Part-time love

19th September 1997 at 01:00
At last, attention is being paid to the plight of teachers' own children. Young children need calm, focused parents who can "tune in" to them. Part-time teaching, in my experience, makes this possible. How sad that we have to commit career suicide in order to care for our own children.

Part-timers face insecurity and are open to bullying, direct and indirect. But as a part-timer, I can offer energy and enthusiasm. I have time to rest, keep myself fit, read and practise my craft, and play my part in the community.

I love the balance of my life, unlike many of my colleagues (and my pre-children self). I do not count the years to retirement or suffer stress or ill health. I could go on working like this forever - but will I have a job next year?

A reduced salary is manageable but no job at all would be a disaster. What has become of initiatives for job shares and more secure part-time work? Administrative costs would surely be balanced by reduced sickness and staff turnover.

Are part-timers committed? Yes, because we have the energy to be. And a mother who insists on the best for her own child might well insist on the best for other children in her care. I've never regretted giving up my head of department post when I had the children. It's been a very rocky road, though. But that's another story.

ORLA LENEHAN

Brook Cottage Church Street Loose, Kent

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