Throughout my 30 years in education, starting as a classroom teacher and ending as a head, I worked hard – six days a week (and very occasionally, when a head, seven). I was committed and conscientious. I enjoyed my job and found it rewarding and satisfying – and rewards and sources of satisfaction continue since I left headship. I was involved in staff training in a school this year, and the Head of Drama stayed behind to let me know I taught her 25 years ago. I remembered her well – teaching her at A level and the fact that she had a real talent for drama. We reminisced about a production of ‘The Laundry Girls’ I co-directed in which she was stunning – and I felt SO pleased she’d carved out a career as a Drama teacher! We have an amazing job.
BUT we have a tough job, and it’s really important that we use holidays to recover from the term before and to rest and refresh, building the energy we need to sustain us through the term ahead.
Maybe think about the following:
- You may need to do some schoolwork to catch up and plan ahead, but decide explicitly how many days you’re going to work, when that will be, and stick to it. I’d work perhaps two days in a half term week, four days in a two week holiday, maybe ten over the summer. I would choose when I was going to focus on school, and on the other days I’d do everything in my power not even to think about work. I wouldn’t check emails on non-work days. When I was a head the school always knew how to get hold of me if there was an emergency.
- I only started using Twitter after I left headship, but if I HAD used Twitter for educational professional development before then, I’d have had two separate Twitter accounts and only looked at my educational account on days when I was focussing on schoolwork. If you’re unwinding, you don’t want to be thinking about the latest inspection update.
- Family and friends knew that on my work days I wouldn’t want to be tempted to do other things. However, on the other days I would spend time with those I care about, exercise, have lunch out, shop, read, watch films – whatever helped me relax.
- I always had plenty of sleep in holidays, but not too much – it’s tempting to sleep for TOO long if you don’t watch it. (Apologies to those with young children…)
- We’d often plan a break away, even at half-term. Getting away from home always helped me to unwind. We like European cities and had memorable half-term breaks in Berlin, Krakow, Prague, Budapest, Geneva…
Do you have your own “making the most of your holiday” tips to share?
Enjoy the break! You definitely deserve it!
Photo credit: John Berry February half term in Prague, 2006
This post was originally published on @staffrm in 2015
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