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  • Writer's pictureolivershearman

School holidays a.k.a recovery time.

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

"Wow! You get so much time-off, you are so lucky." Says the non-teacher to the teacher. Of course, it is a bit challenging to explain to non-teachers that while we do indeed tend to get more time-off than a typical office worker, we don’t get to pick when we have it and that has a profound effect on our quality of time-off. This can be especially difficult when life throws personal troubles our way, such as illness, family needs or unexpected hardships during the school year. Yet, we need it, we need the time off to take care of ourselves and be ready to do it all again the next year.



I, like many other teachers, embrace the wonder of the long summer break for school holidays. They are needed and wanted and longed for in the final months of the usual school year, building up around April, May and June.


Positives


Some of the pros of school holidays are indeed the length which is rather obvious, being given many weeks in a row off allows for adventuring, forward planning and taking care of big jobs we have been putting off. Further, the time of the year with warm weather and calm days are great.


The length of time we get off is important too. The many weeks in a row allow for relaxation, planning and idea generation for the next year, reflection on how we want to improve and even material making. It is all part of the teaching process to use the time we are given even when we are ‘off’ as seen from the outside. The truth is as a teacher you are never really off completely, we are almost always thinking in the back of our minds about how to improve our lessons, fun ways to engage students and creative methods of connecting the real world with our content in the class.


Reflecting further, on the holidays, they are good for the students too, since they need a break to help them out and get them refreshed and ready to come back to school with a positive attitude and energy to learn.


Negatives


As mentioned earlier, not being able to choose our time-off is an issue we can’t avoid, this couples together with higher prices for the summer time and busy locations no matter where we travel to. The peak holiday travel is an unfortunate and expensive side-effect of our profession and the schedule that we are stuck with.


As I mentioned above in the positives, to truly be a teacher is to almost always have a running loop in the back of your mind about improvement and iteration. It means that our down-time is rarely complete down-time and even as I write this, I have been making products to share with others and hopefully improve their teaching practice during what is supposed to be my relaxing break time. So an extended period of time, truly is needed to unwind whenever possible and that is part of the negatives of this profession. A typical office job can be 9-5 alone and that is truly it. For a teacher, we do a lot more and think about the job a lot more than 9-5, or 8-5 or 8-6 or 6 days a week or however much extra we are doing to try and be better for our students.


Summary


The next time someone asks you about time-off for teachers, you can relate some of these items and reasons above and share the good word about why teachers need the summer break that we so desperately crave. It is not because we want it that it should be done, but that we need it instead.


Thanks for reading.

Cheers and stay curious


Oliver - The Teaching Astrophysicist


(Note: This blog post was NOT generated by AI and is conceived, typed and uploaded by a real person.)


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