No matter what school you teach at, what year groups you have, what subject you teach, there are some things that are true for every teacher in the holidays. How many of these half-truths have you told yourself?
The Half –Truth: This is the holiday that you will avoid being poorly in the first few days.
You know it happens every time: the bell rings to signal the holidays and suddenly the cold/sickness bug/exhaustion you’ve been avoiding these last couple of weeks hits you with vengeance. This time, you are going to take cold relief tablets in pre-emptive strike, sterilise your hands every 20 minutes or have a few early nights in the run up to the holidays to make sure you are fit and well, and ready to enjoy it!
Despite doing all of the above, you will still find yourself fighting the lurgy over the first few days of the holiday. Accept it – it’s inevitable!
The Half-Truth: You will tackle your marking and planning at the start of the holiday, not leave it until the weekend before.
A bit like your students (or maybe not…), you can find yourself frantically working on the Sunday before you start back at school after the holidays have swept by in a whirlwind of relaxation, fun and adventure. Before you know it, you are facing a cliff of marking and the clock is ticking past 10pm on the night before school.
With all the best intentions and feeling heroic and smug, you might do some work on the first weekend of the holidays, but obviously you’ll be suffering from that pesky cold/sickness bug/exhaustion. Then suddenly, you’ll find yourself frantically working on the Sunday before you start back at school after the holidays have swept by in a whirlwind of relaxation, fun and adventure…
The Half-Truth: You will make time to meet up with friends that you haven’t seen over the last half term.
It’s been a long and busy term, so there is nothing for it but to book in a lovely catch up and cup of tea with a friend, perhaps with a cheeky cake or afternoon tea thrown in. You can put the world to rights and enjoy some adult time, just like all those other adults who don’t work in schools do every week.
First of all, if your friend is also a fellow teacher, you’ll have to rearrange due to them having the cold/sickness bug/exhaustion. You’ll promise to rearrange, but the week that stretched ahead before you as the bell rang suddenly seems to shrink around the myriad of tasks you have to squeeze in – catch up with washing and ironing, visit parents or relations, a day out with your own family… where has all the spare time gone?
The Half-Truth: You will spend your days exploring, visiting new places and widening your mind.
During brief moments of rest on your lunch break prior to the holidays, you’ll have a scroll through Facebook and see a lovely country pub that would be amazing to visit on your time off or perhaps you’ll imagine yourself out for the day exploring a tourist attraction or hunting around an antique bookshop… The possibilities are endless.
You forgot that because you are off school, that also means that other schools are too, so everywhere is busy, and you can guarantee wherever you go, whatever you do, you will see some ‘cherubs’ from school. As for widening your mind, does binge-watching that boxset you’ve been wanting to see for ages count?
The Half-Truth: You won’t miss school.
As soon as the bell rings, you expect to trot out of your classroom without a second glance, finally able to take a break from marking, planning and students who frustrate you. You’ll sleep soundly and wake feeling refreshed and you’ll enjoy not thinking about the texts you are teaching or the students who are struggling.
As lovely as a break is to rest and rejuvenate, being a teacher doesn’t end when the bell rings. You’ll use the extra time you have to ponder over a new lesson idea that you want to try; you’ll think about that student who you know has a tough home life and worry how they are getting on; you’ll spend some time planning an awesome display to brighten up your classroom. You don’t stop being a teacher for that time; being a teacher means that holidays are the time to get yourself some rest and prepare yourself physically and mentally for the coming half term, ready to smash it all over again.
And that’s the real teaching truth.