Lazy days;Talkback

10th April 1998 at 01:00
Bliss is job-sharing for Jennifer Newman

For the first time in nearly 20 years, I am looking forward to a relaxing Easter. The reason? Last September I gave up my full-time senior teacher post to job-share main grade English teaching. If only I knew then what I know now!

Lesson planning and delivery has been as smooth as a glossy QCA cover. True, I share a post with a long-standing friend and colleague, but once we overcame the urge to speak daily, things could not be easier. Our "bible" containing lesson evaluations has taken on an apostolic mystique.

While my partner works hard to enclose her duties within her working days, I have gloried in school-free nights and weekends. Though this means planning and marking during my days off, the sheer pleasure is astounding. Never before have I been able to plan lessons so effectively.

This brings me to the greatest change: the amount of time I have to myself. It has taken four months to accept that it's all right to sit and read; to go for a walk on a lovely Spring day; to do nothing at all if the mood takes me.

In school, I miss the buzz of having responsibility and I still mentally collect moral snippets: should I donate my brain for medical research, there will be many assembly plans inside it.

Pay is the greatest drawback. I have no desire for an expensive lifestyle, but I always felt secure knowing I could wrap cheques around problems. But time is more cost-effective.

I had it all summed up beautifully by a pupil last week. He said: "I haven't seen you for a while. Have you been on holiday?" "Something like that," I replied.

Jennifer Newman job-shares in Leicestershire .

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