All teachers' children get a raw deal

12th December 1997 at 00:00
I read Mary Hampshire's discussion of the problems faced by teachers who are fathers with interest and not a little anger (TES, November 28).

Like the teachers Ms Hampshire describes, I often work about 70 hours a week, spend time on schoolwork at weekends and even during the holidays.

I spend what feels like very little time with my own children and the time I do spend with them is often marred by my exhaustion. I am a pastoral head in a large comprehensive school in an area with an increasing number of social problems.

I, too, wish I could take the option of a career break of part-time working but that is not possible as I am the prime wage earner in our household. I am also a mother.

Like an increasing number of women, the traditional options are no longer open to me because I command and, will continue to command, a higher income than my husband.

Any child whose parents are teachers - mother or father - gets a raw deal now. The issue really isn't fathers who are teachers. It is the impact that the increasing demands on teachers is having on their families. Fortunately my husband is not a teacher, so my children have his time and attention.

What of the poor souls whose mothers and fathers are teachers? All teachers increasingly have less time and energy for their families. That needs addressing urgently before we lose valuable people from the profession because of its affect on family life.

Sadly, for too many of us teaching is not longer a "family-friendly" profession. If the Government really wants to get parents involved in their children's education and if it really wants to support families and family values the issue of working hours for all parents needs to be addressed urgently.

Hopefully the Equal Opportunities Commission directive gives hope to men and women, but, please Ms Hampshire, don't think that only fathers who are teachers need that help.

MARIE J ROBSON

1 Station Cottage Hampole Doncaster South Yorks

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