Superstar Teachers, Then…and Now

Updated May 3, 2021 | Staff Writers

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“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” 
― Albert Einstein

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” 
― Malala Yousafzai (age 16, 2013)

In ancient times, it was the teachers who became the stars:

• Socrates (Greece, BC 469 - BC 399) Greek philosopher, born in Athens, Greece. His teaching technique, the Socratic method, is still used today. His personality and his doctrines were immortalized in Plato's dialogues; his influence on Western philosophy is incalculable.
• Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher, scientist, and physician, one of the greatest figures in the history of Western thought. Educated Alexander the Great. Opened a school (the Lyceum).
• Confucius (BC 551-479) Chinese philosopher, teacher. Born in 551, Confucius was the founder of the humanistic school of philosophy known as the Ju or Confucianism, which taught the concepts of benevolence, ritual, and propriety.
• Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) English mathematician and natural philosopher (physicist), who is considered by many the greatest scientist that ever lived. As a professor, he achieved respect and esteem.
• Stephen Hawking (1942- ) Theoretical physicist, born in Oxford, Oxfordshire, SC England, UK. He studied at Oxford, then spent his career in Cambridge, holding a chair there from 1977.

Famous People Who Used to Teach

• Gene Simmons, of Kiss: taught sixth grade in Harlem
• Alexander Graham Bell: taught visible speech at the Boston School for Deaf Mutes.
• Sting (The Police) taught English, music, and soccer at St. Catherine's Convent School.
• Robert Frost (poet) teacher at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire.
• Lyndon Johnson (president) taught public speaking at Pearsall High School in Pearsall, Texas and Sam Houston High in Houston.
• Art Garfunkel (of Simon and Garfunkel) teaching math at the Litchfield Preparatory School in Connecticut.
• John Adams (second president of U.S.) schoolteacher in Worcester, Massachusetts
• J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter author) English teacher in Portugal
• Mr. T (actor) gym teacher in Chicago
• Sylvester Stallone (actor), taught gym at the American College in Switzerland.
• Andy Griffith (actor) taught English at Goldsboro High School in North Carolina
• Billy Crystal (comic actor) junior high substitute teacher on Long Island
• Kris Kristofferson (singer, actor) English teacher at West Point
• Stephen King (writer) taught at the Hampden Academy in Hampden, Maine.
• William Golding (writer) teacher in the U.K.

Now, famous people who also teach (part time)

• Madeleine Albright
• Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service, Washington, D.C.
• Mortara Distinguished Professor of Diplomacy
• Madeleine Albright was the first woman ever to hold the post of U.S. Secretary of State from 1997-2001.

• Maya Angelou
• Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
• Reynolds Professorship of American Studies
• Angelou is an American autobiographer and poet who has been called “America’s most visible black female autobiographer.”

• J. Scott Armstrong
• Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
• Professor of Marketing
• This professor is internationally known for his pioneering work on forecasting methods.

• Jimmy Carter
• Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
• University Distinguished Professor
• After serving as the thirty-ninth president of the United States, James Earl Carter, Jr. became University Distinguished Professor at Emory in Atlanta.

• Norm Chomsky
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
• Institute Professor and Professor Emeritus of Linguistics
• Chomsky is well known in the academic and scientific community as one of the fathers of modern linguistics.

• Al Gore
• Middle Tennessee State University
• Teaches course, “Community Building: A Comprehensive Family Centered Approach.”

• Al Gore, former Vice-President and environmental activist, joined the faculty of Middle Tennessee State University in January 2001.

• Spike Lee
Kanbar Institute of Film & Television at Tisch School of the Arts in New York City
• Artistic director of the Graduate Film Program and the Amy and Joseph Perella Chair
• Widely regarded as a premier African-American filmmaker.

• Michael Mann
• Department of Meteorology and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, Pennsylvania State University
• Professor, Director of Earth System Science Center
• Mann was appointed professor at Pennsylvania State University in 2009, and since 2005 has been director of the university’s interdepartmental Earth System Science Center.

• Salman Rushdie
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
• Honorary Visiting Professor in the Humanities and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature
• Salman Rushdie is a famous author who was forced into hiding under the protection of the British government and police after the publication in 1988 of his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses.

• Rice, Condoleezza
• Stanford
• Teaches political science

Top Staffs, Top Schools

Ranking the best undergraduate teach staff (in general)
• Dartmouth
• Princeton
• William and Mary
• Miami University, Oxford (Ohio)
• Yale
• University of Maryland-Baltimore County
• Duke
• University of California, Berkeley
• Brown
• Stanford

WOW: Rock Star Teacher

$4 million (U.S.) Kim Ki-hoon earns $4 million a year in South Korea, where he is known as a rock-star teacher The bulk Kim's earnings come from the 150,000 kids who watch his lectures teaching English (for a fee) online each year. (Most are high-school students looking to boost their scores on South Korea's version of the SAT.)

Superstar Teachers Thumb


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