22 July 2021, The Tablet

Chop and change

Chop and change

Hey, teacher ... Lucy Kellaway
Photo: Alamy, Jeff Gilbert


Re-educated: How I Changed My Job, My Home, My Husband and My Hair
(EBURY PRESS, 256 PP, £16.99)
Tablet bookshop price £15.29 • tel 020 7799 4064

This book is the story of how, in her late fifties, Lucy Kellaway walked out on her husband of 25 years and gave up a successful career in journalism in order to retrain as a teacher: “House, marriage, job, considerable income – I dispatched the lot of them.” She has since co-founded a charity, Now Teach, to encourage other middle-aged professionals to become teachers too – but this account of her first two years in the job will send many potential recruits running for the hills.

The book’s opening chapters have a ring of Joanna Trollope, as Kellaway recounts how a comfortable middle-class life became cursed by disenchantment. She was a mother of four (her husband was David Goodhart, the founder of Prospect magazine), and the family home was a large house in Highbury. She had worked for 32 years as a reporter and columnist at the Financial Times. Her existence was “a model of stability” – which started to unsettle her. “I had spent my entire life without taking any difficult decisions at all.”

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