National Teacher Day: 10 Unconventional Teachers

PHOTO: (L-R) America Ferrera, Maria Teresa Kumar, and Rosario Dawson attend Voto Latino's Purple Carpet Bash at All American Pub on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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Tuesday is Teacher Appreciation Day. Sponsored by the National Education Association, the day is meant to encourage people to recognize and thank the work teachers do. While the word teacher conjures up an image of an instructor in a classroom, there are plenty of educators who don't work in schools. Here are some inspiring teachers we think also deserve recognition today for their work outside the classroom.

PHOTO: Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, speaks during a conference with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, unseen, in Mexico City, Mexico, on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. Slim announced his support for Khan's site that offers free educational videos.
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Salman Khan

The Harvard Business School graduate started Khan Academy in 2006. The website aims to provide a high-quality education "for anyone, anywhere" by offering free video lectures on everything from physics to art history.

PHOTO: Gaby Pacheco, an immigrant rights leader and director of the Bridge Project, left, with Janet Murguia, president and CEO, National Council of La Raza, testifies, April 22, 2013, before the Senate Judiciary Committee on immigration reform.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo
Gaby Pacheco

The undocumented immigration activist from Ecuador helped create Students Working for Equal Rights, a youth-led organization to draw attention to the plight of DREAMers. She has mobilized students to march for immigration reform and organized meetings with lawmakers to bring attention to the issue.

PHOTO: Bill Nye attends the National Read For The Record Day's press conference at the Los Angeles Public Library on October 8, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Bill Nye

The Science Guy began his career as a mechanical engineer for Boeing, but soon turned to television as a way to teach children about science. His show, Bill Nye the Science Guy, has been used in classrooms around the country to teach children about everything from electricity to cells.

PHOTO: US Space Shuttle Discovery crew member, Costa Rica-born US astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz, waves to well-wishers June 2, 1998, as he leaves for Launch Pad A at Kennedy Space Center, FL.
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Franklin Chang Díaz

The Costa Rican-born mechanical engineer was the first naturalized citizen to become an astronaut. He has been on a record seven Space Shuttle missions with NASA. Now retired from the agency, Chang Díaz devotes his time to raising awareness about climate change and teaching physics and astronomy at Rice University.

PHOTO: Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball against Benoit Paire of France during day five of the 2013 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on April 26, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. Rafael Nadal won 7-6, 6-2.
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Rafael Nadal

The tennis champion launched the Rafa Nadal Foundation in 2008, which opened a school in southeast India in 2010 for underprivileged children. Nadal also strives to bring tennis to disabled children through his foundation.

PHOTO: Actress and Co-Founder, Vote Latino Rosario Dawson speaks during the Election Effect Panel Discussion at MTV Networks Offices on October 14, 2008 in New York City.
Mark Von Holden/WireImage for MTV Networks/Getty Images
Rosario Dawson

The actress and singer chairs Voto Latino, an organization that encourages Latinos to mobilize and vote. She teaches Hispanics, particularly young Latinos, about the benefits of engaging in the civic process.

PHOTO: Ricky Martin performs at AmericanAirlines Arena on April 9, 2011 in Miami, Florida.
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Ricky Martin

The singer's Ricky Martin Foundation educates people about the exploitation of children by human traffickers. The foundation plans to operate educational centers for child victims that address their intellectual, social and emotional needs, beginning in Puerto Rico.

PHOTO: Chief Diversity Officer & Global Director of Education and External Relations for Intel Roz Hudnell, director Richard Robbins and producer Martha Adams attend a screening of 10x10's 'Girl Rising' on March 7, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
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Richard Robbins

The Academy Award-nominated director of Girl Rising has turned to film as a way to educate moviegoers about the plight of young girls around the world. Robbins has been a vocal advocate of education as a way out for victims of everything from extreme poverty to gender discrimination.

PHOTO: Soccer Player Mia Hamm teaches children about soccer and flu vaccinations at Super Soccer Stars Indoor Soccer Field on August 20, 2009 in New York City.
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Mia Hamm

The Olympic Gold Medal-winning soccer champion encourages girls and young women to become involved in sports through her Mia Hamm Foundation. The foundation also aims to educate people about marrow and cord blood transplants, an issue close to her heart. Her brother passed away from complications related to aplastic anemia, a blood disorder in which the body's bone marrow doesn't make enough new blood cells.

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