You hear all sorts of trash talk about teachers and their 13 weeks off, their 9 until 3 job, working only 5 days a week! As we begin the 2 weeks Christmas Holidays, I thought I would share some of the things we actually do in the holidays and maybe dispel a myth or two in a lighthearted way.
1. Drink Wine/Gin/Tipple of Choice
I thought I would put this first since it’s the first thing most teachers do when a holiday arrives. You’ve just finished an 8 week half term, you’re tired, the kids are tired and it’s finally time to spend with friends and colleagues without the shop talk!
2. Spend time with family
Contrary to popular belief, this busy Christmas period at school means you often don’t see as much of your family as you wish to, so kudos teacher pals! Enjoy spending time with your families!
3. Cleaning your home
I daren’t show you mine although it would prove my point! Weekends generally are catch up time for me to clean my house and as soon as the holidays hit, I am in cleaning mode and it’s actually what I’ll be doing this morning.
4. Worrying/thinking about the children they teach
In our 9-3 jobs (sense the tone, people!) it must be so easy for us to go home and get on with our lives but in actuality, that team of littlies you teach become really important to you. So I can guarantee there is a teacher somewhere wondering if one of the children she teaches will get breakfast this morning, will they speak to another person today or will they get a gift from Santa?
5. Get over colds/flu/viruses
Think I’m joking! In your first year as a teacher you will get everything known to man but in fairness, this is actually character building 😂 because as you go through the years you manage to suppress the majority of minor ailments.
However, there is something we have called endoftermitis and it’s very serious indeed. What basically happens is the moment a teacher breaks up from school, they relax a little and their immune system thinks “ahh! My time to shine!” Meaning within days of the holidays beginning, many teachers have the lurgy! I, myself, am just getting over a pretty crumby cold that knocked me over solidly for a week!
6. Think about school
We might not be there, we might be trying not to think about it but it’s impossible. It takes over your life! For example, we had our staff night out and end of term drinks last night and I was busy looking for musicals primary age children could perform. Why? It’s my time.
Because the children and the chances that have mean a lot to you. I’ve said it before – teaching is a definite vocation and it takes over your life.
7. Do an actual food shop instead of ordering online.
You’ve been in school since 7.30am, you had a faculty meeting until 5pm and after the traffic settled, you’re finally home at 5.30pm. You haven’t yet seen family, you haven’t started making dinner for everyone but yet, you need to go food shopping. Listen honey, no one has got time for that! Most teachers I know shop online for sheer convenience and to make the most of the time they do have with their loved ones but in the holidays, some of us prefer the human touch!
I know I don’t speak for all teachers but personally as soon as 27th December hits, I’m back in the game so that I can have some evenings and weekends where I don’t need to work during term time. You have to try to get ahead to get a good work life balance when you go back.
And before I go…
- I’m not complaining about anything I do – I love teaching and if I didn’t, I’d simply leave.
- Teachers don’t work 9-3. Personally I work 50 hours a week including the small amount of travel time to work. That 50hr figure does not include the work I do at home either. I know many who work in excess of 60 hours.
- Yes, we get 13 weeks off and people moan that we’re off again! We need a small break every so often but many teachers will tell you, they work during the holidays! The holidays are honestly more for the children who are exhausted after 7 and 8 week terms.
I make this next point in all seriousness. For those who think we have it easy, I implore you to do our jobs for a day. If it were so easy then everyone would do it and there wouldn’t be a retention issue in the sector.
Anywho, I’m glad I wrote this! Hopefully it will open some eyes 👀 I am off to enjoy Christmas 🎄