Alas, poor teacher

3rd August 2012 at 01:00

I recently made an astonishing discovery: my wife is an English teacher. This may not seem such a revelation to you, dear reader, but as an actor I can usually get through the day without paying attention to what my partner is doing. I have more important things to occupy my time. Worrying about getting work, moaning when I have work, resenting others who have work I should have had, bemoaning the hopelessness of British TV drama and lying on the sofa depressed that my genius is going unrecognised take my full concentration and effort. Is it any wonder, then, that my wife's exact occupation should fall beyond my purview?

However, thespians are known for their keen powers of observation. It was within only a few short years of my wife's change of occupation (she previously worked in theatre marketing, a job created so actors and directors have someone to blame when they get bad reviews and no audience) that I began to knit the clues together and realised: I am married to a secondary school teacher.

My first clue was that where once we had a household full of pens that I could use to write down my screenplay ideas, now there were only whiteboard markers. And the only other pen briefly sighted was red. Strange.

The second hint came when all the books in the house disappeared, to be replaced with hundreds of copies of Our Day Out (a play by Willy Russell in which I would make an excellent Mr Briggs).

I also noticed changes in my wife's behaviour. She took to sitting up until 11 o'clock annotating piles of grubby books filled with childish handwriting, or checking her emails while muttering "twat" and "for Christ's sake" under her breath.

She began waking at 6am and spent hours repeatedly trying on outfits in muted colours and demanding my opinion. She developed large muscles from hauling many bags of books and chocolate, without which she could apparently no longer leave the house on a weekday morning.

Occasionally she would return home with other tired, aggressive women who would sit swearing in the kitchen. In mid-July the house would fill with these termagants, all quaffing inexpensive red wine, cursing and shrieking.

The penny finally dropped. She was an English teacher. I felt I must help.

I discovered that there were plays on the curriculum. I offered my services. With unseemly enthusiasm she fell upon my idea of a session on character motivation in Death of a Salesman (for which I am clearly perfect for the part of Willy but keep being seen for Charlie. But that's my agent for you). It was horrible. There was little applause from an unappreciative audience, who persisted in talking throughout or asking to go to the toilet. And the majority appeared to be working class. I disliked it intensely. As a stage actor it is usually me doing the spitting and shouting.

I remain perplexed by my wife's choice of profession, that she should work so many hours for scant reward and no appreciation. She may as well be a stage manager.

I shall attempt to blot out the grim memories of my time in school and return to the theatre, where the elderly and middle class appreciate me. And I shall put my wife's desire to improve the minds and lives of the young down to hormonal imbalance.

Which reminds me, I must have some new headshots done.

Husband of Thrope is married to Anne Thrope (Ms), a secondary teacher in the North of England. @AnnethropeMs.

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