WATCH: What jobs did you have before teaching?

Teachers told us about work they did before teaching – spanning a mind-boggling range of work experience

Henry Hepburn

WATCH: What jobs did you have before teaching?

If you ever had any doubts that teachers were an eclectic bunch, just ask them about the jobs they had before going into teaching.

When we did just that, the range of experience was mind boggling from opera singing to gravedigging, from football commentator to stand-up comedian, from packing lavender to testing sausages, from petrol pump attendant to inventor of colours for fast cars.

Watch our video – inspired by a Tes article on helping students see that career paths are not necessarily linear – and scroll down to see the work experience drawn on by many more.


Some of teachers' former jobs:

Organising props on a soap opera

Butlins Redcoat and Pontins Bluecoat

Lavender packer

Grouse beater

RAF (logistics, HGV driving, forklift driving, JCB driving, explosive bomb dumps)

Airport check-in

Dance coach

Bank manager

University lecturer (religion, history, politics, postcolonial studies)

Checkout operator at William Low

Chief risk officer of a hedge fund


Extractor fan assembly line member

Cardiac technician

Tax consultant

Land Registers of Scotland employee

Funeral waitress

Science festival organiser

Garden centre seedling picker

Restorer of Titan Clydebank crane

Titan crane Clydebank

Befriending worker

Technician with roads department

Science communicator and planetarium presenter

Ice cream man


Theatre director

Wedding cake designer

Pub landlord

Change analyst for the police

Interior designer

Garment technologist

Breastfeeding counsellor

Softplay centre assistant

Strawberry picker

Government press officer

Autism support worker

Chocolate shop worker

Project manager for British Aerospace


Scientific researcher in counterterrorism

Barley roguer

Cinema projectionist

Directory Enquiries call handler

Chemist making coatings for drinks and inventing new colours and coatings for Jaguar and Aston Martin cars

Petrol pump attendant

Manufacturing engineer


Factory worker making plastic foodbags and clingfilm

Research scientist (proteins, large molecules and vaccines)

TV producer and director

Biscuit packer

Sail maker

Milk sample tester

Classified advertising sales in trade magazines

Youth club leader

Chip shop server


Play practitioner

Theatre technician (lighting and sound)

Electronic engineer in telecoms industry

Academic specialising in contemporary Middle East politics

Ride operator at Twinlakes theme park

Football commentator

Pizza Express duty manager

Sausage tester



Hospital clerical worker

Bookmaker's assistant

Swimming teacher



Merchant Navy navigation officer

Band manager

Wine tour guide in Loire Valley

Sweet shop assistant



Laundry worker

Nursing assistant

Council grass cutter


Tea lady in roadside cafe

Forensic anthropologist

Stand-up comedian

PA for a lord provost

School janitor

Civil servant in the unemployment benefit office

Cancer researcher

Concrete technician

Office cleaner

Marketing officer for Duracell

Piano tutor

Student nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital

Food technologist

Collector of air in test tubes

Travel agent

Buyer for The Body Shop

Coal miner

(And many more…)

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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