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It's a messy job, but we love it

This is only my fourth year of teaching. I started as an NQT, at a school with serious weaknesses. As we plunged towards special measures, I was diagnosed as having depression. Two years later I am at an equally challenging, but successful school. Bliss!

To cope with paying off my student debts, I have, at 27 years old, moved back into my parents' home. To supplement my teaching income, I work weekends and holidays in a bar. I earn almost as much an hour as I do teaching. No one expects me to be superhuman and no one asks me to use that mythical magic wand. I just pull pints. No targets, no SATs, no Ofsted, no tress. I even have the option of a social life and unrushed adult conversation.

My story is the same as that of many young teachers. Do we really deserve PRP? Do we deserve the everlasting, uninformed quibble over "holidays"? We are overworked and underpaid, but too fearful of being deemed "not positive" to demand justice.

Yet despite all this, when the local punters ask me about my day job, I find a smile appearing on my face and a voice saying, "I love it". Maybe we really do teach for the sheer love of a bloody, sweaty and, if we are lucky, rewarding challenge.

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