Firstly, let me make it really clear that I am talking about ‘with a teacher who is your life partner’ here. Not just any old random teacher. That would definitely be weird. Also, if you are still at school, having a child with your teacher is not going to end well, for any of you. Definitely don’t do that either.
But. Say you are in a loving, committed and consensual adult relationship. And your partner is a teacher. You’re happy together, you have lots in common, you’ve accepted that you’ll never go on a cheap term-time holiday again. In short, you’re starting to think about taking the next step and reproduce. Should you do it?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present the pros and cons of having children with a teacher.
- The ‘your job probably is harder than mine’. There’s that thing where you’ve been at home with the kids all day and they have been hard work. You haven’t had a minute to sit down, or eat anything, or even go to the loo. And then your partner walks through the door and you can justifiably disappear somewhere leaving the children to him (or her) because he/she has at least had time for a hot drink and a wee during their working day. Except your partner is a teacher, so you know they haven’t. Instead of being run ragged by 2 toddlers, try the same but with 300 Year 11s. I mean, you still disappear the minute they walk in the door but you can’t help feeling guilty about it too.
- The workload. If your partner is a teacher, they will bring work home. They will stay up late working leaving you feeling you have no option but to take the early shift with the kids and require you to entertain the children at weekends while they ‘just get this done’. Bean1’s earliest sentence was ‘I busy working.’ Both Beans’ roleplay regularly consists of one of them disappearing into a corner looking grumpy and saying ‘I just need to get this finished.’ or ‘Shhhh! I’m working!’. And you won’t be able to complain (much) about it because it is all stuff that just has to be done.
- Timing is everything. Prepare to be ruled by the roller coaster that is the academic year. The bright eyed optimism of September (This year I will keep on top of my marking. This will be the year I really make a difference.). The long hard slog through the winter (is that a holiday I see approaching? Will I ever see daylight again?). The frenzy and despair of exam season (I taught them this. Five times. Why don’t any of them remember?!). The descent into madness that is the summer term (so tonight is the play, right? No, that’s tomorrow. It’s sports day today. And don’t forget next week is parents’ evening and there’s colleague A’s leaving do on Wednesday and colleague B’s on Friday. Plus the school fete, the leavers’ assembly and the disco. Ok, got it. When was the play again?). Then, finally, the joy of six weeks of holiday stretching ahead; just don’t forget to account for the depression of the last two weeks as your teacher partner realises the holidays are nearly over and they haven’t yet started on their to-do list.
- The holidays. Now, this is usually sold as one of the biggest plus points of a teaching career. 13 whole weeks of holiday every year. I’m actually pretty certain MrHSS only chose to retrain as a teacher because he got fed up of seeing me lounging around in the holidays while he still had to go to work in his IT job. When you have a child with a teacher though, what this actually means is you need to be prepared to have your lovely, organised routine thoroughly disrupted for 13 weeks a year with someone else loitering around the house. Plus they are on ‘holiday’, after all, so help may not always be as forthcoming as you might like. Oh, and there’ll still be some of that work to get done just when you think you might be able to enjoy some fun family days out.
- Other people’s children have to take priority. It’s sad, but true. If other people’s children are the reason you’re being paid a salary, there are plenty of times that other people’s children will have to take priority. Don’t expect your partner to make sports days or school assemblies for your own kids – they’ll be too tied up organising them for other people’s. Worrying about other children will keep your partner up at night just as much as your own kids do, and there will be times when you feel you spend longer discussing Kyle from 7G than you do your own children.
- Money. Or lack of. Plenty of other jobs pay worse. I’m not denying that. But teaching is hardly going to make you millionaires. Plus there’s the fact that most teachers can’t resisit supplementing meagre school budgets with resources bought from their own money – so don’t expect a whole load of disposable income.
- The holidays. Yes, they make the pros list too. There’s no need to scrabble around trying to organise holiday childcare if your partner teaches – they can do it. And you will get more family time than someone with only 4 weeks holiday a year – that’s precious.
- Teacher on tap. Have no worries, your child will be school ready. The teacher in your partner won’t be able to resist a little 3 part lesson planning to fill any gaps they spot with a little AfL on your beloved offspring. Not only that, but you will have more experience than most to enable you to successfully navigate the minefield that is school life – not to mention some valuable perspective on a teacher’s role and what is really reasonable to expect of school.
- Resources. Need an obscure prop for the World Book Day costume you’ve lovingly been crafting for your child? There’s probably one kicking around at your partner’s school you can borrow. Not to mention classrooms make fantastic playgrounds for preschoolers if they do need to tag along on a little holiday working trip.
- Home for bedtime. Teachers definitely DON’T only work 9-3. However, the parts of their job which have to be done at their place of work are over by about 4 most evenings. Which means they can usually get away and join in the chaos of bath and bed before settling down to work again once the kids are in bed.
- Stickers and stationery. Teachers have all the cool types. These little beauties will keep your children entertained for hours.
- Because you love them. And really, this is the only reason you need. If your partner is a teacher, you already know the downsides. You know about the long working hours and the hectic times of year and the restrictions of school holidays. But you also know about your partner’s passion and drive and enthusiasm and kindness. And that’s why you love them, and why you want to have a baby with them. So do it. It will be totally worth it.