Can you imagine bragging about Sylvester Stallone or Mr. T being your teacher in school? Well, some people probably do as they had the privilege of being taught by some of the most famous people on the planet. Whether they are action-movie actors, musicians or writers, these 10 people used to navigate the classrooms before they made it big. We suppose they were the coolest teachers ever, but we’re glad they chose a more public life after all.
Starting our list with none other than the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. Even as a young man, he was always interested in helping people so he entered law school so that his work would have more impact. Upon finishing Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Obama started working several jobs, practicing law at a firm and being a professor and lecturer at the University of Chicago. His former students have spoken very fondly about the time Obama was their teacher, describing him as charismatic and laid-back and genuinely interested in his students.
2. Gene Simmons
Although it may be hard to picture the legendary rock musician and bassist of the band KISS as a teacher, he used to teach 6th grade in Harlem, New York. Of course, he was a bit different then, and he taught under the name of Chaim Waitz while trying to get his big break in the world of music. Those kids probably had no clue that their teacher would become a big rock star which probably qualifies him as the coolest teacher in the world. Gene Simmons speaks four languages: English, German, Hungarian and Hebrew.
3. Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone has an impressive career as an actor, director and screenwriter. But there was a time when this famous actor wasn’t so certain about his future and he struggled to make ends meet. He was characterized as a “problem child” and went through several different boarding and special education schools. But then he finally decided that acting is what he really wanted to do. He enrolled in the American College of Switzerland where he studied drama but he also worked as a gym teacher, which, somehow, we don’t find that hard to believe.
4. Sheryl Crow
Unlike many pop stars these days who reached stardom with no formal education in music, Sheryl Crow is actually quite educated in her field. She has majored in music education and there was a time she taught music at Kellison Elementary in Fenton, Missouri. But while shaping young minds in the classroom, Crow never forgot her dream to actually make music so she was writing jingles for various companies, trying to find success in writing, but then she decided to become a singer and she started as a backup singer for the legendary Michael Jackson before becoming famous herself.
Another struggling musician who became a teacher to earn a few pounds was Gordon Matthew Sumner, but you may know him as Sting. He enrolled in Northern Counties College of Education and stepped into the classroom to teach kids himself but he always dreamt about a career as a musician. Many teachers probably have the same dream, but Sting actually became one of the most successful British musicians ever. He first started from local gigs when outside of his work hours but then with The Police, he became globally known and so he was able to quit his job as a teacher.
6. Hugh Jackman
Wolverine as a teacher? Yes, please! Now he is a popular actor, but during his gap year in 1987, he taught gym in Uppingham School in England. That seems totally plausible to us considering his incredible physique but he proved it two years ago when he attended Zurich Film Festival. He was walking the red carpet when he ran into one of his former students, a reporter Rollo Ross. Jackman recognized the student and he jokingly approached him asking about how his physical education was progressing. Who says gym is not an important subject?
7. Billy Crystal
A comedian you may know from When Harry Met Sally and Saturday Night Live is another guy that had to endure children’s misbehavior and grading papers. Billy Crystal graduated from New York University and planned to make it as a stand-up comedian, but as many comedians before, he had to go through a lot to actually succeed in his plans. Being married and having to pay the bills, Crystal worked as a substitute teacher for different classes. Although we can picture him as a funny teacher, acting probably suits him much better.
8. Jon Hamm
Jon Hamm is best known for his hit TV series Mad Men in which he wowed the audience with his excellent acting prowess and charisma. This probably came in handy for the handsome actor when he was teaching at the John Burroughs School in Ladue, Missouri, the same school he graduated from a few years prior. To express his gratitude towards the school, he taught acting there for a while. Interestingly, one of his students was young actress Ellie Kemper, star of the TV show The Office, and Jon Hamm’s co-star in the movie Bridesmaids.
9. J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter books have become an international success making novelist J.K. Rowling the 12th richest person in the UK, but it wasn’t always all so peachy for her. After her mother died, Rowling moved to Portugal in 1990 where she taught English as a foreign language. After a series of events, Rowling was left alone with a daughter, struggling to make ends meet. So, she probably doesn’t have the fondest memories of her teaching days. But around the same time, she got the inspiration for her first Harry Potter book which started a much more exciting career.
10. Mr. T
The ultimate tough guy and action-movie hero is probably the last person you would picture as a teacher, but this actor and professional wrestler did have some experience in teaching as well. While attending the Paul Lawrence Dubar Vocational Career Academy, Mr. T worked as a gym teacher to support himself. But then he got the scholarship for Prairie View University and he started working for the U.S. Army. That definitely sounds more suitable than working with sweet little kids.