Posted on December 20th, 2010 by Hal Bowman

I found this list online.  So, as far as accuracy is concerned – I have no idea.  I just thought it was interesting and thought I would share.

If you want to read Ethan TRex’s original blog post, you can see here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/33288

15 Famous People who used to Teach

1. Gene Simmons

The tongue-flicking bassist of Kiss taught sixth grade in Harlem before he became the world’s most famous bass-playing demon. Simmons later revealed in interviews that his superiors canned him for replacing the works of Shakespeare with Spiderman comics, which he thought the students were more likely to actually read.

2. Alexander Graham Bell

The telephone pioneer got his start teaching Visible Speech at the Boston School for Deaf Mutes. He developed a bond with a student named Mabel Hubbard, and when she was 19 the two married.

3. Sting

Before he became a star with The Police, Sting taught English, music, and soccer at St. Catherine’s Convent School. Sting later said of working at a convent school, “I was the only man on the faculty. In fact, I was the only teacher not in a habit.”

4. Robert Frost

Robert Frost worked as a teacher to supplement the income from his fledgling literary career. He worked as both a farmer and teacher at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire. His students called him “the Hen Man” because the poet was afraid of chickens, and Frost allegedly had trouble remembering to milk the school’s cows on time.

5. Lyndon Johnson

The man who would later become the 36th president got his start as a principal at the Mexican-American Welhausen School in Cotulla, Texas. He later finished his teaching degree and landed gigs teaching public speaking at Pearsall High School in Pearsall Texas and Sam Houston High in Houston. The debate team he coached at Sam Houston lost the Texas state championship by a single point; Johnson supposedly had to vomit backstage before he could bring himself to congratulate the winners.

6. Art Garfunkel

We can’t speak for Paul Simon, but at least half of Simon and Garfunkel was really, really good at math. Garfunkel nearly earned a doctorate in the subject and was teaching math at the Litchfield Preparatory School in Connecticut when “Bridge Over Troubled Water” soared to the top of the charts.

7. John Adams

The second President of the United States spent a few years working as a schoolteacher in Worcester, Massachusetts. Teaching didn’t suit Adams, who thought his students were nothing more than a “large number of little runtlings, just capable of lisping A, B, C, and troubling the master.” He eventually gave up the job to go to law school.

8. J.K. Rowling

The Harry Potter author worked as an English teacher in Portugal as she plotted out the early adventures of her young wizards.

9. Mr. T

It was hard for Chicago students to be fools when it came to gym class in the mid-1970s. You’d pay attention if Mr. T told you to do jumping jacks, wouldn’t you?

10. Sylvester Stallone

Did you know you were seeing a matchup of tough-guy teachers when you watched Rocky III? When Sly was attending the American College in Switzerland during the 1960s, he worked as a gym teacher to earn extra spending money.

11. Andy Griffith

Before he was a sheriff, before he was Matlock, Andy Griffith was a teacher. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, Griffith taught English at Goldsboro High School.

12. Billy Crystal

The comedian worked as a junior high substitute teacher on Long Island while he waited for his career to take off. Among the classes he subbed for: girls’ gym, which must have been a great source of material.

13. Kris Kristofferson

The country star was a Rhodes Scholar who studied literature at Oxford before joining the Army and rising to the rank of captain. Towards the end of his tour of duty, Kristofferson took a job as an English teacher at West Point, but he decided against the professorship at the last minute. Instead of heading to New York, he resigned his commission and moved to Nashville in 1965.

14. Stephen King

Although he initially had to work in an industrial laundry after his college graduation, the horror master eventually found a teaching job that paid a cool $6,400 a year at the Hampden Academy in Hampden, Maine. King wrote Salem’s Lot while living in a trailer and working this job during the day.

15. Sir William Golding

The author’s experiences as a teacher helped inform the novel that made his career. He once allowed a class of boys to debate with complete freedom, and the classroom quickly devolved into such disorder that it inspired Golding to write Lord of the Flies.

Back to The Buzz

19 Responses

  1. Hal Bowman says:

    Some more ex-teachers that come to mind for are Ron Wood from The Stones and Sheryl Crow. I bet I can think of some more . . .

  2. Anna Shuman says:

    Hey Hal!

    I greatly enjoyed your visit to Hinesville, GA. yesterday…You were highly on target about creative ways to reach our students and extremely motivating and entertaining! Also, I loved reading your list of “famous people that used to teach” on your website…I too have thought of them often. Another one to add to the list would be Ron Rice…the founder of the great sun tan lotions and potions, “Hawaiian Tropic”. He was a former Chemistry teacher and started mixing up batches of his formula in trash cans and the bathtub before launching his business with $500 loaned to him by his Dad, who has always believed and supported him in his endeavors. Again, just wanted to say we all certainly enjoyed your highly energetic persentation yesterday! Take care and good luck in the new year and all of your future endeavors ~ 🙂

  3. Karen Click says:

    Add Tony Danza to the list.

  4. Tim says:

    Seems interesting to note that there seem to be more famous people that used to teach (k-12) than k-12 teachers who were famous first. …. I wonder why that might be … ???

  5. Lawrence Hernandez says:

    Lets not forget all the great Punk Musicians that teach (or have taught) Dave Dictor of MDC Taught Public School in NY for 5 years and now teaches at the University in New York. Greg Graffin of Bad Religion has taught at Cornell, Larry Lugz of RIOTGUN and Broken Patron Saints has been teaching middle school for 17 years in So Cal, Milo Aukerman of the Descendents teaches at the University level in Wisconsin. One of the former guitar players of Angry Samoans teaches at the Claremont Colleges in CA. Renea Bryant of All or Nothing HC teaches ELD in Riverside CA. There are many Punk Rock teachers out there.

  6. Kisha says:

    Gospel singer Yolanda Adams

  7. admin says:

    Sheesh Lawrence!! How do you know all that info??

  8. Jay says:

    Add UFC superstar Rich “Ace” Franklin to the list as he taught hich school mathematics in Cincinnati Ohio before his MMA career was launched by SpikeTV’s Ultimate Fighter.

  9. admin says:

    Jay!! Nice, totally forgot about Rich. Don’t know if you’re a MMA/UFC fan, but if so, you might appreciate this: About a year ago I had a couple of guys behind me on the plane peek around the seat to get a better look at me. I asked what was up and he said, “Man, for a second there I thought you were Clay Guida.”

    Gotta love that.


  10. Dale Powell says:

    R& B singer Roberta Flack and country singer Donna Fargo were teachers.

  11. Shannon Larson says:

    Don’t forget about the band, The Presidents of the United States of America. One of those guys taugh also.

    – Shannon

  12. Chelsea says:

    Jon Hamm (from Mad Men) taught theater! In fact he was the theater teacher of Ellie Kemper, Erin on The Office.

  13. Jeff Abney says:

    Also once a teacher, before her music career took off, was singer and songwriter Cheryl Crow.

  14. Christi says:

    Very interesting to see those who started out as teachers. I was disappointed that several were listed as “gym” teachers, not as physical educators. Gym is where we teach. Physical education is what we teach.

  15. admin says:

    I’m with Christi on that! I never said, “I teach Band Hall.”

  16. Donna says:

    Bill O’Riley is not a rock star (though some might argue that point) but quite famous as an author, TV host, syndicated columnist and political commentator. He was a high school history teacher for several years before making his television debut.

  17. Pam says:

    Michael Feldman, of NPR fame, worked as a teacher at Malcolm Shabazz Alternative High School in Madison, Wisconsin. Also Pulitzer Prize winner, Frank McCourt, who taught in a variety of schools in the New York City area.

  18. Dawn says:

    Luciano Pavarotti was a teacher.

  19. Joy Baer, comedianne and The View was a teacher. Probably where she got her sense of humor and quick one liners

Leave a Reply

Visit the Teach Like a Rock Star Facebook pageFollow halbowman on Twitter

Rock Star Teacher Reviews

Rock Star Teacher Reviews

Absolutely the most fantabulous Teacher Conference I have ever been to!  Hal, thank you for ...
I was at the workshop in Austin today, and time flew by because it was ...
If you want to attend a SUPER, INFORMATIVE, and CREATIVE workshop...catch this whenever it is ...