| Lists |

Five Teachers That Turned Into Rock Stars

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

What if Sheryl Crow had been your elementary school music teacher? How cool would it have been if Bun B was your professor in a class about religion and hip-hop? How strange would your learning experience have been if Peaches had been your drama instructor?

Those artists actually held those positions in academia at one point in time. I can hardly imagine what it would be like to have these stars as my teacher, although a few of them would probably be very proper and professional while others would probably be hard to take seriously.

Today marks the first day of another school year for ASU students to skip classes, pull all-nighters to write last-minute essays, and go hard at football games. Take it easy in class today by daydreaming about your favorite rock stars standing at the front of your classroom instead of listening to your professor yap about your syllabus.

Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells

Sleigh Bells chick rocker Alexis Krauss was with Teach For America for two years in the Bronx, New York, where she taught non-English speakers how to speak English. Some of Ms. Krauss' time in the studio came while she was still teaching, so she brought a few students to the studio to record the speaking part of the Sleigh Bells track "Kids." Now that's my kind of teacher!

Roberta Flack

The singer of the hit "Killing Me Softly With His Song" taught was once a high school English and music teacher in North Carolina. Flack also taught in the Montgomery County school district in Maryland for a few years before further pursuing her music career.

Gene Simmons of KISS

Before he started wearing crazy makeup and sticking out his tongue all the time, Gene Simmons was a sixth grade teacher in Harlem. But Mr. Simmons didn't quit teaching in order to pursue rock and roll stardom. In fact, he was fired for teaching Spider-Man comics instead of Shakespearean plays since he thought students were more likely to read the comics.


Sting was an elementary school teacher for two years before he found success with the Police. Mr. Sumner taught poetry, music and soccer, since those were the subjects he cared about. He was the only male teacher at a school run by nuns. Sting is also said to have worked on writing songs while his students were taking tests.

Art Garfunkel of Simon and Garfunkel

Art Garfunkel taught mathematics at a prep school in Connecticut. Perhaps it was his enthusiasm for numbers that made him realize that "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" would pay a lot more than a teaching position.

Follow us on Twitter and friend us on Facebook

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.