Celebrity Teachers – 20 Celebrities that used to be Teachers

Celebrity Teachers – 20 Celebrities that used to be Teachers

Teachers do more than teach and instruct. They also motivate, inspire and equip students for life outside the classroom.  Here, we look at 20 well known faces from the world of music, literature, stage, politics and even royalty, who went on to live their own dreams – 20 celebrities who once were teachers

1. Sting  – Musician – English Teacher

Known as Gordon Sumner before achieving success in the music world, ‘Sting’ taught English at St Paul’s Middle School, Cramlington

2. Sheryl Crow – Musician – Music Teacher

Sheryl Crow taught music at Kellison Elementary School in Missouri, a role which enabled her to write jingles, paving the way for her solo music career.

3. Art Garfunkel – Musician – Maths Teacher

Well-known for his partnership with Paul Simon as ‘Simon & Garfunkel,’ a 1960’s rock duo, Art taught maths for two years at Litchfield Prep School, Connecticut.

4. Brian May – Musician – Maths Teacher

Legendary musician well known for being the front man with rock group Queen.  A former teacher of maths at Stockwell Manor School, Brixton, London.

5. Bryan Ferry– Musician – Pottery Teacher

Achieved fame as vocalist and songwriter for ‘Roxy Music’ but started his career as a pottery teacher at London’s Holland Park School.

6. JK Rowling– Author – EFL Teacher

Famous for the best selling Harry Potter series of books, J K Rowling taught English as a Foreign Language in Porto whilst living in Portugal in the early 1990’s.

7. Sylvester Stallone-  Actor, Screen Producer, Director – PE Teacher

Famous Hollywood actor well known for roles as Rocky and Rambo, Sylvester Stallone was once a gym teacher at the American College  of Switzerland

8. MR T  – Actor and Ex Wrestler – PE Teacher

Well known for his role as Mr Baracus in the 1980’s  TV series, ‘The A Team,’ Mr T, was once a gym teacher in Chicago

9. Alexander Graham Bell – Scientist / Inventor – Speech Teacher

Scottish born pioneer of the early telephone, Alexander Graham Bell taught speech at the Boston School for Mutes

10. George Orwell – Novelist – English Teacher

Best known for his ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ and Animal Farm’ works, George Orwell, then known as Eric Blair taught English at The Hawthorns Boys School in West London and Frays College, Uxbridge.

11. Roy Hodgson – Former England Football Manager – PE Teacher

Ex footballer and national England team coach, Roy Hodgson taught PE at St Allleyn’s School, Dulwich, Souh London.and Monks Hill, Croydon in the 1970s

12. Romesh Ranganathan – Comedian – Maths Teacher / Head of 6th Form

British born stand up comedian and TV presenter of Sri Lankan descent, Romesh Ranaganathan is a former maths teacher and Head of Sixth form at Hazelwich School, Crawley.    

13. Billy Crystal – Comedian / Actor – Maths and Woodwork Teacher

Before making a career as a stand up comedian, Billy Crystal taught maths and woodwork at Long Beach High School, New York

14. Greg Davies – Comedian / Actor – English & Drama Teacher

British born comedian and actor with appearances on Mock the Week, and Would I Lie to You in addition to his famous role in The Inbetweeners, Greg Davies taught English and Drama at two Berkshire schools, Langleywood School and Orleans Park.

15. Barack Obama– President of USA – Lecturer of Law

The 44th President of the USA, Barack Obama taught Law at the University of Chicago

16. Hugh Jackman – Actor, Producer – PE Teacher

Most well known for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men series, Hugh Jackman was once a gym teacher at Uppingham School, Rutland.

17. Stephen King – Author – English Teacher

Famous horror author, including the best seller, ‘Carrie’ Stephen King taught English for two years at Hampden Academy, Maine, USA

18. William Golding – Author – English and Philosophy Teacher

Famous author and Nobel prize winner for Literature, perhaps best known for his classic ‘Lord of the Flies’ William Golding taught English and Philosophy at Bishop Wordsworth’s School, Salisbury, England

19. Jesse Williams  – Actor – English Teacher

Star of the popular ‘Gray’s Anatomy’ series Jesse Williams once taught English at a public school in Philadelphia     

20. Lady Dianna Spencer – Princess of Wales  – Nursery Teacher

And last but definitely not least, the ‘People’s Princess,’ Lady Diana Spencer, who taught at local nursery before her marriage to Prince Charles.


How to Manage Teacher Work Life Balance

How to Manage Teacher Work Life Balance

It is a strange topic to aim at people considering a career in education.  You haven’t got your job yet and maybe you haven’t even started training.  However, if you do not consider the borders between work and life, then you are in danger of the personal and professional become indistinct.  Here is some advice before you look at teacher jobs or teaching assistant jobs.

First, when are you going to start and stop work.

Your day may be governed by a timetable when the students are present.  However, there is at least 100% more work to do once the children leave or the day.  Primary teacher jobs, in my biased opinion, are more difficult for this than secondary school teacher jobs.  I am an English teacher in a secondary school – not what you expected? Well, primary school teachers are more likely to work long into the evening than their counterparts.  They have more planning to do and more paperwork to fill in.  The parents are more active in the child’s life – so they have more meetings to attend.  So, again – when will your day start and when will it end – and be disciplined about this.

Secondly, sit down one day and work out your hourly rate.

Take your salary and divide it by the hours you have committed and dispassionately consider if you are being paid enough for your expertise.  Many teachers work for less than the minimum wage.  Working 60 hours or more each week, yet for a set salary.  Soon, you are not being rewarded for the exceptional expertise that you bring to the classroom.  You might not mind today – in your early days in education – but you will begin to mind after 10 or 11 years.

Thirdly, every teacher – EVERY teacher – at some point uses their own money to subsidise the work in their own classroom.

Recently there was something called the Pound Shop Pedagogy – where you could buy random resources from the pound shop to make interesting activities and approaches in the classroom.  Does the manager walk to the pound shop and use department funds? No, the individual teacher purchases the items because they are excited by the possibilities.  They also buy treats and prizes and gifts for children for a birthday or to make them feel better.  This is how the personal begins to seep into the professional. Are you happy with this balance between work and home?

Then, and this is the biggest, you have to decide that the problem is not yours to solve and you have to walk away from being a teacher.  You need at some point to be a mother or father; husband or wife – and leave someone else to pick up the slack.  If you plan and work this way you might last an entire career in teaching.

4 Secrets of Successful Lesson Plans

4 Secrets of Successful Lesson Plans

One of the secrets of successful lesson plans is how you decide to structure them. Lessons should have a mixture of activities and time for students to be involved in collaborative group work. One thing that some teachers do, which in my opinion is wrong, is to begin the lesson without a preamble, almost as soon as they walk into the classroom. Whilst time is of the essence, it doesn’t take long to ask students how they are, and then write the lesson objectives on the board. Make a point of directing students’ attention to these and remind them that they will be revisited at the end of the lesson, to see if they have all been met. If appropriate also write the topic of the lesson on the board.

The lesson plan is actually what makes for successful lessons. Much thought has to go into lesson planning, but once you have done the lesson plans for the school year, you have them to use again. They can be adapted to suit each new class, but having a good lesson plan is a real confidence-builder.

1) A warm-up activity should be planned to begin the lesson. This should serve as an introduction to the lesson. You could try a brainstorming session, to find out how much students know about the topic to be covered in the lesson.  If some students are not responsive, ask them for contributions by naming them. Keep every student alert.

This activity should take only 5 minutes, but can be extended if some interesting answers crop up.

2) Move on to the main body of the lesson, moving around the class while you are talking. If students have shown some knowledge of the subject, ask them to explain to the class what they know. Help out if they get a little stuck by asking other students to carry on. You should speak as little as possible until the time comes for ‘expert’ knowledge and instruction.

3) Involve students in group or pair work giving sufficient time for a feedback session at the end of the activity. Have one student act as scribe if there are more than two in a group. This makes reporting more effective.

4) Review the lesson by asking students what they have learned. Revisit the objectives and tick the ones that were achieved.



A lesson plan that plans different activities should address the learning styles of each student. Although this sounds impossible, with varied activities it isn’t. If there is a particularly disruptive student in the class, have them go to the board and write the ideas in the brainstorming session as well as other points which are discussed in the class.

Successful lessons are the result of lesson plans, although admittedly it is sometimes necessary to jettison a lesson plan in mid-lesson if it is clear that students are bored, or don’t understand and need more explanation. It also happens if students say something interesting that the teacher feels is worth pursuing further.

Lesson plans should be liberating rather than constraining. You should not feel duty bound to follow a lesson plan if it is not working for your students. Be flexible, enthusiastic and innovative in your classes and students will respond by showing interest, if not enthusiasm.

Have great lessons in future by planning them well. But don’t be afraid to deviate if you have to!

Do you have problems recruiting teachers? Here are some solutions

Do you have problems recruiting teachers? Here are some solutions

Do you have problems recruiting teachers? The UK’s education system is struggling to recruit and keep teachers, particularly in area which are viewed as “problem areas.” Typically, these were inner city areas, but now socially deprived areas are not just a city problem. When teachers look for jobs, they tend not to want to teach in ‘deprived’ areas, and so schools face recruitment problems. Now that teachers have to meet the requirements of standardised tests they are under pressure to have their pupils perform well. This is all very well in some schools where attainment is high, but in other schools. Pupils might make good progress over an academic year, but under-perform in the tests. Teachers wold prefer to teach in schools where pupils are well within the required attainment level. Teachers whose pay is performance-related are likely to suffer from low morale because the achievements of their pupils go largely unrecognised as they are social rather the academic.

One of the ways to combat this problem is to recognise that tests are not the be-all and end-all and that pupils should be congratulated on their achievements, both social and academic. Schools which value their pupils and staff are usually vibrant institutions and staff will want to stay rather then move on to a school in a ‘better’ area.

Teachers should be made to feel that their efforts are rewarded, and those who work in socially deprived areas should be paid more than other whose teaching load is less stressful. Income is important and teachers should receive a salary which reflects the efforts they put in to their teaching. If schools offered incentives, teachers might be more tempted to apply for jobs in what are considered ‘problem areas.’.

Class sizes should be more manageable and if they were smaller there would be fewer discipline problems. This in turn would make teaching less stressful.

A teacher’s workload can be excessive, as there is homework to be marked, as well as tests and so on. Teachers take on extra duties, whether they are paid for them or not. Teachers have to mark their students’ work in their own time, either at home or in the staffroom. They work, on average, more that forty hours a week. Of course, this workload should be reduced, but to do this there would need to be extra teachers, and there lies the problem.

Schools should consider the prospect of hiring more well-trained and qualified teaching assistants who could help ease teachers’ burdens.

Schools have difficulties in recruiting teachers for some subjects, notably for maths, English, science and languages. Not all maths graduates, for example, want to train as teachers, especially when they can earn more working in other professions.  Many teachers feel undervalued and leave the profession. Instead of the criticism aimed at them the government should be more supportive, then perhaps fewer teachers would give up teaching.

Advertising needs to develop. Schools should play up their advantages and produce recruitment material that puts a positive spin on their schools. Invite prospective teachers to visit the school and meet the existing staff, who can talk up the school. Head teachers should seek to recruit newly qualified teachers by inviting them to open days before they leave their teacher training institution.

There is, unfortunately, no foreseeable solution to the problem of teacher recruitment particularly in Secondary schools because the student population is increasing. However, an added effort to recruit good teachers should be made and a charm offensive conducted to attract them.