So you are going to marry a school teacher?
Just because you went to school doesn’t mean you really understand what the love of your life does every day when they go to work. Here’s some helpful points for you to understand before you take the plunge…
- Holidays (part 1)- This has to be number one because it features very highly in any “teachers have it easy” debates, and it’s also one of the most misunderstood aspects of teaching. You will now have to take all of your holidays during school holiday time and this presents a range of new challenges for you. The greatest of these is cost, everything will cost a whole lot more now that you have to travel during peak periods. Because your significant other doesn’t have a choice of when they can take their holidays, neither do you. Start saving!
- Holidays (part 2)– You will now get to spend your holidays surrounded by lots of children that don’t belong to you. This normally wouldn’t appear to be too much of a problem, but for some reason children can locate a teacher with great accuracy. Considering your significant other is a teacher, we can assume that they really like children, and they will spend some of their holiday talking with children you have no connection with. They will attract children like a big ball of free fairy floss, and they give these children some of their holiday time because that’s what they do. Good luck!
- Preparation– you know how everyone says teachers have it easy and they work 9am-3pm? Lies. You will witness your partner preparing lessons, making resources, laminating, researching, marking, writing reports, pinteresting, laminating, cutting out, pasting in, shopping for resources, and laminating. This will all take place in their own time, so essentially it will cut into your together time. When teachers are in the classroom they are teaching, so all the essential things that need to be done will happen on weekends and most nights of the week. Sorry!
- More out of hours stuff– eventually you will learn to stop asking why your partner spends so much time out of school hours doing school based things, you will just accept that teaching really is a vocation and understand that devoting so much of their own time to their profession is just part of what they do. All of their paperwork occurs in their own time, this includes reading and responding to emails, recording data and results and filling out questionnaires about students. There will be staff meetings- these can occur before school and after school and occur more often than seems necessary. There’ll be parent meetings, special assemblies, award ceremonies, information nights, excursions, overnight excursions (warning: your partner will not sleep on these), training sessions, planning meetings, grade meetings, sport committees, fundraising committees and if they are a teacher in a religious school there’ll be a whole range of sacramental meetings, Masses and liturgies that they’ll attend, too. You’ll learn to schedule everything!
- You will become their assistant, it’s inevitable. You will learn how to laminate, cut out, paste in and sort like a machine. When your partner needs to move classrooms, you will probably get roped in as a free removalist. Start training!
- You will be married to a hoarder. There are different levels of teacher hoarding, but it’s safe to say that it will be a given. Teachers spend so much time finding, making and looking after resources, they don’t throw them away easily. It’s best just to build an extension on your house to keep the best resources they have, which will pretty much be everything they have ever owned. It’s best not to ask if they need things, they do. Start building!
- You will wonder where all of their money goes. They will spend their own money buying resources, books, programs, rewards, stickers and food for their classroom. Please don’t ask why they have to use their own money to do it, there is no other option so they just do it. Keep the receipts!
- They will accidentally speak to you like you are a child. Cringe! This is definitely not planned, it’s just habit. It shouldn’t happen all the time, but one day you will witness their “teacher voice”. I’ll apologise on behalf of all teachers now, and trust me when I say you will know their teacher voice when you hear it. They mean business!
- You will need to be a good listener. Teachers witness all sorts, both happy and sad, everyday in that classroom. You will need to be their support, because there simply isn’t enough of that in teaching. Your partner will debrief, cry, laugh, tell hilarious stories about their students, and fall apart more often than you can anticipate. You will need to listen!
After all of this, you will become the greatest advocate of the teaching profession (even if you don’t think you will be yet, you will). Having witnessed how much your partner devotes to the children in their care, to the school they belong to, the community they work in and to the vocation of teaching, you wont tolerate ignorance and misunderstanding towards teaching again. You will always question why they work so hard, but you will stop asking if it’s really necessary for them to work so many extra hours and to take on so much, because they will do it anyway.
You may even start to resent teaching, the time it takes away from your family and the stress it brings to your partner, but you will learn to live with it. You will laugh along with the stories, you will share the excitement and joy that teaching can bring- students overcoming learning challenges, communities coming together, meeting your partner’s student at a shopping centre and hearing them say that your partner is the best teacher they’ve ever had will help you understand why teachers do what they do.
So buckle up and get ready for the ride.
It will all be worth it, trust me.