Harriet


Harriet is a primary school teacher in her 30s. Originally from Hampshire, she now lives in northern England and is recently married.
"This is my fifth year of teaching. I'm getting to school at half seven each day, I'm one of the last to leave, and then I'm working until late at home. I try to keep the work at the weekend to just one of the days but I probably do about seventy hours a week in all.

"Five months ago, I got married. My husband works in retail. His hours are fixed and he now doesn't have to work evenings or weekends, so I do feel guilty that, you know, in the evenings, he is waiting around for me to finish up with work. He would never say, "you work too much, we're not seeing enough of each other", but I still feel really guilty. We're obviously still in our honeymoon period and, I mean, it's not great, when you're a newly wed and you're together in the evening and he's watching television and I'm sitting on the laptop - we're not even talking.

"We got married at the May bank holiday weekend, we had Monday off, then it was straight back to work on the Tuesday. I came into school and it was literally like nothing had happened. On the Monday night, I was back at the laptop to get it all ready for the next day.

"Have my priorities changed now? I'm not sure. I know other teachers at school who are married, and they say that they never get to see their husbands. For them, their job is just: go to work, come home, eat dinner, do more work, say goodnight, wake up and repeat. That's not life, really is it? You're just on a conveyor belt.

"But I don't want to leave teaching. When you know that some of the kids don't have a good time at home, you can see in their faces that they are happy to be at school and that's the thing that keeps me going. You are the one making them feel safe and feel secure. It's knowing that you have made a difference - that you've helped - and potentially they might remember that for the rest of their lives."

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