Liam Neeson used to be a teacher but was sacked for punching a student who attacked him with a knife

Liam Neeson used to be a teacher but was sacked for punching a student who attacked him with a knife

LIAM NEESON has carved out quite a niche as action star over the past decade thanks to the success of the Taken trilogy and glut of copycat movies.

Prior to that, the Ballymena-born actor was better known for starring in a string of critically-acclaimed historical dramas.

Films like Michael Collins, Rob Roy and Schindler’s List has Neeson pegged as a dramatic actor rather than out-and-out action star.

However, one story from Neeson’s younger days does suggest the Northern Irishman has always been something of a livewire.

It dates back to the 1970s and a time before Neeson decided to take up acting – a time when he was instead forging ahead with a career in teaching.

Neeson reportedly trained as a teacher in Newcastle.

He was placed at St Mary’s College in Fenham, a school that has closed in the years since.

That’s probably just as well for Neeson too, given the way he left things.

Speaking in a recently unearthed interview, Neeson opened up about his “worst day” as a teacher – the day he ended up getting sacked for punching a pupil.

According to Neeson he decided to pursue an altogether different career soon after, joining the Belfast Lyric Players’ Theatre in 1976 and forging a new path.

The incident is said to have taken place at an unnamed school where Neeson was completing a placement and enduring his fair share of grief from the unruly students.

However, one in particular stuck in his mind - he one he punched.

There were some extenuating circumstances though.

For one thing, the boy was brandishing a weapon.

“He was a big guy too, about 15 years of age,"” Neeson recalls [via The Chronicle].

“I had to punch him and then I was reprimanded for hitting the kid.”

He added: “There were always discipline problems, getting them to settle down before you can start to teach them.

“This particular kid did not want to settle down, he wanted to disrupt the whole class.

“So I went over to him and asked him to leave the classroom and stand outside.

“The next thing he pulled a knife on me.

“My reaction was to punch him, which I shouldn’t have done but I felt threatened.”

Credit : Open Road Films

Neeson has made no secret of his admiration for teachers.

It is also worth noting that his two sisters have worked as teachers for decades.

Teaching was one of several jobs Neeson turned his hand to during his formative years with others including a forklift operator for Guinness, truck driver, assistant architect and an amateur boxer.

It all proved invaluable experience of course, especially now Neeson is a bona fide action star.