Data would make a terrible teacher. Yes, in "All Good Things" former Lt Commander Data has become a professor, but that's years after we knew him on the Enterprise. The Data we know and love would make a terrible teacher, for the same reason he made a compelling character- he doesn't understand human emotion. Data knows everything there is to know, and what he doesn't know he can learn faster than anyone else on the ship (unless it's Riker learning a new ensign's room number). Data can relay all that information back to you. But, with a quizzical head tilt, he cannot understand why you don't get it. He can relay the information, but he can't relate to it.
So who on the NCC-1701D would make a good teacher? What can we learn about teaching from my Enterprise crew?
"You may now give birth" episode) the show traps Picard with three children. And for just a moment, he would rather fall to his death in a broken turbolift than figure out a way to survive along with the kids. There's a lot to love about Jean-Luc (just ask Vash), but he's not the best teacher. Not even, I'd think, at the university level because even though he loves his history, he'd be one of those professors who loves his subject so much that he doesn't realize he's talking straight past his students. However, you could get in his good graces by bringing him tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
gender.* He's got an easy smile and the respect of those who work him him. Also, it would be fun to watch him sit down. But he's also hard on those under him, and not terribly supportive at times. Riker couldn't stand Barkley, for example, and how a character treats Barkley can be a litmus test for how good of a teacher they'll be. He also had trouble relating to the cadets and junior officers in "Lower Decks", which means he might forget what his students are going through. And finally, he might teach his students to play trombone, which is a deal breaker.
creepily. You don't want Geordi teaching a class, he's more at home with his engines. I assume he could see what's written on the notes his students are passing without opening them up, which would be helpful.
I honestly love that scene, what she takes from it, and how he conveys it. Worf also actively tries to grow and get better. He's never a great father to Alexander, but he improves and finds ways to accept how his son is different and that he has to teach him the way Alexander needs to learn, which might not be the Klingon Way. Worf is also my favorite character, so I'm biased about all this because he'd also headbutt a parent into next week given the right motivation.
We're left with two main cast members- Troi and Dr. Crusher. I have to say I'm a little disappointed that the two most likely to be good teachers are the two women, but we can be honest and say that for as progressive as TNG was, it still put the women in the care-giver roles. (Except Tasha, but Tasha wouldn't make a good teacher because she'd die halfway through a lesson early in the year.)
Keiko O'Brian- She ends up being a teacher once she and Miles depart to Deep Space Nine, but she only gets an honorable mention because she's a botanist who decided to become a teacher because the station needed a teacher and how hard can it be? I hate that trope.
Guinan- Not a regular cast member, but more regular than Keiko, Guinan the bartender probably would actually be the best teacher on the ship, because that's often what her job was. She'd smile, tell a little story, and let the other crew members figure out their problems. She was also hundreds of years old, so she knew what was up. I'd also like to be in Guinan's classroom.
Q- Q would be The Greatest Teacher Ever and also The Worst Teacher Ever, often at the same time. He hates the rules, can't stand people who don't understand him, is constantly condescending and mocking, once asking Worf, "Eat any good books lately?" And yet, you know Q's class would be Can't Miss.
*The Outcast is an outstanding episode with a dark ending that should have gone all the way with the casting of J'naii but does a lot for being a show that came out in 1992.
If you like this post and the other posts on this blog you should know I’ve written three books about teaching- He’s the Weird Teacher, THE Teaching Text (You’re Welcome), and the just released A Classroom Of One. I’ve also written one novel- The Unforgiving Road. You should check them out, I’m even better in long form. I’m also on the tweets @TheWeirdTeacher.