This should be an easy list to draw up…
- Breaking up for first half term.
- Breaking up for Christmas.
- Breaking up for second half term.
- Breaking up for Easter.
- Breaking up for third half term.
- Breaking up for summer.
Tempting as it is to organise the high points around the holidays (which, there’s no denying, do bring much-needed injections of happiness to a teacher’s life), there are other zeniths that make us feel even warmer and fuzzy than a few days off. In truth, the best moments can pop up unforeseen at any time, but here are some of the staple highlights…
The week before Christmas
The build-up is often better than the real thing. Even with a senior leadership embargo on festive films and taking your foot of the pedal, the season of goodwill manages to imbue the halls (decked with holly or not) so that the final days before Yuletide can’t help but feel joyful.
The school production
The stressed-out drama teachers at the helm might only acquiesce to this one come closing night; for the rest of the workforce, it’s invariably a pleasure to watch a motley collection of bright-eyed teens strut their stuff on the stage. Hell, they should make a film of it! The testosterone-fuelled equivalent would be watching a bunch of ragamuffins achieving sporting glory. Sports day doesn’t count, that’s a logistical nightmare for everyone concerned – I’m talking US-style school pride as the football/rugby/netball/hockey/cricket team conquer their local rivals in a fiercely fought trophy-match. And there’s the script for the next school production…
Perhaps not obviously joyful, the morning of that final exam can be intense than the pre-match nerves on cup final day. But – here comes the pep talk – think of everything you’ve put into getting here; this is the accumulation of five (or, in the case of A Levels, seven) years’ hard work. When papers are collected, the emotional release is incomparable. Win, lose or draw, you’ve given it all you can. We’re not sure if the two-month delay before getting the actual results is good or bad. Results day itself can be euphoric but it can also be wretched; at least until then you can believe that everyone’s aced it, the only low points being when the blasted exam board throws in curve-ball questions that nobody prepared for.
A debatable one, this. Prom is some teacher’s idea of hell – trouble waiting to happen in Topman suits and wannabe wedding dresses. For others, it’s all the unbottled relief of exam day in a social setting. Then again, it’s the unbottling and social setting that makes some of us fretful! If nothing else, it’s a night on which memories are made.
First lessons with new classes
As with Christmas, anticipation is everything. And no matter how well or how badly it went with the previous cohort, the buzz to be got from making a fresh start is compelling. The upshot of accelerated time, when you take on next year’s classes in the final weeks of the current year, has the power to make or break our final best moment…
No explanation needed except to say, you’ve earned it.
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