The average UK teacher works a 50 hour week, rising to 60 hours if you’re a school leader, and both probably end every week feeling like they haven’t ever quite got on top of their to-do list! Times that by 38 weeks and it’s suddenly pretty obvious why you’re so tired.
Embrace every day of your break and “fill up the well” so that when you return in September, you are your most hopeful, courageous and rested self.
Be more Finnish
In Timothy D Walker’s book Teach Like Finland: 33 strategies for joyful classrooms, he describes how the Finns “work to live” rather than “living to work”. One way this is evident is that their holidays and weekends aren’t spent working or worrying about work. Instead, they spend time away from work pursuing hobbies and other interests. In other words, they know how to fully switch off from work.
This summer be more like your Finnish counterparts and fully embrace the holidays by letting go of teacher guilt – there really isn’t anything you have to do before school goes back. Set aside big chunks of time to do the things that bring you joy and spend as much time as you can with your family and friends.
Let’s get holiday ready
1. Create your holiday wish list
Spend some time thinking about how you’re going to spend your break. What things do you want to do? Who do you want to see? Be specific. Now that you’ve got lots of lovely things to look forward to, you might want to start scheduling so that you can fit it all in!
2. Plan your holiday reading / watching
Reading is my thing, but you may get more joy from Netflix than books. Either way – read/watch for pleasure! It’s something we almost never have the time to do, but it’s so relaxing and one of the very best ways to take your mind off school. Make non-fiction your priority and escape into another reality.
3. Decide on something creative to do
This might mean picking up a hobby that you’ve long neglected, like painting or knitting, or patchwork or gardening, or it might mean learning something completely new, like photography, salsa dancing or Vietnamese cooking. Whatever it is, you’ll be using your brain differently and this is likely to lead to some lovely “a-ha!” moments.
4. Delete your school emails from your phone.
This makes sure you really do switch off. It’s a simple but powerful way of drawing a clear line between term time and holidays, signalling to your brain that you are not at work. This helps you to come out of the habits and routines that are an automatic part of your school days. Don’t cheat – telling yourself you “just won’t look” is setting yourself up to fail. We spend so much time on our phones that if you leave your email there, the temptation is probably gong to be too great and you’ll check in. Delete now!
Now you’re ready! Time to have some fun, do nothing, catch up on sleep and clean the top of the kitchen cupboards…or is that just me?!
“It is true that we are called to create a better world. But we are first of all called to a more immediate and exalted task: that of creating our own lives.”