The summer holidays are finally here! It’s the start of a well-deserved break for teachers. Six weeks is a fair chunk of time but if you’re not careful it will pass in the blink of an eye. It’s important that all teachers use the time in any way that suits them, of course. But – most importantly – it’s vital that they make the most of it.

The old tired arguments: Why are you moaning? Look at all the holidays you get… tend to get thrown at teachers a bit less these days. There’s a growing acceptance amongst ‘normal folk’ that teaching maybe isn’t the walk in the park/holiday fest that many mistakenly once thought it was.

However, even though the maths still doesn’t work out – if you’ve worked 30-odd 60 hour weeks over the course of the school year, a few weeks off in the summer doesn’t amount to much of a payback – teaching is still the only profession where you get so many weeks off in one go.

Don’t let the holiday pass you by

Of course, the holiday will fly by, but if you’re not careful it can pass you by completely. Before you know it, it’s September and you are standing on the school yard welcoming your new Year 7 class.

A few days of complete rest and doing nothing very much at all at the start of the holiday are acceptable. However, when you schedule in a few days in school around the exam results days, and the almost obligatory ‘Tidy the classroom/Get life in order’ days, the 6 weeks of the summer holiday are evaporating before your very eyes.

The Essentials: R&R – Rest and Recuperation

Whatever floats your boat, the absolute essential for teachers in the summer holiday is to get some R&R. Rest and recuperation will mean different things to different people. Whether it’s sitting on the sofa eating ice cream and binge-watching Netflix or backpacking through the Himalayas, it really doesn’t matter.

Just as long as you are getting some ‘me time’.

You need to relax and recharge

Again, how you relax and recharge your batteries is very much down to the individual, but the absolutely crucial thing is that you do find time to relax, switch off and recharge. If you don’t, you will be no good to anyone or for anything in September. You’ll be heading for burn-out in one way or another.

However, although you are perfectly within your rights to spend every single day of the holiday doing what you want, often the best way to start the new school term reinvigorated is to spend some time preparing for it.

Reflection, organisation & preparation

Nobody is advocating spending six weeks writing schemes of work or lesson planning, but it’s still sensible to do something in terms of getting ready for the new term. And, put it this way, if you have been tasked with putting together a scheme of work for Year 9 by the end of the first half term back, there are two ways to go about it.

You could spend a couple of hours on it here and there over the summer on rainy day or sat outside in the garden. Alternatively, you could try and fit it in during the evenings when you get back to school – on top of planning, marking and everything else.

The summer break is also the best time you’ll have all year to reflect on the previous year and what you want to achieve from September. Again, these are very personal matters. There’s no right or wrong, only what works for you.

But, as a teacher, you owe it to yourself to spend some time working out what it is that does work for you. That’s how you make the most of the summer holiday.

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