Teachers’ holidays: The mysteries uncovered!
Contrary to popular kid mythology, teachers don’t stay at school over the holidays. Well, I presume that’s what kids think because when you do see a child while you’re on holidays they look truly shocked. The wonder and awe that you’ve been trying to inspire in them all year suddenly appear. Adults are equally curious, “What do you do with ALL those holidays?” Well…here it is, in all its ordinary glory.
1. Show off on Facebook
Let’s get this out of the way early. Yes, we gloat. We get six weeks off and we let you know about it. There will be the joyful exclamations on the last day of school and then tonnes of photos of us doing awesome things for weeks. The holidays are our job perk. We don’t get bonuses or huge pay packets. We get holidays. So bear with us.
2. Pass Out
Look at any teacher at the end of the school year and, frankly, they look ordinary. They have that worn down, broken look that can only be fixed by hours and hours of sleep. So we sleep…like the dead.
The novelty of reading anything that is devoid of spelling mistakes and bizarre tense changes is overwhelming. We read books for grown-ups!
4. Wear What We Want
Being a role model can be a bit restricting. School holidays are the time for inappropriate t-shirts, piercings and clothes that show off the tatt you keep hidden for the rest of the year.
5. Get Sick
The sniffles start at about lunchtime on the last day of term. It’s a full-blown medical emergency by about 5pm. Our immune systems have spent all term holding it together. We can’t afford to get sick in school time, it’s impossible to get relief teachers and if we do, the kids go mad. So in the holidays, our bodies scream, “NO MORE!” and we fall into little crumpled, diseased heaps.
(This point wasn’t included in my original list, but I’ve added it because so many teachers reminded me, “If you’re not sick at the beginning of each holiday, are you even a teacher?”)
6. Go Away
If we can, we go away…far, far away! We love our students but we don’t want to spend our holidays with them. It doesn’t always work out though. I once ran into a student in a market in Vietnam.
7. Get a New Look
I work in a single-sex school. We have 1300 girls. That’s a lot of scrutiny and judgment. Holiday time is radical haircut time.
8. Get Married
If a teacher gets married it’s usually during the school holidays. It gives them time to run away on honeymoon for a few weeks. Teachers are all about timetables, so if they can, they’ll also try and schedule births in for the holidays.
I’m a brave girl, I can face most things, but a class of 30 with a hangover is not one of them. Champagne in the sun is for holidays.
10. Make Empty Promises
Holidays are when all our good intentions fall apart. We plan to paint the house, revamp the garden, get fit, visit all our old friends. Nup. Never gonna happen. We will probably get distracted by trashy movies, long lunches with teachers (because they’re the only ones on holiday), lying on a beach and shopping the sales.
11. Take Off Our Watches
Teachers live by a timetable. We can’t even go to the loo without a bell telling us we can. So in holidays, clock-watching goes out the window.
12. Worry About Results
We worry about how our students fared in the ATAR/VCE/GCSE or whatever your acronym is. We want our kids to do well. In Australia, we also wait for the league tables to be released. These are horrendously over-simplified rankings of school achievement, published in newspapers. Teachers in the top 20 ranked schools breathe easy while all the rest start raging over the invalidity of the whole process.
13. We May Still Organise Things
You can take the teacher out of school, but you can’t take school out of the teacher. We will write lists and they will probably be neat. If we start bossing you, don’t fight it, ignore it. Trust me, we’re used to that.
14. Spend Time With Our Children
Another perk…we get to share the school holidays with our own kids. Nuff said.
15. Count Down to the Start of the New Year
I start to get a sick feeling of dread when I see the first Back to School ads. I love my job and I look forward to seeing the kids, but seriously, I’m not rushing back. We’re just like the kids. We. Love. Holidays.
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Linda Stade has worked in various teaching and management roles in education for twenty-eight years. She has worked in government and private schools, country and city, single-sex and co-ed. Currently, she is a writer, speaker and consultant in Western Australia. You can find out more about her work here.