Some country stars waited tables or worked as a bartender before their big break, but others took a different route, which involved early morning commutes and late nights grading. As teachers, these artists learned a work ethic that led them to success.

Instead of cowboy boots and 10-gallon hats, these singers utilized dry erase markers, attendance lists, and lots and lots of books. That's right, some fan-favorite stars were actually teachers before taking the stage, and you may be surprised at a few of them. Scroll down to see who you should be calling Ms. and Mr. instead of screaming their first name.

  • Corey Smith
    Corey Smith

    Corey Smith

    North Gwinnett High School

    The students at North Gwinnett High School in Gwinnett County, Ga. can be super proud of their former teacher, Corey Smith. He taught social studies in the suburbs of Atlanta before packing up his classroom and pursuing music full-time when he was 28. And now, he's making quite a name for himself with tracks like 'Ain't Going Out Tonight' and touring experiences with country star Darius Rucker. Smith's exciting emergence into country music gives him an A+!

  • Hulton Archive, Getty Images
    Hulton Archive, Getty Images

    Donna Fargo

    Northview High School

    Donna Fargo, the 'Funny Face' hitmaker and Grammy Award winner, studied at University of Southern California before becoming a teacher at Northview High School in Covina, Calif. She did so well in that role, Fargo progressed to the head of the English department, obviously gifted with words and communication, as displayed by her numerous country hits. She quit teaching in 1972, when her first hit 'The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.' reached No. 1 on Billboard's country singles.

  • Mike Moore, Getty Images
    Mike Moore, Getty Images

    Kris Kristofferson

    USMA West Point

    Kris Kristofferson has been a great many things in his life. In addition to an uber-successful country artist, he's been a Golden Gloves boxer, Rhodes scholar, captain in the US Army, and helicopter pilot. Plus, he was given the chance to teach English Literature at USMA West Point. However, Kristofferson decided instead to pursue songwriting, causing his own family to disown him. In their minds, his decision rejected everything they stood for. It was a decision that changed his life trajectory, but you still have to wonder what it would have been like to have the 'Me and Bobby McGee' hitmaker keeping you in line.

  • Sheryl Crow

    Kellison Elementary School

    For a few years of her life, Sheryl Crow was probably able to 'soak up the sun' during the summer, because she worked as a music teacher after graduating from the University of Missouri. And everyone knows the major perk of being a teacher is summer vacation. Crow taught at Kellison Elementary School in Fenton, Mo. for two years, the busy school days gave her a flexible schedule to sing on the weekends. Fittingly, the first jingle Crow lent her voice to was a 'back to school' spot. Eventually though, Crow's weekend gigs turned into a superstar career.

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    Reba McEntire

    Southeastern Oklahoma State
    Ok, so the red-headed star didn't teach at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, but she was taught how to teach at the college, and if she hadn't made it in music, she may have been a fiery and always-entertaining teacher. Reba McEntire’s mom was a schoolteacher, and the singer was just following in her mama's footsteps, majoring in elementary education and minoring in music. Fortunately for country fans (but unfortunately for students), singing panned out in a big way. If she ever decides to get back into teaching, there are probably a few million students raring to get into her class.

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