'Mr Michael saw something I didn't.' Hussain Manawer, Poet & Astronaut and Anthony Michael, Teaching Assistant

“Mr Michael saw something I didn’t.”

Hussain Manawer, Poet & Astronaut

Scaling new heights with the help of a musician

Anthony Michael set a successful music career aside to become a Teaching Assistant. In the classroom he was able to inspire talented children, including one who will be going to space, thanks to the poetry skills Anthony helped nurture.

Anthony was in a successful 90s pop band, but he swapped touring with Madonna and Janet Jackson for helping a new generation of kids achieve their dreams.

His route back to school was an unusual one, taking in a music and multimedia degree, full-time work, and mentoring. His approach to teaching is equally unusual. It’s one from which his fellow teachers often learn.

"They started to realise how I am. They know that if I see a kid doing something bad, I never see it as that. It’s always the result of an underlying problem...it’s something else."

One child Anthony reached out to was Hussain Manawer. Now 25, Hussain wrote the poem that launched London’s Night Tube, while another of his poems won him a place as an astronaut to represent "the face of young humanity." He credits Anthony with giving him the support and encouragement he needed. When Anthony heard what Hussain had to say about him, he was absolutely stunned.

"I just didn’t think he felt that way because I just normally do what I do, kind of help kids, inspire them. If I get to inspire a kid 1% then I’m happy. But I never ever thought that that’s the way someone I helped out would feel."

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