Too tired for sex or conversation

11th February 2005 at 00:00
From internet liaisons to speed dating and scouring the staffroom for potential partners, teachers are trying everything to bring romance into their lives.

But despite all their efforts, the stress of the job is leaving a legacy of loneliness and broken relationships, a survey by the Teachers' Support Network reveals.

The survey of 146 teachers found that seven out of 10 say their work does not leave them with any time for a love life.

One male teacher said that the effort of communicating with pupils all day meant he was too tired to even speak to his partner, while a female teacher said 10-hour days with a further two hours of marking left her with no energy for sex.

One in 10 women teachers and 15 per cent of men also say their job has scared off potential partners.

Dawn, a secondary teacher who runs a matchmaking list on The TES online staffroom, said: "Many people's partners don't understand teachers, and others don't have time for dating. It's getting the opportunities to go out.

"You can't get away with turning up to school hung over."

Teachers are also increasingly looking for love and understanding among the biscuit crumbs and coffee cups of their own staffrooms. About 90 per cent of teachers said they would date a colleague.

However, such liaisons are frowned upon by couples, with about three-quarters of teachers with partners saying that dating a colleague is inappropriate.

For those prepared to endure the disapproval, only a tiny minority of schools have a policy banning relationships between teachers.

But women who fall for staffroom Romeos should be aware that more than eight out of 10 would not keep it secret.

Patrick Nash, chief executive of the Teachers Support Network, said its helpline takes three calls a day from teachers worried that their relationships are suffering because of their workload.

He said: "Long hours spent working at school and then at home can ruin teachers' personal lives. Teachers, particularly women with children, feel they have to juggle a busy job with family life. This puts their personal lives under considerable strain and has led to the breakdown of marriages."

Would you date a colleague? Email joseph.lee@tes.co.ukLeadership 30, JOBS1

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