Being a teacher takes a multitude of finely honed skills,
from solving petty crime like a trained detective to imitating a court jester, all within the turn of a phrase. Teaching takes you from being a caring and compassionate counselor to a commanding officer in a matter of minutes. Therefore it come as no surprise that there is a wealth of creative talent in the profession, but how many of us actually share it?
After a discussion with @GazDenman about staff members having hidden talents, he mentioned Matthew 25: 14-30 - The Parable of the Talents from The New Testament as a metaphor for sharing the talents we have in school or keeping them buried like so many end up doing. In the parable, two servants used their talents and therefore gained a 100% profit whilst the third servant chose to bury his talent in order to keep it safe and thus made no profit. Needless to say, the third servant was duly punished.
So what can we learn from this? Talk to staff and find out what they are hiding. I guarantee you'll be surprised! In my last school we had a secret flute player, an author and a fantastic singer, all too modest to share anything. Not only can it raise the profile and moral of teachers, it is likely to inspire the children. How can we ask children to share and develop their own talents if we do not do the same? Whether it's gardening, drawing, stunning handwriting or playing a particular sport, let's celebrate and share what we have in school and, much like the parable, make burying it and playing it safe not an option!
One thing I am pretty certain of, is that there are a lot of talented teachers who rock these days! Here are 10 teachers who live, or have lived, a double life as both teacher and musician. They are all active members of the teaching community on Twitter and have produced some awesome music which we have compiled for your listening pleasure.
Love Ends Disaster! (Suzanne)
Apollo Junction (Paris)
Dystopian Future Movies (Inertia)
Shortwave Fade (Ghost)
One for The Road (Fields of Athenry)
Under a Banner (Inseparable)
Duke and the Darlings (Days of Wonder)
Disco Mister (Feed the Rich)
DOWNLOAD THE ALBUM FREE - CLICK HERE
We spoke to teachers from each of the bands on the album to find out what life was like balancing life as both a teacher and musician.
Name: Dave Paterson
Occupation: Science Teacher
Twitter Handle: @davepatersani
Life as a teacher and musician: It can be quite challenging to manage for a number of reasons! The biggest challenge people might expect is scheduling, I've found this is really manageable though. Bands tend to be busiest in the Summer and it actually works really well being a teacher with time off that allows you to concentrate on music full time right through July and August when all the major festivals take place. The biggest issue is social media and the perception of what being in a band means. As with any teacher you are constantly trying to moderate content on social media, (apparently society still doesn't accept teachers as people like everyone else) so we constantly find new innovative ways to hide on social media! I have lost that luxury to an extent with being in the band and reaching a certain profile, when you are appearing on the festival circuit or TV, radio, papers, magazines etc it becomes hard to hide. Actually the first time it was properly noticed was when pupils identified me by my tattoos! Other than that I don't think they would have believed it. After that it briefly went viral in 2016 and ended up getting some heavy media coverage in Scotland in a very positive way! It was refreshing to see everyone's response and how much pupils, partners and guardians all enjoyed it. I find now that it's just a talking point with pupils, they all know about it and the novelty has well and truly worn off for them! They are back to seeing me as their teacher and the 'Rockstar' element is a distant memory to them, until they go to see a band and we pop up as the support!
2.) Love Ends Disaster! (Suzanne)
Name: Matt Dix
Occupation: Primary School Teacher
Twitter Handle: @mracdpresent
Life as a teacher and musician: I was a Teaching Assistant for 4 years whilst being in a band. Being in my twenties meant I had the energy and stamina to go to work, race to London for a gig and get back the next day to take a phonics group and support in class! These days, I struggle staying awake for MOTD but our hard work and endeavour was rewarded with some great gigs. Playing Leeds and Reading Festival and supporting acts such as Babyshambles and Scouting For Girls.
3.) Apollo Junction (Paris)
Occupation: All 3 are teachers!
Twitter Handle: @ApolloJunction
Life as a teacher and musician: Work life balance is an issue with 3 teachers in the band. We're always busy and we couldn't possibly keep it up without loving it so much. The band's doing well too so that also helps a fair bit to keep up motivated on the hard days. Overall though we've juggled it fine so far.
4.) Dystopian Future Movies (Inertia)
Name: Caroline Cawley
Occupation: Primary School Teacher
Twitter Handle: @calacawley
Life as a teacher and musician: Finding the balance can be difficult when teaching and working in music. I took on a Middle Management Phase Leader role alongside managing and playing in two bands last year and after a manic year, I realised that I was doing neither of my passions any justice. I now work 3 days at school after my very understanding Head Teacher encouraged me to stay on in a part-time capacity and I continue to be heavily involved with both Dystopian Future Movies and Church of the Cosmic Skull (both rock bands based in Nottingham).I am currently on UK tour with DFM and booking the European summer festival circuit for COTCS. After 15 years within the teaching profession in both Dublin and Nottingham, it's my blood. I love teaching and I feel that after I decided to devote more time to my musical passion, a new found energy and enthusiasm has spilled over into my teaching job and I have more to give to the kids at school
5.) Shortwave Fade (Ghost)
Name: Matt Payne
Occupation: Primary School Teacher
Twitter Handle: @MattPayne22
Life as a teacher and musician: I was a bass player in a band called Shortwave Fade for around 5 years. During this time the band released an album ‘Deletia’. I was still playing with the band up to 6 months ago at which point I decided to call it a day.We used to practice every Thursday and this was ‘my time’ away from everything else, to switch off and relax. Although I’m not playing in a band situation, I still have Thursday evening as ‘my time’ to help relax from the day to day stresses of life!
6.) One for The Road (Fields of Athenry)
Name: Scott Allsop
Occupation: History Teacher
Twitter Handle: @MrAllsopHistory
Life as a teacher and musician: One For The Road are a long-serving Irish band based in Cairo that features a rotating line-up of international and local musicians. The band primarily consists of teachers and school staff, and weekend rehearsals and gigs always offer a welcome respite from 'the day job'. Students at school love that their teachers do this outside class, while the teachers and international community in Cairo enjoy the typical fun that goes alongside a night of Irish music.
7.) Under a Banner (Inseparable)
Name: Adam Broadhurst
Occupation: English Teacher
Twitter Handle: @underabanner
Life as a teacher and musician: Two band members are teachers. I teach English and Kat, our keyboard player teaches Humanities. Jake is also a peripatetic guitar teacher. Juggling our professions with our practicing, recording, gigging and touring can of course be tricky but we are dedicated and fairly well organised. Thankfully, we do the overwhelming majority of this work at weekends and grateful for the Summer break and the fact it largely coincides with festival season.
8.) Duke and the Darlings (Days of Wonder)
Name: Alexander Reed
Occupation: English Teacher
Twitter Handle: @AlexanderJReed
Life as a teacher and musician: Teaching pays the bills so comes first, but I have managed to play regular shows (weekday and weekend) for 6 years. I also put on gigs for other artists via my record label Sweet Sweet Records. It takes organisation but gigs are booked a few months in advance, which makes it easier to plan for. I love my job teaching English, and my whole-school TLR, but it is important to have something that takes you to another place: I fervently believe that at least 51% of your week should be filled with activities and people that aren’t work-related. I am Alex first and Mr Reed second. Writing songs takes time, in fact more time than planning, promoting and playing a show, but this never feels like a task - some of my best hooks and lines come whilst waiting for my photocopying to come through!
9.) Mosaic (Runaway)
Name: Victor Minkov
Occupation: Secondary School HLTA
Twitter Handle: @DownendMinkov
Life as a teacher and musician: I am a secondary-school maths HLTA by weekday and drummer/songwriter by Monday, Tuesday, and Friday nights. Sounds rigid but it seems to work. When I was at Uni procrastinating my coursework, I would argue to myself that creativity can’t be scheduled or forced but with the eventual high-stakes pressures of a music composition portfolio, I had to get SOMETHING (good) done. I did something called ‘seat time’. You schedule time to sit at the piano, whether you liked it or not, whether you were inspired or not, whether you where whatever or not. It meant something got done, seeds were planted no matter how small, and it meant I could be productive. It’s sort of how we keep the band going now. Meet up every Monday for sausages and mash and do something musical (the other days don’t involve sausages.. Just music).The band at the moment is a duo, myself and Jared McLean, and we are aiming to make our mark in the prog-pop or math-pop genre. We aren't juggling any gigs though we occasionally go to Pucklechurch open-mic to do some acoustic covers and originals. We’re hoping our music video propels us into big-time fame and while we wait we’re staying low key and writing royalty-free stock music. If you can’t beat them, hey…I have teaching responsibility for 2 classes, I manage DofE, and I have no kids of my own. I’m getting married later this year so a variety of those circumstances may well change very soon! Nonetheless, as long as it continues to be a priority for both of us, seat time will make sure the band keeps going.
10.) Disco Mister (Feed the Rich)
Names: Robin Parmiter & Ian Wilson
Occupations: R.P.E. Teacher & Music Teacher
Twitter Handle: @discomister
Life as a teacher and musician: It's tricky finding time to get together as a band but we've learned that amazing things can happen when you make time. We think it's vital to have something other than work to be active with and have ticked off a few musical ambitions with Discomister - our 2014 World Cup song 'Bring It Home' entered the Official Singles Chart, giving us 15 minutes of fame, and we even toured our album Cool Is Dead around Europe during an Easter holiday. Teaching can easily consume life, and before you know it a half term has disappeared, but it's partly down to our day job that we got recognition as a band in the first place. We show our students that you can still chase your dreams while having a career. The song that we've sent is a protest song about the charitable status of private schools and speaks for itself - it's the only school themed song from our album!
10 FAMOUS ROCKERS WHO WERE TEACHERS!
Here’s the definitive list of teachers who had skills beyond the classroom to became famous musicians themselves.
Hover over each image on the slide show to find out more about these 10 famous teachers-turned-musicians!
All in all, this clearly proves that teachers really do rock!
TES: Download the Teachers Rock album HERE