Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

My Colleagues Hate Me

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

My Colleagues Hate Me

Article excerpt

I don't think some of my younger colleagues like me any more. It's been at the back of my mind for a while, but now, as they slog their way to the end of a long year, it's becoming more obvious. Their morning greetings no longer have any sincerity about them and I suspect those weary smiles are little more than gestures to cover up their true feelings.

Their antipathy is born of jealousy. You see, until recently, I was just like them, my enthusiasm for teaching slowly sucked out of me as I was forced to slave long hours at the conveyor belt of mass-produced learning. A conscript in the battle to hothouse students to that pale, standardised uniformity demanded by the education factory's quality-control team.

Then I discovered the Holy Grail of classroom survival - the one sure way to make teaching manageable. Against all the odds, I did what some of my younger colleagues might never achieve in their teaching lives: I found a work-life balance.

The solution turned out to be a simple one: part-time teaching. And although it comes at a heavy price (two-fifths of my salary), it is a price worth paying. I might not be able to afford a new car these days, but I can at least afford to smile.

Mind you, smiling in the presence of those needing to work full-time to service huge mortgages and spiralling living costs doesn't necessarily make you popular.

I know what they're saying about me behind my back. "It's all right for that decrepit old codger, swanning in on a Wednesday morning after his four-day weekend. …

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