Published 30th June 2021


Isn’t it crazy to think that your old English teacher could have written a book that sold 500 million copies worldwide or written a Broadway musical that won 11 Tonys? They could be a Marvel superhero, a rockstar, or even a prince. Yes, you heard me right, your former English teacher who always had a mug in their hand and books scattered across their desk with a pile of essays that needed grading. Here are nine celebrities who you did not know taught English. 

John Krasinski 

The American actor of The Office (US) and director of A Quiet Place wanted to become an English teacher in college. He spent six months teaching English in Costa Rica as a student-teacher. He attended Brown University, where he studied English. According to an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Krasinski said, ”I was in college, and I was going to be a teacher up until the end… I went to a theatre school, and it changed my life”. It is probably a good thing that Krasinski switched his career path because it very well could have been your stapler or “World’s Best Teacher” mug encased in jello. Social Media:

Watch the full interview with John Krasinski here

Lin Manuel Miranda

Lin Manuel Miranda is a triple threat; Broadway legend, creator of Tony-winning musicals and an English teacher! After graduating from Wesleyan University in 2002, Miranda’s first job was as a seventh-grade English teacher at Hunter College High School, where he was an alumnus. He described the position as being one of the most rewarding jobs he has ever had. Miranda explained that teaching would simply entail performing. “I invariably found the more I listened, the less I spoke, the more effective I was as a teacher”. His favourite literature pieces to teach were Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and A Midsummer’s Night Dream by William Shakespeare. Miranda quoted, “I found the magic of teaching really is introducing an idea” which gave his students the confidence to understand real-world situations and engage with the reading. Social Media:

Read more about Lin Manuel Miranda here

J.K. Rowling

Before she wrote a series about a boy who lived under the stairs with a lightning bolt scar, Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts author J.K. Rowling was an English teacher in Portugal. After graduating from the University of Exeter in 1986, she answered a job advertisement looking for people to teach English abroad in Portugal. Rowling would write by day and teach by night. Magic wasn’t the only thing in the air as Rowling met and married her husband, Jorge Arantes. In 1993, Rowling gave birth to her daughter Jessica and soon would divorce her husband and move to Edinburgh. Four years later, J.K. Rowling published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Social Media:

Prince William

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, spent ten weeks volunteering as an English teacher in southern Chile. During his gap year in 2000, Prince Charles and William agreed that his gap year should be educational, vocational, and above all safe. Prince William would participate in British Army training exercises in Belize, where he would work on a dairy farm, visit other countries, and teach English to children. During his time in the Raleigh International Program, William lived with some of the other volunteers. Can you imagine eating breakfast with the future king of England in your kitchen? 

J.R.R. Tolkien

Hobbits, dragons, and precious rings, oh my! The best-selling author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R Tolkien taught English language and literature at Oxford University. Tolkien was a professor from 1945 until his retirement in 1959. During his teaching years, he published some of the most well-renowned books ever written, The Hobbit and the sequel, and The Lord of the Rings.  

Benedict Cumberbatch

Marvel’s Doctor Strange and Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch taught English in Darjeeling, India, before returning to England to study Drama during his gap year. Cumberbatch told a London-based journalist, “I was teaching English to Tibetan Buddhist monks in a Nepali home near Darjeeling”. He explains how they taught him a lot and described the people as “amazingly warm, intelligent, humorous people”. His time in Darjeeling helped him become cool, calm, and collected in his personal life. Cumberbatch said he has a new ability to focus on the present and not be distracted by outside forces. There was no doubt Benedict Cumberbatch could relate to the role of Doctor Strange!

Watch the full interview with Benedict Cumberbatch here


British singer and songwriter, Sting a.k.a Gordon Sumner, is better known for his hit songs and musical abilities and not his teaching skills. After graduating from Northern Counties College of Education in 1974, Sting was able to get a teaching position at St. Paul’s First School in Cramlington. He taught English, Music, and soccer for two years before returning to music. Since then, Sting has been sweeping Grammy awards and inducted onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Social Media:

Jesse Williams

Before playing pretty boy doctor on Primetime Emmy award-winning television show Grey’s Anatomy, Jesse Williams taught English in the Philadelphia public school system. He followed in his father’s footsteps as his father taught History up in northern Maine. Williams was a part of the school system for six years and taught subjects such as African Studies, American Studies, and English. He took on a teaching position after reflecting on his education. Williams moved from an overcrowded and underfunded school to one with better resources and educational outcomes. He wanted to be a part of the solution to give children who don’t have the wealthy zip codes a chance at a better future. It’s a beautiful day to save education! Social Media:

Stephen King

Child-eating clown, pig’s blood prom queen, and terrifying ten-year-old twins are exactly what you want your English teacher to write about in their spare time… right? Best-selling author Stephen King used to be an English teacher at Hampden Academy in Maine. After graduating from the University of Maine, King could not find a teaching position at first. Not long after starting his teaching career, King would write short stories and work on novels during the evenings and weekends. He soon would write and publish his novel Carrie. Due to the novel’s popularity, King stopped teaching to pursue his career as an author full time. Stephen King has written at least eighty-one books, and the majority have been adapted into movies and television shows. Social Media:

Read More: Famous Brits Who Taught English as a Foreign Language

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