William Daniels isn’t a teacher. He just played one on TV.
Even so, the man who portrayed Mr. Feeny on the 1990s sitcom “Boy Meets World” has always had profound respect for educators.
Actor William Daniels meets fans with his wife Bonnie Bartlett (L) as he signs copies of "There I Go Again: How I Came To Be Mr. Feeny, John Adams, Dr. Craig, KITT and Many Others" at Strand Bookstore on March 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Cind
And on Tuesday’s National Teachers Day, he asked everyone to “show some appreciation for the unsung heroes that help shape the future generations.”
“Thank your teachers today and every day and remember, as much as you learn from them, they learn from you," Daniels said in an interview with E! News.
Teachers across the country saw their lesson plans disrupted once the coronavirus pandemic closed classroom doors.
Aside from reworking the curriculum on-the-fly, the virtual classroom came with a new set of challenges — be it hacked Zoom meetings or students not adjusting well to virtual learning.
Daniels’ admiration of teachers runs so deep, he was initially hesitant to accept the role of Mr. Feeny because he didn’t want any part of making fun of them, Buzzfeed reported.
But he got on board once showrunner Michael Jacobs explained that he’d imagined the character as a mentor to Cory Matthews.
"Our teachers provide us with so much. They're there for you in your formative years, supply the knowledge you need to take on the world and even give you unsolicited advice from behind the fence in their backyard," Daniels said, still in character. "I'm talking to you, Mr. Matthews."
With a little Hollywood magic, Mr. Feeny served as Matthews’ teacher and mentor from elementary school to college.
Daniels closed his interview with E! News by offering the same advice Feeny gave the cast in the show’s final scene.
"As my final piece of teacherly advice, believe in yourselves, dream, try, do good. I love you all," Daniels said. "Class dismissed."
This story was reported from Atlanta.