While we all didn’t necessarily love our school experiences, most people will agree that we’ve all had at least one very memorable teacher. So check out these top songs about teachers that’ll leave you screaming for just one more day in the classroom.
Best Songs About Teachers
One song that brings to mind childhood crushes is this notable Van Halen record.
Hot for Teacher by Van Halen
When it comes to songs about teachers and students, is there really anything more memorable than this Van Halen track? “Hot for Teacher” was one of the most recognizable of the 1984 album. At the time, MTV was young and garnering lots of video play helped to sell albums and concert tickets as well. The video encompasses the negatives of elementary or middle school – a nerdy young boy who is often picked on at school.
The boys’ tormentors are “younger” versions of the members of the band. The one bright spot of his day is a beautiful, attractive teacher – of course, all the other boys have a crush on her as well. The song itself doesn’t imply any impropriety on the part of the teacher. Instead, it’s really a commentary on the fact that it’s not uncommon for people to develop an attraction to an authority figure.
Teachers by Daft Punk
Daft Punk released this song from their debut album, cleverly named Homework. While the group is honoring their teachers, these educators aren’t from the traditional classroom. Instead, Daft Punk sings the praises of those who taught them the craft of making music.
Notable names in “Teachers” include DJ Funk, Louie Vega, Dr. Dre, and Romanthony. The song was remade by Soulwax but newly styled with rock’n’roll riffs; other bands would eventually sample the song on their own work.
Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 by Pink Floyd
When it comes to songs about teachers, another very popular song is Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” from the concept album and rock opera The Wall. It should be noted that there is a “part one” to this song as well; however, a children’s choir appears in Part 2.
“Another Brick in the Wall” is so prolific due to its depiction of “bad” teachers – specifically, those who utilize corporal punishment and degradation to dominate students. “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” was the only song by Pink Floyd to ascend the American hit radio chart, and it is still one of the most played songs by the band. Just know that this is definitely not one of top songs about teacher appreciation at all.
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The Art Teacher by Rufus Wainwright
Rufus Wainwright’s “The Art Teacher” appeared on his 2004 studio album, Want Two. The ballad is based on a conversation the writer had with a male teacher who seemed to brag that many of his female students had been infatuated with him. Wainwright said he met the teacher while working out at a gym, and the teacher claimed his students were “ravenous for him.”
Wainwright then wrong the song from the point of view of one of the female students, who pined over her unrequited love for a male teacher in her past. Wainwright would say in an interview that he played the song for the male teacher later, but that the song lyrics “went totally over his head!”
Children in Pieces by Morrissey
One of the most popular alternative singers of the 1980s, Morrissey, is said to have written “Children in Pieces” as a testament to his experience attending a Catholic school. Morrissey paints the nuns who run the school and their “Christian brothers” (understood to be the bishops or pastors of the local parish who assisted in running these schools) as sadistic, nefarious individuals.
Morrissey mentions that the schoolchildren are “very frightened,” and that on weekends, those over the Catholic boarding school make the same scared children “suffer.”
School’s Out by Alice Cooper
What kids don’t love getting out of school for the summer? Alice Cooper’s ode to the end of high school has been popular for more than four decades, and it’s been featured in a number of films, including Dazed and Confused.
Cooper borrowed the sing-song, taunting lyrics: “No more pencils/no more books/no more teacher’s dirty looks.” It’s obvious that Cooper doesn’t portray teachers too favorably here, and it’s a popular theme song for teens who are over the grind of high school.
Don’t Stand So Close by The Police
Sting portrays a schoolteacher who is being grievously tempted by a high school student to have an affair with her. (Sting was actually an English teacher before The Police became popular.) As a young male teacher, the man in the song is tempted to give in to the student who is just a few years younger – even though the impropriety of dating a student would cost the teacher his job. At the same time, the female student refuses to give up her pursuit of the teacher.
He begs her, unsuccessfully, to stop prodding him. Is it possible Sting experienced this before The Police hit it big? We can only speculate.
Teach Your Children by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
This classic ballad speaks to a child’s first teachers – parents. The song was penned by Graham Nash in 1968 prior to his joining CSNY. Nash himself said that the song “spanned generations,” and that it was relevant, not only when he wrote it, but still had meaning in 2021. Nash wrote the song while still a member of The Hollies – at least partially.
Nash composed a great deal of the song, but put it away until after he began working with CSNY. Attending an art show in Santa Clara, CA compelled Nash to complete the song – particularly after viewing some shocking photography from World War II on display at the art gallery.
Nash says the photo brought him to the realization that “we had better start teaching our children better.” Fans will also appreciate that the song has a bit of a Jerry Garcia touch as well. Garcia was recording in the same studio as CSNY as the group laid the track down, so they invited him to provide the guitar solo for the song. Garcia added some pedal steel, and the rest is history.
(You Gotta) Fight for your Right by the Beastie Boys
This party-hearty trio from Brooklyn debuted with this raunchy, carefree song in 1986 and the group was on its way to national recognition. The liner notes for a Beastie Boys anthology album offer member Adam Yauch’s explanation behind the song. Yauch (nicknamed MCA) states that the song was actually intended to be a “goof on dumb rock songs.”
Legendary Rick Rubin contributed to the song as well by adding a guitar track and drums. Ironically, the party crowd that the Beastie Boys intended to make fun of propelled them to stardom as the song became incredibly popular.
Rock ‘n’ Roll High School by The Ramones
The Ramones wrote this song for a musical movie of the same name, with a theme that featured rebellious rockers sparring with the traditional high school’s administration. The song’s “writer,” according to the film wanted to get the song to The Ramones. Of course, she’s met with resistance from the principal, so she and her fellow students take over the school.
The Ramones would appear in the film in a cameo at the end of the movie. While many may recognize the song itself, the film – released independently rather than through the traditional means – never really garnered nationwide attention. Some consider it a cult classic.
The Mentor by Catman Cohen
“The Mentor” is performed by Catman Cohen, and it appears on his 2005 album How I Want to Die: The Catman Chronicles I. The speaker of the song is the mentor or teacher, and he speaks of a love interest. In fact, the Mentor sings “Your teacher loves you crazy.” Perhaps the love is crazy, or the teacher is slightly crazy for falling in love with a pupil.
Teacher I Need You by Elton John
Sir Elton John’s ode to an influential teacher offers shades of the same theme as Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher” or The Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close” – a student who has a crush on an authority figure.
The speaker of John’s song says that the teacher inspires him, but that he wants to explore some lessons regarding “the birdies and the bees.” The speaker notes that the teacher is middle-aged, but she has “got something in you to drive a schoolboy wild.”
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Jeremy by Pearl jam
“Jeremy” is a song written and released by grunge gods Pearl Jam. It’s a powerful song based on a true story. Jeremy Dell was fifteen when he took his own life in 1991. Dell did indeed do this in his English class in Texas. Dell was late to class and was told he had to have an admit slip to class. Jeremy left, but came back with a firearm.
In Pearl Jam’s version, Jeremy attacks the teacher as well as some of his classmates. The video drew a great deal of controversy, as it depicted students sprayed with blood (one should also note that Pearl Jam rarely made videos as a part of their rebellion against the establishment music business). Many still write about the video and its shocking content as well as the song’s overall message regarding young people who are bullied or feel that they never fit in.
When I Kissed the Teacher – ABBA
Swedish soft rock all-stars ABBA may be best known for their hit “Dancing Queen,” but they are among other stars who released a song about a teacher. ABBA’s song was released just four short years before Sting sang about a young female student who grossly tempted a young male teacher.
The song appeared on ABBA’s 1979 Arrival. The song appeared in 2018’s Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, which utilized a great deal of ABBA music.
Teacher, Teacher by .38 Special
Southern rockers .38 Special composed and played “Teacher, Teacher” for the 1984 film Teachers. The movie features Nick Nolte and Judd Hirsch, and it grossed nearly $30 million. The song asks the teacher “can you teach me?” – of course, there is an inappropriate romance between a teacher and a former student.
The lyrics of the .38 Special tune utilize lots of symbolism around school – “will I pass the test” (of the real world) and “just when I thought I learned my lesson well.”