T5W – Favourite Teachers / Mentors

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

This week’s topic is: Favourite Teachers / Mentors

I thought long and hard about this one.

Off the top of my head, my quick answers were Gandalf the Grey in LOTR, Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter, Yoda in Star Wars, Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men… More I thought about that though, more I felt that all of those mentors fitted a certain archetype.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those characters. I think they are wonderful – full of wisdom, strength and kindness and I see them as having a prominent and well-deserved place in their stories.

However being a female, I wanted to show some female representation. After some thinking, I came up with following list:

Side note: I may have cheated as used fictional characters from both literature as well as movies. 🙂 Oh well.. 😉

  • Aibileen Clark, The Help 

the help

Aibileen’s wonderfully complex character is one of my favourite mentoring characters.

The Help is set in 1962 with Aibileen being one of the main characters. She is a black woman who has been taking care of white babies since she was a teenager. She has raised many children.

In the book, Aibileen taught Mae Mobley to value kindness, intelligence and fairness. Mae Mobley is an abused child that would have not have any self-worth had it not been for Aibileen.  She also made her aware of racial equality and civil rights – something very dangerous but extremely important during that time.

One of my favourite quotes of this book is:

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” 

  • Sarah Connor, The Terminator


Another flawed and interesting character is Sarah Connor, originally a meek college student with no confidence who is barely surviving.

Then, she stumbles upon some cyborg assassins sent from the future to kill her son, John Connor, destined to be the future resistance leader fighting against domineering machines.

And she is raises to this challenge.

She mentors her son, John, to prepare him for what is to come in the hopes of changing his destiny. Her tapes and lessons gave John the knowledge to stand up to the machines and help humanity survive the trials ahead.

She balances that line between masculine and feminine traits. A tough soldier but also a protective and loving mother.

  • Katherine Watson, Mona Lisa Smile


We are at Wellesley College in the 1950s. Katherine Watson’s female students’ predominant aspirations are to marry well and to become excellent housewives. I enjoyed how Katherine teaches her students to think for themselves.

“I don’t even want you to like it. What I want you to do is consider it.” 

The lesson I personally loved the most was:  marriage and career are not mutually exclusive. Side note: this was 50’s! 🙂

  • Mary Poppins

marry poppins

I adore her “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” metaphor. I interpret the “spoonful of sugar” as a love metaphor.

I also enjoyed her lessons on how to have fun and enjoy life:

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and—snap—the job’s a game!”

Mary used humour as well as kind firmness to instil a sense of wonder and values of love and zest for life to young Michael and Jane Banks lives.

  • Gandalf the Grey, The Lord of the Rings


He is an extremely powerful mentor as he is… well quite frankly extremely wise. 🙂

He drops his nuggets of wisdom to anyone in his proximity and helps them evolve.

Equally, he disappears now and again to allow characters to grow based on what they learned.

It’s that mixture of presence and sometimes absence that makes him a great mentor as sometimes the greatest lessons are unfortunately learned ‘the hard way’.

My favourite quotes of his:

“I have found that it is the small everyday deed of ordinary folks that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Now over to you my friends.

Do you have a favourite fictional Mentor / Teacher? Fancy sharing them with me? 🙂

4 thoughts on “T5W – Favourite Teachers / Mentors”

  1. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” is one of my favourite Gandolf quotes as well. He also made an appearance on my list! Marry Poppins is another great choice, the classic British nanny mentor. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay, an original list! I agree, Katherine from Mona Lisa Smile was a progressive mentor for her time (actually, even for today’s to some extent), and Mary Poppins instilled great values about learning not to take life too seriously. And of course, I love your take on Gandalf not being too overbearing as a mentor, but rather being more of a guiding hand. TERRIFIC post! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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