15 Celebrities You Never Knew Were Teachers, Too

15 Celebrities You Never Knew Were Teachers, Too
Image: Xavier Collin/Image Press/Splash

james franco
Xavier Collin/Image Press/Splash
Whether it was your first day of eighth grade or your last week of finals in college, lacking the motivation to get your butt to class is something all students can relate to. One of the things that can totally change that? An amazing teacher. And one thing that could really make getting to class a breeze? If your teacher happens to be a celebrity too. I mean, you certainly wouldn't want to miss a day if a famous person was trying to impart his or her knowledge upon you, would you?

While it is certainly true that not all celebrities are known for their intelligence, some are so smart they made their livings as teachers before they hit the big time -- or they even moonlight as college professors now! Can you imagine being greeted by James Franco, or learning fiction writing from J.K. Rowling?

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Well, a few very, very lucky students know exactly what that feels like. From musicians who mentored students in similarly creative pursuits to actors with a legit foothold in the world of academia, you'll never look at the stars on this list the same way again.

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Check out these famous educators and who knows ... you might just be inspired to go back to school!

  • J.K. Rowling

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    jk rowling
    Demis Maryannakis / Splash News

    Considering that she's the brain behind of one of the best-selling book series of all time, it's not particularly surprising that J.K. Rowling was once an English teacher: The author taught English as a second language while living in Portugal, just a few years before finishing the first Harry Potter book.

  • Kanye West

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    Kanye West
    A. Ariani / Splash News

    Kanye West's road to academia was a rather unconventional one: The rapper taught lectures on fashion and creativity at LA Trade Technical College as part of a community service sentence following an incident with a paparazzo. Still, we're sure his classroom was a lively one! (Did students call him Professor Yeezy?)

  • Sheryl Crow

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    Sheryl Crow
    Gilbert Carrasquillo/Splash News

    For an aspiring musician, Sheryl Crow had very practical beginnings. After majoring in music education at the University of Missouri at Columbia, Crow taught music at an elementary school in St. Louis. We can totally picture her strumming an acoustic for a room full of little ones!

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  • James Franco

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    James Franco
    Xavier Collin/Image Press/Splash

    Actor and noted Renaissance man James Franco has not only taught film courses at NYU, USC, and UCLA, he also hosted an eight-part film class at Silicon Valley's Palo Alto High School. Students interested in applying were required to write a 200-word essay "about why you want to be in the workshop and what you would bring to class." (Did they have to be fans of Spring Breakers, though?)

  • Oprah

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    Oprah henrietta lacks
    Splash News

    In 1999, some extremely lucky students at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Business in Chicago had Oprah Winfrey herself as an instructor when the mega-successful mogul taught a course in leadership (of course!). You get an A! And you get an A! Everybody gets an A!!

  • Hugh Jackman

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    Hugh Jackman
    Aflo / Splash News

    Apparently Hugh Jackman was a fan of physical fitness long before he played the super buff Wolverine. Before he made it big, the actor was a gym teacher at England's Uppingham School, where we can only assume he set a fantastic example. Years later, he actually bumped into a former student-turned-entertainment reporter on the red carpet (and inquired about his fitness regime!). 

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  • Mayim Bialik

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    Mayim Bialik
    Fortunata / Splash News

    There's a reason why Mayim Bialik plays a scientist so convincingly on The Big Bang Theory -- she's a scientist in real life, too! After getting her PhD in neuroscience from UCLA, the former Blossom star and mom-of-two taught chemistry, biology and neuroscience at the university level. Bialik has said she went back to acting because the schedule is more flexible!

  • Kevin Spacey

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    Kevin Spacey
    Elliot / Splash News

    Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey received yet another huge honor when he was named Oxford University's Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theater in 2008, a position previously occupied by Patrick Stewart. Wonder if he was as intimidating in the classroom as he is on House of Cards?

  • Tyra Banks

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    Tyra Banks
    AdMedia / Splash News

    Who better to teach a course on building your own personal brand than America's Next Top Model host Tyra Banks? The supermodel co-taught a course to aspiring entrepreneurs at Stanford's Graduate School of Business in the spring of 2016. How great would it be if learning how to "smize" was part of the lesson plan?

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  • Jon Hamm

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    Jon Hamm
    Xavier Collin/IPA/Splash News

    It's pretty cool that Jon Hamm went back to teach drama at the high school he attended, but it's even cooler that one of his students was Ellie Kemper -- especially since the two reunited years later as costars on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! Said Kemper of Hamm as an instructor: "He was not ugly." Hmmm, you don't say!

  • Angelina Jolie

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    Angelina Jolie
    Amjad Ghsoun / Splash News

    Angelina Jolie put her experiences as a United Nations ambassador and special envoy to the UN's High Commission for Refugees to good use as a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, where she taught a class on the impact of war on women this spring. In September 2017, Jolie will reportedly teach a master's course, lecturing at the school's Center for Women, Peace, and Security.

  • Alec Baldwin

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    Alec Baldwin
    Ouzounova/Splash News

    He's got his hands full doing presidential impressions these days, but back in 2002 Alec Baldwin was keeping busy as a "Distinguished Professor of Theater" at Southampton College of Long Island University. Did students who memorized his Glengarry Glen Ross monologue get extra credit?

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  • Kal Penn

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    Kal Penn
    Efren S. Landaos/Press Line/Splash

    Don't be fooled by Kal Penn's character in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle! The actor, who graduated from UCLA with a degree in sociology, taught media and film classes as part of the University of Pennsylvania's Asian American Studies Program. (Did Professor Penn end up at Penn purely by coincidence?)

  • Spike Lee

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    Spike Lee
    Nancy Kaszerman / ZUMA Press / Splash News

    If you're going to learn how to make a movie from anyone, it might as well be from groundbreaking, award-winning filmmaker Spike Lee! The actor, director, producer, and author taught at Harvard and was appointed the artistic director of the Graduate Film program at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where he now teaches courses in directing. 

  • Sting

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    Sting
    Photopress PR / Splash News

    Before Sting was an Englishman in New York, he was an English teacher in England -- but to hear him tell it, he wasn't a very good one. 

    "I just was in hell when I was teaching," he once said.

    "I inspired the kids only by teaching them what I liked and what I was inspired by and enjoyed --- that was basically soccer and poetry. The rest of it I couldn't teach."

    Poetry lessons from Sting must've been pretty epic, though!

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