This week, I have interviewed a number of teachers about the impact of the profession on their respective love lives. I have chosen some of the most interesting responses here. One thing they all have in common is the profound impact being a teacher has had on that side of their life both for positive and negative reasons. Here are their stories.
Isabel’s story: the teacher who dated a non-teacher
I'm a SENCo at a big 11-16 academy in a deprived area. I started dating a man my age who works in IT. He couldn't believe that I had to bring work home, that I sometimes go into school at the weekends and during the school holidays. He wanted to drive over and take me for lunch and was incredulous that I don't get time to go out to lunch, that any teacher is lucky to get two minutes to eat lunch. He resented that I can't book days off outside the school holidays.
He questioned why I don't go to the gym more often. Most of all, he couldn't understand how absolutely exhausted I am by Friday night and told me that I needed to be more 'positive' and go out with him for a meal, or to see a film. The summer holidays were great but our relationship came to an end three weeks into term time. He just didn't understand the demands of teaching, including the emotional impact of knowing the kind of home lives many of our students have - and dealing with their parents. I think he thought I was lazy or had some sort of condition that made me excessively sleepy. I would be wary of dating a non-teacher again.
David’s story: the teacher who married another teacher
Some 11 years ago, a temporary TA walked into my classroom. At the time, I worked in a tough, inner-city junior school in the borough of Haringey, London. Together, over the next couple of terms, we worked together to manage the academic and emotional needs of a challenging group of children. The TA is now both a teacher and my wife! Eleven years on (and three children in) we are still going strong.
My wife, Anna, and I share a passion: to provide all children with the best possible experiences that we can. Although we are very different in ideology (I believe passionately in play-based learning whilst she is in favour of more academic strategies) our visions are similar. We both started our careers in London; a fast learning curve and something that bonded us closely, before moving to Devon to bring up our family. Because teaching is in our blood, we talk a lot about it out of school. Current policies, new initiatives and day-to-day school life stories are always debated and shared in our house.
I do believe that having a common understanding of each other’s jobs has made life easier over the years. We know a lot of couples where one is a teacher and the other is not. There is still a view that your job 'is not that difficult ' and 'you have the time...' etc. Fortunately, we do not have this problem.
The only down side that is that we are both really tired. Teaching and bringing up a young family is physical work. My wife is ready for bed by 9pm most week nights whilst I need the evening to un-wind and chill (football on TV, film etc). Not physically going to bed at the same time as each other can become really unhealthy over time.
Juliet’s Story: the single teacher looking for love
I am a senior leader at a primary school with a full-time class teacher responsibility. I have been teaching for 8 years, for five of which I have been single. I separated with my non-teaching husband after our relationship had broken down beyond repair, not least due to both of us trying to juggle demanding jobs and looking after our two-year-old daughter, at the time. It became a power struggle – we both felt that our careers were more important than the others, and struggled to maintain a balance.
Subsequently, I have found it increasingly difficult to have a relationship or even to meet someone. I have used internet dating which, if the men who messaged me are to be believed, is awash with teachers. Although I have met people online who I could potentially see a future with, it has burned put after two or three months because I simply cannot find time to spend with them. I see them every other weekend, when my daughter is with her dad, and even then it is slotted around planning, data, ITPs and all the other things I need to do in my 'free' time.
I have pretty much resigned myself to a life of being single until I can find a way out of teaching.
Carlotta’s story: the teacher who married a non-teacher
Being a teacher is a massively hard job, second only to being a parent. I came late to teaching at the age of 32. My husband had supported me throughout my teaching degree, both financially and emotionally and our children were aged 8, 4 and 7 at the time. As an NQT things went quite well. I was in an outstanding school with excellent support in place. I stayed at that school for six years with one of those years being part of the SLT. I loved it but there was no progression for me. I felt like my work life balance was really good and that I had time to be a good parent and a wife.
In 2014, my ever-supportive husband encouraged me to apply for an assistant head role at another school. I got the job and my workload quadrupled. Suddenly, I found myself less available for my children and my husband was taking on a huge amount of the parenting and housework (he has a job he can leave at work). I was being put under lots of pressure from above and even after achieving good in an Ofsted, the pressure just kept coming. I ended up being bullied by SLT above me to the point where they wanted to send a taxi for my school laptop when I was off sick.
My husband started to get cross even though he is a fairly chilled out guy. He told me to hand my notice in and look for another job. I did and I got a deputy headship at a local school. Unfortunately, the information I had been given and shown was inaccurate and the ‘heading towards good’ school is in fact inadequate. My head is off and everything is a mess. ALL of the KS2 staff left so I now have three NQTs so no room for delegation. I am currently working an approximately 75-hour week to try and sort the mess before Ofsted comes. I don’t see much of my family or my husband and I can’t lie, the strain on our very solid 21-year marriage is starting to take its toll.
All names have been changed