Living with a teacher – A Partner’s Guide

Teaching is a huge part of my life, which is why it’s so tempting to blog about it (soz – not soz). My last post on it indicated that at times it is very all-consuming – taking up a million hours (to the nearest million) of my life – you can read it here. This is why I’ve decided to write a 5 point partner’s guide to living with that strangest of all beasts – the teacher.

  1. The Early Starts

If you start work at 9am – you have no idea. Some people walk the dog before going to work, others go to the gym, or even have time for a leisurely breakfast, watching or reading the news. A teacher slips out of the house while it’s still dark, arriving at work while it’s still dark, and begins working before many have even been woken by their alarm. But remember – this is a guide for the partners of teachers. As a partner of a teacher you mustn’t grumble that you were woken up before you had to get up (Pedro gets an extra HOUR in bed after I have left). I would also suggest providing a ‘dressing room’ for the teacher in your life to prevent wardrobe disasters caused by them dressing in the dark. These may include: wearing two similar but ultimately different shoes, various garments on inside out, not realising that black underwear will show through a chosen outfit until you get to the bright unforgiving lights of the school corridors, and a horrific mismatch of colours. (This list is not exhaustive). Furthermore, be forgiving when the teacher in your life elects not to risk the eye-stabbing inevitability of putting on mascara at 6am. And when they fall asleep on the sofa in front of Eastenders, (8pm on Mon and Fri, 7:30pm on Tues and Thurs – yes, I am a little bit of a fan) do not make the obvious mistake of telling them that you are tired…

  1. Illness – or Being a Martyr

Teachers are the absolute worst at being ill. They will struggle bravely on unless full on vomming at regular intervals. The reason for this is simply – teachers LOVE to be a martyr. Below is a list of things you might hear a teacher say when they’re ill:

‘But I can’t possibly miss today…..

it’s my exam class!’

it’s my important meeting!’

it’s my lunchtime club!

And a classic:

‘I’ll have to set all the work anyway – it’s easier to just go in!’

Being at the germ-face of teaching (in contact with over 100 illness ridden children per day) certainly carries its risks – so as a partner of a teacher, NEVER complain of a little sniffle.

  1. Planning, Preparation, Marking

Any partner of a teacher knows the perils of whinging about the amount of work they have to do. In my eyes, if you’re not prepared to put up with the following common occurences, you should maybe rethink being with a teacher:

Endless requests for a ‘volunteer’ (that’s you in case you didn’t realise) to cut things out or feed sheets through a laminator.

Having every TV programme you watch together accompanied by the glow of a laptop screen and the sound of typing.

Picking up the pieces after yet another meltdown over a broken or lost memory stick (yes – I know we should back them up – but how often do people do this really?!)

Planning your weekend around workload – eg ‘I can’t have a late one on Saturday as I’ll have to get up early to mark on Sunday so that we can still go out for lunch…

  1. Observations

The dread of all teachers everywhere. I’ve compiled a list of telltale signs a partner should look out for if an observation is coming up:

  • Stage 1 – denial. You will hear phrases like ‘People can come in anytime to watch my lessons, I won’t be doing anything special just for them anyway.’ Be warned. It is not time to relax yet.
  • Stage 2 – planning. They will spend hours on a lesson plan that is pages and pages long, all the while muttering about how ridiculous it is. Stay. Away. They will also be creating colourful and no doubt laminated resources. Now is not the time to remark ‘I thought you weren’t going to do anything special?’
  • Stage 3 – panic. The teacher will be trying to find an outfit that hides their sweat patches of fear, and then having a breakdown when they realise it is in the wash, and ladder their tights. Be supportive during this difficult time.

5. Holidays

The partner of a teacher must NEVER, EVER commit the atrocity of reamrking on how much holiday they get. This is a cardinal sin, and may result in having a very heavy textbook launched at your head. Similarly, when the teacher is on holiday, do not come back from work and ask why they haven’t done the dishes/washing. Chances are they have been working all day/catching up on episodes of Eastenders they have missed through falling asleep before 8pm…

So there you have it – my guide to all those partners of teachers out there. Do you think I’ve missed anything out?


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