Home life takes a hit

Doncaster primary teacher Lesley Ward finishes her marking at about 10pm.

At 4.20am, her secondary teacher husband's alarm clock goes off, and he gets up to start his lesson planning.

mn County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Andy Brown and his wife, both secondary teachers, pass in the hall, one off to oversee a drama production, the other coming home from coaching badminton.

"I turn to my wife on the last week of August, lean over to kiss her and say, see you at Christmas," says Mr Brown. "We just have to make the best of the time we have at the weekends. It's fortunate we have a strong relationship." But few teachers believe they should count the hours and minutes and be paid overtime - rather they believe pay should be increased to recognise their long hours.

Lesley Ward says the children in her class are her responsibility: "You will do as many hours as it takes to discharge that responsibility, but children are not getting any easier. I've had the day from hell today.

"I just work until I get fed up and need a gin and tonic. I sometimes think teachers keep the drinks industry going."

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