Ruling the roost

I don't want to be one of those people who is "teacher" through and through: who organises their weekend around hour-long activities and lectures their partner with the same tone of voice they use on their pupils (I have tried anyway, and it gets you nowhere!) I'm thinking of that stereotypical, scraped-back-ponytail, eyebrow-raising bossy type. I do it quite well at school, but at home I like to think of myself as a loafer - casual, disorganised, someone who likes to use swear words and be unfashionably late.

Recently, however, it has become quite clear that my domestic situation needs sharpening up (or rather, I need to find some way of motivating my vacuum cleaner-shy boyfriend to get up off his backside). So, inspired by the lovely orderliness of my classroom, I have instigated The Regime at home. The Regime has two parts: rules and jobs. Rules are fairly straightforward, for example: Do NOT leave dirty socks on the sofa Do NOT leave nasty beard shavings in the bathroom sink Do NOT put cutlery upside down in the dishwasher.

Oh, wait a minute - I'm supposed to be phrasing them positively, so a general "DO as I tell you" will be perfect. Jobs designed to raise self-esteem and to nurture a sense of responsibility have been divvied out quite fairly. And to make sure there are no squabbles over who does what, I have colour-coded them: blue jobs and pink jobs.

Taking out the overflowing bins is definitely a blue job and selecting soft furnishings is, naturally, pink.

So thrilled am I with the novelties of this system, I am thinking about setting up a points chart, and if the house stays tidy for a whole week, he'll be getting a certificate. But for some reason, I can't think why, he is not proving to be one of my star pupils Louisa Leaman is a London teacher

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