It's the one thing I tell people about myself that always seems to surprise them: that I was a teacher.
I'd just graduated from the University of Southern California, and even though I knew I wanted to go into show business, I tried my hand at teaching for a while -- partly because my father wanted me to get a "real job," but mostly because I loved it.
Standing in front of a classroom of eager students inspired me -- I felt like I was on stage doing a one-woman show! But more important, I was enchanted by my students' endless curiosity. Whether I was introducing them to a great new book, or conducting a science experiment with balloons and water, I was drawn to fascinated look in their eyes, one that told me they truly wanted to learn. My admiration for education stayed with me throughout my career, especially when I took on kids' projects like Free to Be...You and Me. There's nothing quite as rewarding as watching a child learn.
It's so important that we honor the women and men across the country who take our kids under their wing five days a week, and draw them a roadmap to life. That's because school is more than just a place to learn conjunctions and figure out the square root of 724 (28). It's also a training ground for their adult lives, where they learn to work together, support each other and take pride in their accomplishments. And overseeing all of that is the schoolteacher, who has always been our nation's most valuable resource.
Being a former teacher, I couldn't let the day pass without springing a pop quiz on you. So tell me: which of your favorite celebrities were schoolteachers early in the careers? I put together the slideshow below to test your skill -- but don't worry, I've given you a few hints along the way. There are 20 questions in all -- and remember: even though you're just point-and-clicking, neatness still counts.
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