Hard facts on a lost libido

25th February 2005 at 00:00
Teaching is such a tiring job, a recent report revealed, that teachers have no time and energy for either sex or conversation. It was devastating news.

No energy for one of the most important aspects of relationships, a major driving force, vital for the very survival of the human race? Not enough time to enjoy one of the greatest pleasures available? What are things coming to when there is no time for a decent conversation?

I once met a businessman who was married to a teacher. "Do you want to know the most effective form of birth control currently available?" he asked.

"Marry a Year 6 teacher."

Perhaps the Government will come up with a special soundbite - "Tough on droop, tough on the causes of droop" - and abolish Sats.

What is really needed is a fine-grain analysis of the problem, so I have been analysing thousands of detailed questionnaires and transcripts from hundreds of intensive interviews on the topic. Actually I haven't - I've made it all up, but the explanation of this mass lowering of the sex drive is patently obvious.

Ingrained professional habits can be especially deflating during tender moments. Try to avoid sudden shouted comments, such as: "Nobody move until I say so", "Don't call out", "Raise your hand if you want to speak", or "The bell will be going in about two minutes, so you'd better finish off whatever you're doing".

There are other explanations for teachers' droop.

Excitement can wane rapidly when two people first have to work through a carefully structured official PowerPoint presentation from the Number 10 Policy Unit about how to procreate, on a laptop borrowed from school.

Reception class teachers have the exact opposite of a Karma Sutra if they use a huge 117-item performance checklist on their mate. English teachers'

biggest dampener of ardour is to make their partner write a poem about it.

These are all the equivalent of putting someone's erogenous zones into the fridge.

Nowadays uninterested teachers no longer need to have a convenient headache. They simply say they are waiting for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to produce a scheme of work about sex, so they will know what to do every few minutes.

Headteachers' sex drive is also badly affected. Mention the word "erection" and their faces light up. They believe the builders have finally arrived to put up the scaffolding and repair the roof.

Some heads think "engaging in foreplay" means writing a paper describing their bonking policy and then emailing it to the staff for comment. The odd traditionalist even insists on wearing a gown.

Others spend hours picking up every scrap of litter in the bedroom so their partners have nodded off when they eventually climb into bed. Have you noticed that very few heads are called Roger?

Primary heads have become particularly impotent. For them, foreplay is saying "Good evening" in their morning assembly voice and then making their partner slowly intone the usual stilted response: "Good ev-en-ing Mrs Scat-ter-good."

When things don't work out, they insist on singing a cheery verse of "All Things Bright and Beautiful" and telling the story of Robert the Bruce and the spider, to show that we must all try, try and try again.

The consolation is that it must be even worse for school inspectors. If you are married to an Ofsted inspector, how can you reach a pitch of sexual frenzy when your partner insists on inspecting your detailed plan, complete with written objectives and measurable outcomes, before stripping off?

It must be a bit of a cold douche to be given a grade on a seven-point scale and then told that you were generally sound, but that satisfactory is no longer satisfactory. And why should you have to fill in a detailed self-evaluation after the event and then hold a debriefing meeting?

Worst of all is when your Ofsted partner tells you that you have some serious weaknesses and are being put into special measures, but not to worry - you can have another go in six months' time to check if you've implemented the agreed action plan. All this in front of a trainee inspector sitting in the corner writing notes on a clipboard.

I am surprised that the political parties have not yet cashed in on these grim tidings. I hesitate to give them ideas, but don't be surprised if they start trying to outbid each other in a Viagra auction ("We'll give every teacher 50 Viagra tablets". "We'll see your 50 and raise you 50").

They may even offer teachers free condoms with their slogan "forward not back". But trust the Number 10 policy unit to bog up any instruction. It should be forward and back - just like most education policies.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today