Famous teachers throughout history

Emma Elliott, Staff Writer

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With the celebration of Teacher’s Month, it seems appropriate to recognize those who have been influential in the world of learning.


Frederick Douglass

While many of us remember Douglass as a leader among the abolitionists and a strong force in the push for women’s rights, he was also a teacher. When growing up on a plantation, the owner’s wife, Sophia Auld, taught Douglass until her husband forbade anymore lessons. He then taught himself to read and write by paying attention to the papers and picking things up from the white children around the neighborhood. At age 16, he was hired by William Freeland to work with fellow slaves weekly and teach them to read the New Testament. At least 40 slaves attended each lesson.


J.K. Rowling

Rowling may be well known for her popular Harry Potter series, but she was also a teacher. Two years after beginning the first Harry Potter book, she moved to Portugal at the age of 27 to teach English as a foreign language option offered by the school.


Albert Einstein

Arguably the most influential and well known physicist of the 20th century, Einstein excelled in math and physics while getting his own education, so it should come as no surprise that he had teaching jobs all while writing articles that set the foundation for modern physics. After working a few odd jobs — including a high school teacher and patent office worker — he eventually settled in a job at Princeton University, where he worked for 22 years until his death.


Erin Gruwell

Gruwell was a ninth-grade English teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, where she dedicated her career to helping her students overcome racial issues to better their school life and education. She and her students’ story were later portrayed in a movie called the Freedom Writers. Today, she runs the Freedom Writer’s Foundation, helping students all across the country the way she helped her own.


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