Teachers’ holidays… 1, 2, 3… RELAX!

Contrary to popular kid mythology, teachers don’t stay at school over the holidays. Well, I presume that’s what kids think because when I do see one of my students during the holidays they look truly shocked. The wonder and awe that I’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.

teachers' holidays


1. Show off on social media

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.

3. Read

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.

teachers' holidays: sleep and get sick

5. Get Sick 

The sniffles start at about lunchtime on the last day of term. It’s a full-blown medical emergency by about 5 pm. 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 high school. We have 1300 students. That’s a lot of scrutiny, and teens can be particularly judgmental. If I’m having a radical haircut, it’s in the holidays!


teachers' holidays

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.

9. Drink

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.

teachers' holidays

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 the school, but you can’t take the 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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