The unhealthy addiction of school


You may not have seen this. I have. Many times. People who have become addicted to school.

It is an addiction. It is unhealthy and becomes problematical for those around them. They usually cannot see it. It usually doesn’t end well.

It isn’t to be confused with someone that has lots of work to do and works long hours. Many Head teachers fall into this category but aren’t school addicts.

Possible symptoms of a school addict

  • More time is spent in school (or on school work) than actually needed
  • The person thinks that others that aren’t working the same hours are ‘not working hard enough’
  • The school email web link is the most used webpage from home
  • Emails are sent out of school hours and often late at night/in the morning
  • The person expects emails to be responded to instantly
  • The person expects others to come into school or work at unreasonable times or unreasonable amount of hours
  • Their personal phone has more ‘school’ numbers than others or they spend more time on the phone to school colleagues than non-school people
  • Their personal phone has school emails linked to it and they instantly respond when it ‘pings’ even if with other people around them
  • The person confuses the amount of time spent on school equating to the quality of the work
  • Large parts of school holidays are spent in school/on school work
  • Their home life decisions are dictated to by school life i.e I couldn’t do X at home because Y is happening at school.
  • Relationships out of school suffer (sometimes these people end up having relationships with those who behave in a similar way)
  • If in a leadership role, empathy for other people’s personal situations is lacking
  • If there are others of a similar nature, the behaviour almost becomes competitive.

Why isn’t it healthy?

These people lose perspective. Their behaviour becomes unreasonable and potentially unprofessional. It creates a tense, non-constructive atmosphere with colleagues. Those around will either start to ignore this person or feel things like guilt as they cannot commit to the same way of working.

What to do about it?

Like any addiction they probably need to come to some sort of self realisation. How that comes about I have no idea. It’s probably not a good idea for a colleague who isn’t close to them to point it out as it won’t go down well.


I would love to hear if anyone has had similar experiences and how it has ‘ended’ or what the consequences have been. If you’re sat reading this in school because you’re still working in the holiday, maybe see how many of the above list you can tick…..



5 thoughts on “The unhealthy addiction of school

  1. Very well said – I have been thinking exactly the same thing myself. Especially when looking at the number of people who are continuing to talk about education right through the long break. They will return in September without an ounce of freshness.

    This condition needs to be identified – not that our employers will have any sympathy – they think they have too much to gain from it.

  2. Pingback: Let Go! | teaching personally

  3. What an interesting read! I recognise this in a number of the SLT from my last school – who expected everyone to be like that. As other people have commented, I started to tick off some of those from my list. I got out of it, by moving schools and reducing my responsibility. It’s LOVELY!! No school addicts at my new place! and certainly not ones that want to draw you into your addiction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s