Keeping it in the family

31st March 1995 at 01:00
As the teenage daughter of teaching parents I strongly identified with Philip Larkin's line: "They fuck you up your mum and dad." Now I'm not so sure.

At primary school I was definitely different. Teachers seemed to feel I had special knowledge and this meant power. If I didn't know something I could always ask my mum, a primary teacher, to explain. If I was in trouble she could fix it. She spoke the same language.

At secondary school there was a certain snob value attached to having teachers as parents. I had positive relationships with most of my teachers and I think they felt we were on the same side.

I always remember my maths teacher taking me to one side to ask if people avoided my parents at parties. I had no answer to this - I didn't think teachers went to parties. Mine never did!

Now I am about to complete the circle by becoming a teacher myself. I'd tried other jobs and not wanted to stay - working for a charity, in an education department, and then publishing.

I made my PGCE application after much soul-searching: am I doing this because I want to be my mother? The truth is, I've always wanted to teach, or else I'm a control freak - my games with dolls revolved around making them school uniforms and incessantly taking the register!

Having parents as teachers will now serve me well. I can pick their brains. It worked wonders in my interview for the PGCE course. When I finally managed to drop the fact that my mum and dad are teachers, my aunt is a headteacher and my granny had been a school cook, the news was greeted with a raised eyebrow and a look which said "it's in the blood". Then I knew I was home and dry.

Jane Hegarty lives in London

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