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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.