|He's the one in the middle|
When you look at your college English teacher, you may just see a teacher, and you assume they always were one. But many of them had a previous life. Each discipline seems to attract certain types of people; for example, coaches end up teaching high school math. When you were in high school, you never saw the coach teaching English, did you?
|up in the ivory tower|
One thing that particularly strikes me are the people who are drawn to academic life after time with the sacred. At the University of Texas at Austin there are two ex-priests, and a jolly ex-nun, perhaps relieved to be back in the world again. She's interested in the secret society that Shakespeare allegedly belonged to. Priests and nuns? If you think about it, it makes sense. The life of a college professor can be pretty quiet and contemplative if you want it to be.
A graduate student who was hoping for a professor's life, was in the army previously, and he is the person who wrote the jingle "Be all that you can be, join the army." Which the army still uses to this day. (He was not given royalties, only a paycheck.) He was using those same skills now, to write his dissertation on Chaucer.
|'Tugboat New Orleans'|
The English Department once boasted of a professor who was a founding member of the Velvet Underground, Sterling Morrison- and he'd even been a tugboat captain. His specialty was Medieval Studies. He left UT after a few years to return to music, but has since passed away.
My own background is not so exciting, I've worked in my share of restaurants and bookstores and was even a bicycle messenger for one day; but my main jobs have always been attached to a college, be it in the office, the library or the classroom- pretty much what you'd expect from an English teacher, I'm afraid.