguring a desk!

Among the many Hogwarts teachers, including headmaster Albus Dumbledore, McGonagall stands out as a teacher and as a member of the Order of the Phoenix. She understands the complexities of the war, yet looks out for her young wards. From making sure all four students are punished for being out of bed in first year to ensuring Harry has some extra time on his hands to prepare during the Battle of Hogwarts, McGonagall proves she always has her students’ backs! McGonagall rises as a trusted leader in the final few instalments of the series with her strategic mind, laying out battle plans for the teachers and the Order. We all need a teacher like McGonagall in our lives who will not only teach us right from wrong, but also be our fiercest supporters in times of need.

Miss Honey, from ‘Matilda’

Matilda, written by Roald Dahl, is the story of a bright young girl trapped in life with uncaring adults, including her parents. It is only at her school, Crunchem Hall, once Matilda meets Jennifer Honey that she experiences kindness for the first time. Miss Honey quickly realises that Matilda's intelligence and love for books should place her in a higher-level class, but is shut down and ignored when she mentions Matilda's intelligence to her parents and the cruel headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. Recognising her need to be supported and nurtured, Miss Honey does everything she can to encourage Matilda and push her to grow and learn. She is a guiding light for Matilda in many ways.

Khidda, from ‘Koni’

The character of Khitish Sinha or Khidda is the ultimate coach — the teacher who pushes you to do better against all odds. Moti Nandi’s story tells the tale of an underprivileged young swimmer Koni, who stands tall against all odds challenging poverty, politics, social stigmas, and other barriers. We see Khidda as the temperamental coach, who has been forced out of his club of three decades and is looking for a charge he can shape into a future champion, and he finds the talented girl in a slum and guides her in her journey to the goal of winning a national championship. The book was also adapted to screen with Soumitra Chatterjee in the role of the coach. His iconic line, “Fight Koni, fight!” has continued to be a metaphor for encouragement even today.

Parabola Sir, from ‘Parabola Sir’

Satyaban Chakraborty, or, Parabola Sir as his students lovingly nicknamed him, in Narayan Sanyal’s brilliant eponymous novel, is aptly named. A maths teacher by profession, he is an ultimate symbol of truth and honesty who never compromises the truth. His principles affect him emotionally and cost him his social standing, yet Parabola Sir does not waver. The touching story has its lighter, funny moments with mathematical expressions and theorems used as puns to reflect the mood in various settings.

Debu Pandit, from ‘Ganadevta Panchagram’

Ganadevta/Panchagram, the Jnanpith Award-winning novels by Tarashankar Bandopadhyay touches upon many relevant topics — colonial history, community, mob mentality, political turmoil, the role of Gandhi and the Congress in rural transformation, among others. In Shivkalipur, where the novel is set, the worries of one individual becomes the concern of a majority when local money lender Chhiru Pal — and, later, representatives of the British government — exploit the people. Debnath Ghosh or Debu Pandit is a school teacher and the scion of a well-to-do family, who rises to get people together and right the wrongs. A keen philanthropist, he plunges headlong into trying to eradicate mob mentality and ignorance, becoming a voice of action. When the British try to make inroads into the villages with new laws that are alien to the residents, the resistance of Debu Pandit starts building a new force of revolt.

Last updated on 05.09.22, 09:02 PM

More from My Kolkata