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The Lonely Teacher

Does your whole teaching day go by without any other adult connection? Samantha has had those days and stresses that it's important not to feel lonely. 

The secret loneliness of teaching is often left unspoken and rarely acknowledged even by the lonely teachers themselves because we don't realise that it is or can be a isolated profession. For example, have you spent a day where you have gone into school and into the office or classroom perhaps a nod and mindless hello to a colleague but not a real human connection if any. Then a day of back to back classes, students of course are always around but they do not resolve the lonely aspect, break time is spent photocopying or quickly eating whilst overseeing a detention, more lessons fly by and perhaps an after school study club or another detention before you slink back into the car train or bicycle seat and arrive home to an empty house.

This is the day of the lonely teacher.

Firstly of course we talk to students but it is a teacher to student conversation and is not the same as another adult. Also many teachers will teach on autopilot without really taking in the students as people. This sounds bad but a five lesson day with different classes of a lesson you have taught before will disappear without a memory.

So you arrive home and realise that you have spent your day without any other human connections beyond the students. You eat some food and maybe a glass of wine (or three) before getting an early night just to do it all over again tomorrow. This is the life of the lonely teacher and I know almost every teacher will say that at some point or in some school they felt this way.

The cure to this is to seek out other human contact, search for a buddy in the canteen or staff room. Talk to the teacher in the neighbouring classroom or arrive to the meeting first and have a gossip with the school secretary. Any way you can catch that five minute conversation will lead to a less lonely teaching experience.

The same applies for supply teachers, you walk into a new school and speak to a body in the office, you find your classroom and where to make tea but that might be it for the day. A quick 'How was it?' and a signing of the timesheet might happen but thats it.

If we compare this to an office environment, retail or other caring professions then the genuine adult connections are higher in any one of these. I mean talking to people that know what you did on the weekend, how your families health is and that your neighbours alarm clock noise is really loud and annoying because you talk. You talk daily and this tends to lead to a friendship or at least a connection.

I'm not saying that all teachers are lonely but just that it can be a lonelier profession than many think it is. The best cure is drinks on a Friday evening with all the other teachers - you will feel pretty connected two drinks in!

At Protocol Education, we understand that one can often feel lonely as a supply teacher. This is why we aim to run regular events and have a strong online community on Facebook. If you have an idea for us to extend our community email Megan ( with your ideas.  

Tags: Samantha, Bromley, Secondary, drama, supply, teacher

Category: Australian Teachers

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