Michelle McCool goes back to class
Before Michelle McCool set foot inside a WWE ring, her feet were firmly planted inside the classroom. The former WWE Diva gives an update on what she's been up to, and shares some of her experiences at the blackboard.
WWE.com: First, how has “retirement” been, and can you tell the WWE Universe what you’ve been up to.
Retirement has been wonderful. For the past two weeks I've been visiting my family in Florida laying on the beach for 5 or 6 hours a day.
WWE.com: Sounds like it's a lot less stressful than traveling 250 days a year and taking hits inside in the WWE ring.
Yes, and I tell you, having my feet in the sand and listening to the waves break is a little less stressful than being in the ring. You know, I'd never do this to my friends, but I may have sent a few pictures out of my toes in the sand. It's been great - I really can't complain.
WWE.com: Do you miss anything about being a WWE Diva?
I miss several of the Divas and Superstars, but I do keep in contact with them. I miss seeing the fans and performing in the ring, although my body is doing much better. I've been pretty banged up the past two years, but this has allowed me to spend time with family and dear friends that you don't get to do when you're on the road almost 300 days a year. I'm cherishing these moments right now.
WWE.com: What made you decide to become a teacher?
Growing up, I always said I would never go in to education. Both of my parents were teachers - my dad was also a principal and a superintendent. I just didn't want to be part of the school system. But, after I graduated from Florida State, during the summer, I substituted one day at a middle school and said "you know what, I like this." After, it became a permanent job, and I went on to get my master's degree. Being around kids, teaching them both inside and outside the classroom - I just loved it.
WWE.com: What was the most rewarding aspect of being a teacher?
Sometimes you're the only person they have. I kept my teaching certificate active while I was with WWE. It definitely wouldn't be something that I'd mind going back to.
WWE.com: We doubt any of your students would be out of line with you. A Faithbreaker might be a little worse than being sent to the principal's office.
I know, right? There's a select few I'd like to give the big boot to. Just joking! [laughs]
WWE.com: Do you keep in contact with some of your former students?
My first middle school class, they're all in college now, which makes me feel really old old. But yes, I definitely still do keep in contact with them. They've kept up with me throughout the years and they've come to shows. I come from a small town, so I see many of them when I go back home for sporting events or to visit family.
WWE.com Got any funny teaching stories for us?
The students respected me, so they knew we could have fun yet stay disciplined as well. They loved to pull pranks on me. I remember being outside after lunch chatting with another teacher, and when I came back to the classroom, the entire class had turned their desks backwards. But still, to this day, I will always remember having to teach the human reproductive system. Thank goodness my mom was a science teacher, so she forewarned me about some of the questions the students might ask about.
WWE.com: Do you have any advice for students who may be struggling in school – whether with a certain subject, bullies or find their way?
Just be yourself. Don't give in to bullying or others making fun of people. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for your friends. Be that one person who is genuinely good-hearted. I know kids get to a certain age where you don't know and start acting up. Just don't give up. Anybody can do anything they put their minds to. Like I tell everyone, you'll do much better in life if you stay disciplined and behaved, and don't get on the wrong path. Stay focused, stay determined - these are years you'll never get back. Cherish the moment. Be yourself. Respect others, and keep your head up.