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.

5 Things I Learnt in my First Week as an NQT

5 Things I Learnt in my First Week as an NQT

As comprehensive as ITT schemes try to be, there is a huge difference between being a placement student at a school and being a fully-fledged member of staff from day one. My training year was wonderful. As a Schools Direct student I spent it in 2 contrasting schools, feeling very much a member of their Maths Departments, and struggled to think of any extra sessions that I could possibly have needed from University/Lead School at the end of the Summer Term. We seemed to have covered everything I could have wished to have known about working as a teacher in a Secondary School however, here are 5 Things I learnt in my first week as an NQT.

This week I learned I was wrong about that. There are some things you just need to be there from day one to appreciate. This is what I discovered this week:


  1. Inset days boggle your brain.

    I don’t think I am alone thinking this, as an NQT or otherwise. For every teacher, the first day of term at my school was filled with talks about last years’ results, learning how to use the new admin system and new departmental initiatives. As an NQT, I also attended talks covering the names and faces of every useful person in the building, the locations of every useful file on the system and the specifics of the behaviour system.
    It was a barrage of information, from 8:30am until 4:30pm. By the end of the day, I had so many questions that I was running out of post-its to write them on and was told by my mentor to go home when I forgot the question I was going to ask for the 3rd time in a row…

  2. What to do when the students in front of you aren’t who you are expecting.

    So you’ve created a seating plan, based on the set list on the system. Perfectly crafted, with the right mix of each child of each ability – you’ve even asked their teacher from last year who would be a nightmare to sit together. Then you line up the class as they enter the room, introduce yourself and set about sitting them all down in those perfectly picked seats… But Rachel, Joe and Steve don’t appear to be here, and instead you’ve acquired Jenny, Harry and Caitlyn. Some of these are on your register, some of them aren’t. One of them is on no list you can find at all! This makes the transition to your ‘expectations’ portion of the lesson substantially less smooth, and involves a lot of chatting by the rest of the class…
    As mentioned above, my school has a new admin system this year, and I think this has worsened the usual September Set Change debacle. We’ve muddled through as a department, but I have to admit I’m still not 100% sure if that was Abi or Olivia in that seat on Friday Period 5… Hopefully this will get sorted next week!

  3. How to entertain 25 students for 3 hours.

    On the first day of term my Vertical Mentoring Group (VMG) spent 3 hours with me in an effort for us to get to know each other. In the build-up, trying to find things to fill that vast 3 hour space seemed like an insurmountable task. However, I ended up with a list so long that I barely used any of them. We played a ‘People Bingo’, the students made their Student Profiles and helped each other with their timetables for the first couple of hours. Then after that we spent some time playing silly icebreaker games to get to know each other some more.
    The time flew by! My VMG are all great kids, and were great sports with my silly games as they wanted to get to know me too. I was particularly impressed with the Year 10 boys being so helpful and accommodating of the Year 7 students’ questions! We seem to be getting on swimmingly!

  4. What to do when a student is sick in your room.

    On Friday, my lovely little Year 7 group were working really hard on the Mixed-Up Clock problem, when one hand went up and little Abby* told me she had been sick. And she had, mostly all over herself … Yes, my lessons are that exciting!
    I have to admit that this is one of my worst nightmares. I hate being sick myself, and it’s all I can do not to follow suit when someone else is! But I held it together, asked the boys nearby to move onto another table and asked my mentor (who had thankfully popped in about 10 mins before this incident!) where Abby* should go… He took her to see the school nurse and she went home later that morning. But not before I had to clean up the desk and her belongings, before taking them to her… Thankfully my carpet was untouched by vomit, so I didn’t suffer the consequences all day.
    I’m impressed with my own composure over this whole incident. Though I have made a mental note to ask who to get in touch with if it’s ever worse/on the carpet next time!!!

  5. How tiring the first week of term really is.

    I think this one speaks for itself. After a 7 week summer, the early mornings alone this week were incredibly hard work. It really hit me how tired I was on Wednesday after a half day with my VMG… 3 and a half hours of being all-singing, all-dancing for a class is exhausting! I could barely walk around the kitchen to help with dinner that evening, and was sound asleep before 10pm.


It has been entirely worth it though, even if only for the small things. Like the Year 8 boy thanking me for a great lesson, a Year 10 who pretends she has loads of attitude but secretly loves helping out, and the 10 minutes that Year 9 worked in near-silence (except for helping each other) and realising that I did that… Me… I really am a teacher!

Written by

Arithma-ticks @Arithmaticks

NQT Maths teacher . Providing an honest account of her  year. Cohost of weekly  at .

6 Tips to Help with Classroom Management

6 Tips to Help with Classroom Management

As you become a more experienced teacher, you will develop you own tricks and tips to ensure that your classroom management skills are up to scratch. What works for one teacher may not necessarily work for another, or for you. However, there are some tips that will help with classroom management whoever you are.

1) Make sure from the start of the school year that your students know what behaviour is tolerated and what is not. One way of doing this is to ask students to work in groups to come up with classroom rules. Put these on the classroom wall and when a rule is broken, point to the rules and ask which rule has been broken. Ask why and then ask other students to comment. Remind students that they drew up the rules, and so should they should keep to them.

2) It is very important to maintain a sense of humour and have a quick, funny retort ready, if students seem restless, or if you suspect that trouble is brewing. Humour can deflect more serious behavioural problems in the classroom.

3) You need to be able to see what is happening in your classroom. You should not mark homework while in a classroom, however tempting it may be. If students sense that you are otherwise engaged, you can expect them to play up.

4) Move around the class, checking that students are all engaged with the task at hand. Bring them back on task when necessary. Try not to let individual students monopolise your attention by bringing their work to you. Explain that you will see each student’s work in turn as you move around the class. Don’t turn your back on the class. Walk sideways like a crab so that most, if not all, of the students are visible to you. You can also train yourself to write on the board while standing sideways.

Try observing your students from the back of the class. When you teach from there, students have to turn around to look at you. This keeps them on their toes and allows you to maintain control. Even if you have a back view of your students their body language will tell you if they are engaged or bored with the lesson.

Don’t simply teach from the front of the class.

5) Make sure that you vary the pitch and tone of your voice. Never speak in a monotone as students will soon get bored and probably imitate you to get attention from their classmates, whether in class or outside it. Bored students are disruptive ones.

6) If students are being disruptive move closer to them and stand beside them. Usually you don’t have to say anything to get them to settle down and focus. Address a question to a specific student if he or she is being disruptive and wait to get an answer. Don’t let another student answer the question you have addressed to a particular student. Make it clear that students should not shout out answers, but instil into them that you will choose who will respond.

Share your classroom management tips with your colleagues. You can all learn from each other.

How to be an Assertive Teacher in 5 Easy Steps

How to be an Assertive Teacher in 5 Easy Steps

Okay, we need to come clean about this – being an assertive teacher in the classroom or being more assertive in life isn’t always easy.

In fact, becoming more assertive, when you are not naturally that way inclined, is anything but easy – it can be very difficult, so ‘How to be an assertive teacher in 5 easy steps’ is perhaps stretching it a little bit, but here are 5 steps that will certainly help you along the way on your journey to becoming more assertive.

One – Accepting your self-concept

A human being’s ability to act in an assertive way really depends on their own self-concept. It is our own internal perception of ourselves that holds the key to unlocking our assertive potential. It is really based on what we think of our own skills and strengths. It might be quite different from how others perceive us, but understanding that our self-concept is at the root of all our assertive behaviour (or lack of) is an important first step.

Two – What assertiveness is

Assertiveness is having the ability to articulate our ideas, thoughts and feelings in an honest, direct and appropriate way. It’s about mutual respect – respect for ourselves and respect for others.

An assertive person can influence others. They are good listeners and strong negotiators – and those skills of influencing, listening and negotiating are pretty handy skills to have in the classroom.

Being assertive means taking responsibility for our actions and not judging or blaming others (such as the students when things go wrong).

Three – What assertiveness isn’t

Assertiveness often gets confused with aggressiveness. They are not the same thing. An assertive approach aims for a positive result for the mutual benefit of all – a ‘win-win’ situation. An aggressive approach often threatens a ‘win-lose’ result: ‘If you don’t do this homework, you will do it in detention.’ (Teacher wins: pupil loses).

Four – Deflecting, Diffusing and Distracting

Teaching is a stressful job. Sod’s Law always dictates that you will face your own personal nemesis of a class last period on Friday afternoon, or that the powder keg that is teenage friendships will explode in the corridor as the bell goes just before your next lesson. And as a teacher, somehow, you have to deal with it.

Whether it’s a one-off incident, persistent low-level disruption or attention seeking/work avoiding behaviour, you can deal with these situations by being able to deflect, diffuse and distract pupils’ actions by being assertive.

Always try to isolate a situation if at all possible, removing the impact of there being an audience – an audience that can either be played up to, or will take it upon themselves to get involved.

Always try to actively listen and to speak calmly and assertively and remember the messages we give are both verbal and non-verbal.

Five – Give students some space and time

Often situations within a classroom can escalate disturbingly quickly because they become teacher-pupil confrontations. Crowding, pressuring or demanding immediate compliance from students who are already angry rarely ends well. Allowing the student to have a bit of space and time to think and to process your requests is far less aggressive and much more assertive.