Matthew Jolugbo drove while drunk and disqualified before joining Acton high, London, and falsely claimed pound;3,672 in benefits for housing and council tax while employed at the school, England's General Teaching Council heard.
The disciplinary hearing in Birmingham suspended him from teaching until March 31, 2006.
Lesley Hall, Acton's head, said she was not aware of the convictions until Mr Jolugbo was given a permanent job and that she felt her judgement had been undermined.
"There was some disquiet among the staff because of the feeling that it was not the conduct expected of a colleague, and people feel quite strongly about benefit fraud," she said.
But Ms Hall said there had been limited repercussions on the school and that she felt he had turned over a new leaf.
"There's been nothing in Mr Jolugbo's performance as a classroom teacher which would make the governing body think they had made a wrong decision in terms of him being a science teacher," she said.
The disciplinary hearing was told that he was jailed for a month each for driving while disqualified and falsely representing himself as another person to claim motor insurance in February 2000.
In October 2001 he was jailed for five months and banned from driving for three years after being found guilty of two counts of drink-driving and driving while disqualified.
Mr Jolugbo, 41, told the GTC he was "fully responsible" for what had happened but said he had been unfamiliar with British legal proceedings, having only entered the country a couple of years beforehand.
In November 2004, he was found guilty of six counts of making false statements to claim benefits and sentenced to 160 hours of community service.
He told the GTC that he was foolishly trying to help a friend and had made no personal gain from the fraud.
"I am fully responsible for my actions. It's been on my mind for the past two years. It's a mistake I have made," he said.