'Bearable - but not if I had my own family'

4th November 2005 at 00:00
It is 7pm at Comberton village school in Cambridgeshire and Leigh McLelland, the newly-appointed head of modern languages, is packing up to go home. Her day started nearly 12 hours earlier but she has six classes to teach the next day and has to prepare.

Despite the long hours she works, the 32-year-old Oxford graduate gets immense satisfaction. "I really love teaching and take a lot of personal pride in what I do," she said. She decided on teaching and completed her postgraduate certificate in education in 1999, following an unhappy period working as a headhunter in the City.

"I lasted about four weeks because I really didn't want to lie to people. I had been inspired by my own teachers so always had the idea of going into the profession."

While the hours are just about bearable at present, she acknowledges her work-life balance might have to change.

"I'm happy to work the hours I do because I don't have a family to make dinner for. I'm just looking after myself but if I want to start a family I won't be able to keep doing that."

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