Curb his enthusiasm

Sophie Hill

When I found my partner, I wanted to be with him but I did not want to inspire him to become a teacher. God, no! What could be worse than dating a teacher?

This, then, is my guide to finding a partner, testing your compatibility with them and, finally, snuffing out their interest in the job.

Towards the end of your training, use June, July and August to glamorise the teacher's role. Head to the pub at 3.30pm and find your victim. When they ask about your job, say things like: "They are as good as gold." Or, "This summer I hope to travel." That is how my romance began - I tricked the poor sod.

Once you have bagged your partner, cooked them dinner and made their packed lunch every day for six weeks, it is time for them to meet the real you. Now, in 10 easy steps, teach your partner the reality:

1. Stop all the above. Do not cook, clean or smile. That ship has sailed.

2. Leave the house at 7am; return at 6pm. On arriving home, if your partner has cooked dinner, do not eat it while it is hot and do not eat it with them - the conversation will only slow you down.

3. Cry.

4. Work long after your partner has gone to bed, then crawl in beside them and give them one brief kiss before falling into a troubled slumber.

5. Wake your partner sporadically by reprimanding students and discussing the Assessing Pupil Progress initiative in your sleep.

6. Explain how little impact you make. Back this up with anecdotal evidence of the student who, in spite of a six-week scheme of work, will not use a capital letter at the start of a sentence.

7. Cry when your partner tries to offer you teaching advice.

8. Cry if they don't.

9. Once a month, give yourself a night off. Plan to go out to dinner or watch television. But throughout the evening, check your emails. If you opted for TV, keep Outlook open and refresh every three to four minutes. When your head of department emails you (they will), either drop what you are doing and fulfil your teaching duties or fret loudly and cry.

10. When the next school holidays roll around, if you are still together, go away. Relax and reconnect. At the travel agent, hold your partner as they sob when the agent tells you the peak-season prices. And if your partner has lasted this long, marry them immediately.

You will probably have put their mind at rest that teaching is not the Coach Carter career that they had imagined. If - as can occasionally happen - they still want to teach, support them as they have supported you. Because I don't know about you, but I certainly feel as though we could do with a hand.

Sophie Hill has been shortlisted for a TES writing competition. Entrants were asked to write about either the best thing that happened to them in school this week or about persuading their partner to become a teacher. The three other shortlisted articles will be published here in the weeks ahead. To vote for a winner, please visit www.tesconnect.comcolumnistcomp

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Sophie Hill

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