Matthew McConaughey Reveals His Favorite Teacher Is His Mom in Sweet Video

The clip is part of a new campaign launched by educator Nicholas Ferroni, PEOPLE's 2014 Sexiest Teacher Alive

Actor Matthew McConaughey (L) and mother Kay McConaughey attend the world premiere of "Bernie" during the 2012 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Paramount Theatre on March 13, 2012 in Austin, Texas.

Matthew McConaughey and mom Kay. PHOTO: 


Matthew McConaughey didn't have to look far when asked about his favorite teacher.

“My favorite, honestly, has been my mom, inside the classroom and out," he says in a heartwarming clip, part of a new campaign called "My Favorite Teacher," which was created by Nicholas Ferroni, PEOPLE's 2014 Sexiest Teacher Alive.

“What I loved about my mom's teaching was you always started with a book,” McConaughey says of his mother Kay, who taught him in kindergarten and as a substitute in high school. "You always started with the history of what you were studying, the mathematics of it. You had to open the book, you had to learn the skill, learn the history of whatever it is you were studying.”

Matthew McConaughey and mom Mary Kathleen McCabe arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere of "The Lincoln Lawyer" at the ArcLight Hollywood on March 10, 2011 in Hollywood, California.

Matthew McConaughey and mom. GREGG DEGUIRE/FILMMAGIC

The True Detective star says that his mother, who taught students for 39 years, had a gift for showing her pupils how they could apply what they learned from books and the classroom to their own lives.

As an example, he recalls one time when he and his classmates were studying trains.

“Everyone understood the train from the book, understood how trains worked, and Mom decided it was time for a field trip to go to Amtrak. She loaded up the bus — I think she drove the doggone bus — and headed over to Amtrak and we all loaded up," he adds. "She said, ‘We're not just gonna look at it. Let's go somewhere.’ We learned more about trains by that experience based off what we learned from the books that we had read."

His mother's educational approach inspired McConaughey later in life to teach at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin, beginning in 2015.

“I think it's deeply valuable for children to get as much experiential learning as they can," he says in the clip. "I think it's a wonderful challenge for all teachers to give to all students: How does what we're learning in the classroom, how is what we're teaching in the classroom — how can they [students] take that into their own life outside of the classroom with their friends, with themselves?”

"That's what I got from my mom," he remarks at the end of the video. "Thanks, Mom."

Matthew McConaughey Reveals His Favorite Teacher Is His Mom for PSA

Matthew McConaughey. 


Ferroni tells PEOPLE that he decide to start the campaign after meeting many “amazing educators who give their hearts, souls and money to their students on a daily basis, and who expect very little in return.”

“I have heard so many stories of teachers going above and beyond for their students that are both inspiring and infuriating,” he says. "That is why I have dedicated my platform to bringing awareness to the struggles and obstacles that educators face, and what needs to change in order to ensure that our youth have the educators they need."

Matthew McConaughey Reveals His Favorite Teacher Is His Mom for PSA

Nick Ferroni. 


“‘My Favorite Teacher’ is an initiative where I ask some very famous people about their favorite teachers, and these stories will make you smile, and even cry,” he adds. “I wanted to show that behind most successful people, even celebrities and athletes, you will often find a teacher who believed in them when they needed it the most.”

“I hope this campaign will not only remind everyone of the amazing educators in their lives and to share their own favorite teacher's story,” says Ferroni, “but to also encourage them to fight to support, resource and pay the very people who have dedicated their lives to the success and happiness of other people's children.”

Nicholas Ferroni: Award Winning Educator and Activist, “Kids who are loved at home come to school to learn, but kids who aren't, come to school to be loved”

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