We're looking at you, Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society.
In movies, teachers selflessly commit themselves to their students. In news headlines, teachers commit statutory rape and creepy Facebook stalking. These once-venerated teachers of cinema deserve an A+ for sexual awkwardness.
1) Dr. Frank Bryant in Educating Rita
Not all romantic potential between teacher and student is illicit. Rita, an uneducated Liverpool hairdresser, and the disillusioned Dr. Bryant seem to be about the same age. The two spend hours in his office when Rita enrolls in Open University to study literature. They spend the film talking about essays and classism, but he's checking her out the entire 110 minutes. Had sexting technology existed back then, the professor probably would have gotten naughty. At the very least, Rita would get to use her new reading-comprehension skills.
2) LouAnne Johnson in Dangerous Minds
There's nothing sexier than doe-eyed women who save inner-city high schoolers. LouAnne Johnson is the archetype that's inspired both rookie teachers and child mol- …educators. She just can't stop helping her troubled students. From making home visits to compensating for years of shoddy education in two weeks to single-handedly ending gang turf wars (pro tip: wear a dress), Ms. Johnson manages to do it without mussing her hair or makeup. She does however seem a little hot and bothered when she intervenes in a school fight during her first few days of teaching, though. I guess she likes her students rough.
3) Dan Dunne in Half Nelson
Student-teacher rapport isn't the only thing Mr. Dunne's got going for him. He's also hot and coked up. As Dunne gets closer to Drey, an at-risk student, the scenes get more quiet and intimate. She discovers that the teacher's a cokehead in the faculty bathroom at school. Then the two run into each other at a motel drug operation. When the movie ends, they're alone at Dunne's house. This is as exciting as dating gets! Is this middle-school teacher going to save Drey from a life on the streets dealing drugs while hooked on drugs himself, seduce her with fun history lectures and good intentions, or start giving her "extra-credit work?" Or all of the above?
4) John Keating in Dead Poets Society
Some educators truly love what they do, and I suspect Mr. Keating might love to do his entire all-boy boarding school. Doesn't he seem a little too excited to teach his students to think outside the box and suck the marrow out of …life? When he and the boys start a new chapter of the titular Dead Poets Society, they spend even more time together in a dark cave on campus crying and talking about feelings. Either these boys are the most atypical high schoolers ever, or they've all fallen hard for Mr. Keating.
5) Sheba Hart and Barbara Covett in Notes on a Scandal
We already know Sheba Hart, the new teacher at St. George's, has a sexual relationship with one of her underage male students. (Isn't that what pretty, blonde educators are for?) She's not very discreet, what with all the kisses on campus and whispered exchanges. Even worse, she then confesses her affair to the wrong person. Sheba's backstabbing confidante — the unmarried history teacher, Barbara Covett — loves secrets and the written word. She also loves Sheba Hart. The two women are protagonist and antagonist, but both are clearly natural-born sexters. Sigh. If only they wanted to sext each other. At least it'd be legal.
6) Paulina in Shall We Dance?
Dancing is a metaphor for sex, and the American version of Shall We Dance? beats you over the head with that fact. John signs up for ballroom-dancing classes after seeing Paulina gazing out the studio window. He doesn't get any horizontal moves out of it, but a sexually-tense friendship blossoms. Despite not getting some toned extramarital ass, John falls in love with dancing. Meanwhile, he inspires Paulina to leave the classroom and return to professional ballroom dancing. Their final dance makes it clear that Paulina wishes she'd kept John after class at least once.
7) Justin McLeod in The Man Without a Face
Are you a young boy looking for a mentor? Look no further than the old, disfigured recluse in the woods who accidentally killed one of his former students in a car accident. Chuck struggles academically and needs extra help to pass the entrance exam at a military school. McLeod is a gruff Boo Radley-type who happens to know about math, art, and accusations of pedophilia. When word of the tutoring arrangement gets out, the town goes into an uproar. Chuck comes to McLeod's defense, saying, "He's my tutor, but he's also my friend." McLeod is essentially exiled. True story: in the novel that inspired the movie, McLeod really did have a sexual relationship with Chuck. When Mel Gibson directed the film, he decided to take that part out, but clearly he was only semi-successful.