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Friday Five: Things teachers miss out on because they’re too busy

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Teaching can be an all-consuming profession. It eats away at every aspect of a teacher’s life to the point where there is often little left that is not related to work. As a result, there are numerous things teachers miss out on...

1. Lunchtimes. Also known as The Fastest Hour of the School Day, lunchtimes are typically spent gobbling a soggy sandwich at your desk, and that’s if you’re lucky. Tales of teachers scoffing a samosa on the toilet, making their way through a muffin while marking and sneaking Smarties into their mouth during the last lesson of the day abound. 

Scoffing lunch

2. A full weekend’s worth of lie-ins. Ah, the weekend catch-up. Teachers have heard about this mystical land of daytime slumber, but have never got to sample it for themselves. This is partly because they have too much to do to waste time sleeping, but another cause is the fact that QTS seems to come with a free alarm clock for the brain that wakes teachers up at 6am. Every. Single. Day. 

No sleep

3. The best concert tickets. As much as you would love to sit waiting in an online queue for Adele tickets at 9am, that tricky Year 8 class is not going to teach adverbial phrases to itself. As for getting off early to travel to that gig in a distant town, forget it. You might make it for the encore, but only if someone swaps bus duty day with you. 

Timing is everything

4. Doctor’s appointments. Ask a teacher who their GP is and you get the sort of blank look you get when you make an out-of-date cultural reference to your students: it’s clear that they recognise the words you are using, but they have no idea what they mean. This is because teachers don’t go to the doctors. They have no time to be ill. And if they do get ill, they have no time to go to a doctor. If you want to see what happens when modern medicine has no role in human existence, visit a school staffroom. 

Computer says no

5. Spontaneous mid-week social events.  Let’s say by some miraculous effort of pre-planning, begging favours and chance, you manage to make it out for a mid-week drink with some friends. You now have two challenges: drinking enough to stay awake later than 9.30pm and not drinking so much you can’t function the next morning. Inevitably, though, you fall asleep at 9.30pm and have a hangover so bad you can’t see the whiteboard in the morning. 

Nodding off at desk

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