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How to Date a Teacher: Be a Supportive Partner!!!

How to Date a Teacher: Be a Supportive Partner!!!


A teacher recently shared that she has a partner who just doesn’t get what teachers go through in a day, and this disconnect puts enormous stress on the relationship. Part of why I wrote my first book was so that I would stop ranting all the time (mainly to my husband) and have all of my complaints and outrageous stories in one place. It’s also why I have the Teacher Misery Instagram account!

But my partner knows that he must listen to me rant for at least a half hour every day after school, and he must react with an appropriate amount of shock and outrage for me to move on to other topics. If not, I’d probably be divorced and living alone in a shed with way too many dogs.

Believe it or not, marriages where spouses of teachers lack empathy for how difficult the job is seem to end in divorce a good amount of the time. When you spend your day getting emotionally and sometimes physically abused and heavily micromanaged, then you come home to someone who laughs it off or tells you to have the kids do some coloring, it can cause extreme rage and ongoing resentment.

I asked my followers about their experiences with unsupportive partners and family and received over a thousand responses.

They Think It’s Babysitting

  • My now ex-husband told me, during the pandemic, “It’s a good thing you don’t have a real job”.
  • I was stressing about the night before the first day of school, and my ex said, “What’s the big deal? Just put out some coloring. They’re six.”
  • My ex thought that I was just a babysitter. When financial topics were brought up, he made a point to let me know of his lack of respect for the profession on multiple accounts. He got a job as a corporate trainer, and I did all of his lesson plans. When we got divorced, and he didn’t have me to do his job for him, he got fired. Hehehehehehe.
  • My ex-husband used to tell me I didn’t have a “real job” and that I didn’t know what it was like to work in the “real world.”
  • My EX fiancé used to say I didn’t want a real job and just wanted to play all day.

They Always Bring Up Summers Off

  • My future spouse has gotten better, but he used to (and occasionally still lets it slip) say, “at least you have summers, unlike the rest of us.” My own parents echo that very sentiment.
  • Every time I tell my husband how ready I am to quit and try a different career, he says, “Why would you ever quit teaching? All you do is sit there, AND you get the whole summer off.”
  • I teach high school history, and I show a film on OCCASION, like once every 12 weeks. Husband says, “How is it hard you just show movies.” And of course, “you’re off three months in the summer”….I gave up correcting that one.
  • If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “You’re a seasonal employee,” I’d have more than I make teaching.
  • My husband would always say, “You’re off all summer. You can’t complain.” But after this pandemic, he’s a bit more understanding after seeing what I’ve gone through as a school nurse.

They Think It Seems Easy

  • My EX used to say, “You teach the same thing every year, so why do you still have to write lesson plans? Just do what you did last time.”
  • My husband and I will argue over who gets to say they are tired after work. His “work day” today included getting lunch with friends and playing 9 holes of golf. Meanwhile, I left the house at 6:15 am and hit the ground running. We’re out of subs, so I had to cover classes during my planning period, worked through lunch, and had a ZOOM parent conference. Who would be more tired?
  • My husband used to think he understood because he was a substitute teacher in 2005-2006, and “all you have to do is have stories to hold their attention.”
  • I constantly get told how “low energy” I am and how I fall asleep really early, which of course is because I “am not making the effort to spend time with him, and that I’m a shitty wife,” not because I teach 45 children aged 3-5 every day for 8 hours straight and literally have no energy left. How selfish of me.
  • My partner says I have a “nice little job.” She has specifically told me she doesn’t want to hear about my job, and if I tell teacher stories at family events, I get the stink eye or told that no one wants to hear it.
  • My ex-boyfriend would tell me he didn’t understand how I was so busy when I had a normal M-F job like everyone else. He would tell me lesson plans aren’t hard because teaching kindergarten is just giving the kids toys to play with all day. He would get annoyed if I asked for help with stapling things. Eventually, he told me to choose between him and my students. I chose my students.

They Think You Only Work for 7 Hours a Day

  • I used to date a guy who would constantly tell me that my job was part-time because the school day ended at 2:20. He didn’t understand how much of our actual work was done after 2:20.
  • I left my husband because of how much he complained about my teaching job. He didn’t understand why I never left my classroom until 5 or 6 and would get home after his preferred dinner time.
  • My husband often implies that my job is cushy because I technically get off at 3:15 and don’t have regular hours in June or July.
  • My husband makes 3x what I make with a high school diploma. I have a Masters. I get the “part-time” comment a lot. Also, there are comments about summers off, holidays, and snow days.

They’re Just Clueless

  • My husband has no way of understanding. He’s a physician who can make more in an hour than I can in a month, and with complete reverence for his work. But at least he thinks we should be treated like doctors and lawyers.
  • My husband is also a teacher but doesn’t understand the major differences between his rights as a general education teacher when it comes to student behavior and mine, being a special education teacher in a self-contained program. The first few years of me coming home with stories of being scratched, cussed out, hit, etc., were difficult as I dealt with the stress of the situation as well as having to explain to my husband why the student(s) wouldn’t be suspended or expelled.
  • This is a big reason my ex-husband is my ex. He often overstepped and would be offended if I didn’t use his “expertise.” I teach elementary music. I am classically trained and EC-12 certified, while he has zero professional training. He was not understanding or supportive at all when I was going through a tough time. I was blessed the divorce went through three weeks before COVID hit because being with him during that and beyond would’ve been even worse.
  • Eleven years ago, I had the most challenging year of my 20-year career. That year, my then-husband (we are divorced now) told me I couldn’t talk about work anymore. He was tired of me venting about things for which there was no help. To this day, I don’t easily share about my workday. My fiancé will ask, and I will say, “Fine” or, “ok,” but I know this is what I have trained myself to do from my previous relationship, and I need to try to untrain myself. It’s not easy, though.
  • My boyfriend doesn’t understand that I just want a few minutes of peace and QUIET when I get home from work because I just cannot deal with more noise after a day with high schoolers.
  • I’ll tell my partner about how stressful my day is, and they will complain about how boring their day at work is, and they wish they had such an exciting job. I’d kill for a boring day as a teacher.
  • My husband is extremely political and loves to tell me how many teachers add to the problem and that the teachers’ union is corrupt. It makes me unbelievably livid.
  • My soon-to-be ex-wife texted me to come home during a counseling session for students who lost a classmate. When I got home, she announced that since I didn’t teach the student who passed away, I really didn’t have any emotional connection to the student and their classmates. One of her reasons for divorcing me was my low pay.
  • My stressful first teaching job and my husband’s lack of understanding of the stress led to the implosion of my formerly happy. He didn’t get the workload or stress caused by teaching.
  • It took me going to the ER, with what I thought was a heart attack, for him to get why I was sobbing all the time finally.
  • After 14 years together, mine still 100% believes we can just open the textbook and teach from it, and that’s all there is to teaching!
  • My husband sells insurance to educators and comes from a family of educators, so he would always act like he knows what being in the classroom is like. This year was the worst year for me yet, on top of being pregnant. The student behaviors have been horrible. I had a student who was much bigger than me push me when I was 6 months pregnant because I asked her why she was 20 minutes late to my class. At first, my husband thought I was being dramatic because of the hormones. Now that he has been in schools talking to other educators, he is urging me not to go back now that I had our daughter.
  • My husband works in healthcare (urgent care physician assistant), and his job is very stressful, and his hours are long. But every time I vent, he tries to compare it to being in a room with one patient at a time. JUST. NOT. THE. SAME. And he actually thinks that my admin is going to protect me from the lunatic kid in one of my classes who threatens my sanity and safety daily. No, dear, it’s easier to replace me than settle the lawsuit his parents will file (they have a track record). Oh, and he thinks I should just backhand the kid (and we circle back to the lawsuit.)
  • My husband didn’t understand why the job was so stressful until I was begging him to have me hospitalized because I started fantasizing about dying so I wouldn’t have to go to work. He understood after that.

They Give the Worst Advice

  • When I rant, he likes to say, “At least you don’t have kids at home,” or “You weren’t hard enough on your rules, so that’s why you are having this issue.” It boils my blood.
  • My husband’s response to everything related to school is to tell them to F off.
  • Things my ex said included, “You don’t try hard enough. I don’t want to hear about your kids. You can leave halfway through the year. I’ve done it with MY job (mechanic). Take a day off if you’re so stressed. You need to get a job over the summer (despite being on a continuing contract and getting paid for those months). There’s a reason why he’s my ex now.
  • My spouse encourages me to change careers because he knows how terribly we’re treated. It’s helpful, but not really because I don’t want to leave.
  • “You don’t need to lesson plan. Just show a movie!”
  • My husband tells me if I don’t like the way things are, I should just run for superintendent.
  • After expressing some of my stress, my straight-faced husband said, “Why don’t you, like, do less?”

But Some DO Get It!

  • As a male teacher who worked for 10 years in construction, I can say firsthand that most males can’t comprehend the fact that a day of teaching can leave you just as exhausted as a day of hard manual labor. There are other factors, but that’s the crux of the issue when it comes to husbands not getting it. That and pseudo-alpha-male posturing, but let’s not go there right now.
  • My husband had no idea. Then he became a teacher. He gets it now.
  • After having a very unsupportive partner, I met an amazing guy who has listened and held me as I cried about admin and my job, helps out when he can, has eaten dinner with me at my classroom because he knew I was busy and wanted us to spend time together, allows me to do lesson plans and Google slides at his house. At the same time, he cooks and makes sure I’m taken care of.
  • My husband is a former teacher, so he has fully understood and supported me. I appreciate him immensely.
  • My husband is very supportive! He worked in law enforcement for over 30 years, and when he retired and helped me on the first day of kindergarten, he said that teaching was MUCH harder than his job!
  • My husband and I have an unspoken deal: I’ll try to stick this out four more years until retirement, and he will take almost everything off my plate. His job is much less stressful with great hours, so it works out.
  • Bless my husband for the rants he willingly sits and listens to. When I get home, he knows I just need to sit silently. He’s in the wine business, thank god.
  • Thank GOD my husband used to be a teacher. He lasted 1 year.

If You Have an Unsupportive Spouse, Here’s What You Can Do

  • What do you do if you are with someone who doesn’t get it? Some would say leave them. It’s not a good sign that they have empathy and compassion if they can’t at least listen to your experiences without passing judgment.
  • Another option would be to have them read my books or listen to the audiobook or podcast! As I said, I wrote them so that I would have a place to put all of the negativity to share with anyone who just couldn’t believe the reality of what I was saying.
  • Perhaps you can make a deal with your partner that you will have a certain time every day to vent, and then you’ll let it go. Make sure they understand that you are not looking for advice or any kind of “fix” for the situation. You just need an empathetic ear that truly listens and cares about the intensity of your day.
  • Lastly, you can always come over to Teacher Misery to vent your frustrations to a large community that really gets it!

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Jane Morris

Jane Morris is the pen name of an ex-teacher who would really like to tell you more about herself but is worried awful administrators will come after her for spilling their dirty little secrets. Jane has taught English for over 15 years in a major American city. She received her B.A. in English and Secondary Education from a well-known university and her M.A. in Writing and Literature from an even fancier (and more expensive) university. As a professional queen of commiseration turned published author, Jane’s foremost passion in life is to make people laugh through the tears.

She has written several highly acclaimed books unpacking the reality of teaching and life inside the school system. You can view her full library of works here.