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Teachers change lives, but sometimes you might feel locked into a routine of grading papers and working long after the final bell rings. If you need a little inspiration to remind yourself how you can change the world, check out some of the most famous teachers today.
Even though some don’t teach anymore, they get their start by helping students discover their passions. You’ve begun a rewarding career that many people aspire to join, including a few household names you might already admire.
1. Hugh Jackman
Before people around the world knew him as Wolverine, Hugh Jackman worked as a teaching assistant in a British boarding school. He also taught PE class, where he bonded with a student he later recognized on the red carpet as a reporter. His charming reviews from his time as a teacher make an interesting parallel for the dark, surly characters he often plays on the big screen.
2. Stephen King
Some former students may remember having Stephen King as their English teacher. After graduating college with an English degree, he taught at an academy in Maine while submitting short stories for publication. He still has a love for teaching students about language and the fine-details of grammar lessons.
3. Jon Hamm
Jon Hamm is another English degree grad, but he did something different with his education. He returned to his former high school to teach drama. Even though he has a successful acting career now, he still says he’d return to teaching any day because he loved showing students how to fall in love with acting.
4. Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton is one of the most accomplished people in the world, which includes a background in teaching. After graduating from Yale law school, she became a law professor at the University of Arkansas. Among her many other roles, Clinton steps in as the keynote speaker at university events to continue teaching the next generation about the world’s most pressing issues.
5. Jesse Williams
You might have seen Jesse Williams if you watched “Grey’s Anatomy” during the past twelve years. He regularly stars as Jackson Avery, but his former teachers know him as Mr. Williams. He taught American and African Studies in a public charter school after graduating from college.
In between social activist and film engagements, Williams still works to improve the American student experience. He recently partnered with the Scholly Team to give students more access to scholarship money.
6. Barack Obama
Even though everyone knows him as the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama first began his career as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. He even split his time between the classroom and the Illinois capitol building after venturing into politics. Now he holds guest lectures in between writing books and advocating for other politicians.
7. Lin-Manuel Miranda
“Hamilton” inspires almost everyone who watches the musical, but Lin-Manuel Miranda didn’t get his start in the playwriting business. He started his career as an English teacher in a Manhattan high school. When asked about his time in the classroom, he regards it as a rewarding time that meant more than many of his current successes.
8. Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou spent five decades publishing her works, but became a passionate educator later in life. She once told an interviewer that she felt like a teacher who writes instead of a writer who teaches. Angelou received more than 30 honorary degrees over her lifetime but spent her time teaching at Wake Forest University.
9. Steve Wozniak
Steve Wozniak was part of the team that got Apple up and running, but he didn’t stay long. Instead, he taught grade-schoolers about computers so he could share his love of technology. He knew the future would depend on computers and kids would have to understand them to have successful careers.
10. Bill Nye
Ask any current or former student if they know who’s The Science Guy and they’ll likely respond, “Bill Nye.” He was a scientific television personality in the 1990s and became a Cornell University professor after his TV show ended. His life is an example of how a teaching career can be whatever you want it to be. Whether you have a classroom or appear on television, you can teach students about any subject’s importance.
See Where Your Career Takes You
The most famous teachers of today made their mark on their classrooms and the world. You can do the same if you follow your greatest passions and your teaching career. It all starts by taking pride in your position as a teacher and figuring out how you can use it to make life better for your students.