I began my teaching career in 1982. That makes me officially OLD! In the thirty one years since, I have worked exclusively in schools with a boarding element and for all except three of those years, have been a resident member of staff in one role or another.
Does that make me institutionalised? I hope not.
My wife and I were married in late August 1990 and after a 3 day honeymoon, moved in to boarding accommodation as House Parents. Both of our children were “brought home” to the same boarding house (they were both born in term time). Somehow sharing their arrival with 50 boys and girls made a special event even more amazing.
What, I hear you ask, is the relevance of this biographical detail?
It is my experience that many youngsters entering the teaching profession are a little reluctant to be resident, invariably because the “work-life balance” which seems so fundamental these days would be unachievable “living-in”. To my mind, this is a great sadness. As a young house-tutor in a boarding house, we certainly worked hard but we played hard too. My life, in those days, revolved around the local Rugby and Cricket clubs. Careful juggling of duties meant that I could train twice a week and play every three weeks (Rugby) though it did mean being “on” every Friday: in return, I negotiated every Saturday afternoon in the Summer and didn’t miss a league cricket match in 7 years.
Sensible line-managers understand: to get the best out of young staff, they need to have “fun” time. My rose-tinted nostalgic spectacles certainly recall plenty of fun!
More seriously, though, it was fantastic experience for my career (and with free accommodation, laundry and food, a great way of saving provided one didn’t spend every spare penny on beer!) In the modern age, any student loan might be repaid fairly quickly too.
So: to any young teacher who might be concerned about having their life and career ruined by “living-in” as a boarding House tutor, I would suggest giving the matter serious thought before dismissal. I can guarantee you will have to work hard but I would suggest that the advantages in terms of career development and financial saving more than outweigh the negatives, to say nothing of the fact that the pupils are often very good company and appreciate the time you give on their behalf.
And, unless you are desperately unlucky, you will have a great deal of fun too!
Terrington Hall School