Based on a real-life story

25th November 1994 at 00:00
As a woman returner who, before having a family, held high office in an egalitarian school, my return seven years later has been stormy. Am I a rare breed? Surely not (See TES, November 4).

Through this page I would be interested to hear from others whose background and competence are being wasted and, like me, find themselves overlooked and overused.

Meanwhile I would like to offer this poem and hope that it too might strike a chord in every woman returner's heart.

(All comments and events are based on real-life experiences).

A man teacher reads The TES: "He's on the ball". a woman teacher reads The TES: "What for?" A man teacher asks searching questions in the staff meeting: he's applauded and earmarked for promotion. a woman teacher asks searching questions in the staff meeting: she's labelled awkward and a nuisance.

A man teacher raises his voice in class: "He's exerting positive control of his class". a woman teacher raises her voice in class: "She's lost control. "

A man teacher seeks promotion: "He's being groomed". a woman teacher seeks promotion: "She needs the money".

A man teacher is sworn at by a girl pupil: she is suspended. a woman teacher is sworn at by a boy pupil: she (the teacher) is accused of not understanding him.

A man teacher has held middle management posts before: "He probably still does". a woman teacher has held middle management posts before: "She was probably around in the 80s when anyone could get promoted."

The author lives in Staffordshire. Letters to Talkback will be forwarded to her.

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