Friday Five: Tell-tale ways to spot a teacher outside school

27th November 2015 at 15:01
Magnifying glass kid

To the untrained eye, it isn’t easy to spot a teacher outside their place of work. After all, they don’t wear a uniform or even a badge. But, over time, teachers tend to develop very similar personality traits that are a dead giveaway as to their choice of profession. Here are five such characteristics, and some of the ways they manifest themselves.

1. Always prepared. Need a pen? Need a plaster? Desperate for a safety pin? You can bet your bottom dollar that if anyone will have those things, it’ll be a teacher. And they will magically produce them all from even the tiniest of bags, à la Mary Poppins. Because they too are practically perfect in every way.

Mary Poppins

2. Always organised. In order to maintain some semblance of a work-life balance, teachers need to be reasonably well organised at home. Whether it’s colour-coded plastic wallets for their life admin or an alphabetised DVD collection, every teacher has their organisational tell. Some more curious than others. 

Excessive filing

3. Always a disciplinarian. Someone else’s child misbehaving in public? Any teacher in the vicinity will almost definitely have noticed. And if they don’t march right up and say something to the culprit, they will at the very least make a loud and purposeful tutting noise as they stroll past.

Telling children off

4. Always a hoarder. The back of a teacher’s car is always weighed down with boxes of marking – alphabetised, naturally – and lovingly made resources that they used in an observed lesson one time and vowed to reuse but never did. Still, you never known when you might need moustaches on sticks again. 


5. Always generous. If someone's manically clearing the shelves of 32 seasonally themed boxes of chocolate, it’ll most likely be a teacher. And if the supermarket fails them and has only 29 in stock, they will buy 29 and spend the rest of the afternoon trawling other local shops until the set is complete, such is their dedication to equality when it comes to feeding their young.

Trolley dash


Related Content

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today