What teachers really want to find in an Advent calendar

Cadbury's Heroes won't cut it this year. Sarah Mullin lists the gifts teachers would like to see in their Advent calendar instead
1st December 2020, 10:41am
Sarah Mullin

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What teachers really want to find in an Advent calendar

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/what-teachers-really-want-find-advent-calendar
Advent Calendar, Made Up Of A Series Of Present-filled Stockings, Strung Up In A Row

I really love Christmas. I love it when I first hear a Christmas song on the radio, as I type up my end-of-term reports. 

I love to gaze at the sparkly, twinkly lights decorating people's houses on the journey home from school. I love working in schools at Christmas time: the nativity plays, the carol concerts, the staff Christmas parties

Yes, Christmas makes me truly happy. 

Last weekend, I was shopping for Advent calendars for my children. The supermarket aisles were stocked with a plethora of calendars, filled with chocolates, sweets, toys, books, bath bombs, candles and alcoholic treats for the grown-ups

As my eyes danced in delight, I stopped to think: wouldn't it be great if there was an advent calendar for teachers? 

When Heroes won't cut it

It has certainly been a year like no other. Teachers everywhere are tired and stressed, and I just don't think opening the calendar door to a Cadbury's Hero will cut it this year. 

We've covered lessons for absent colleagues; we've spent hours standing in cold, wet playgrounds on duty; we've spent the day educating our bubbles, knowing that we couldn't spend time with our vulnerable loved ones that weekend - or any time in the foreseeable future

In a month in which we have seen that the provisional Covid vaccination priority list excludes teachers, and the government has decided that we don't deserve a pay rise, wouldn't it be great if each day in December we could open the calendar door to one of the following little festive treats?

So, please, treat yourself to a mug filled with hot chocolate (or mulled wine) and pop on your favourite Christmas tune as we reveal the wish list of treats we would love to see behind a teachers' Advent calendar this year.

A teachers' Advent calendar

1 December: A golden ticket to get out of that last-minute cover lesson.

2 December: A free pass to visit the dentist, optician, Post Office or bank during school hours.

3 December: A non-essential meeting that will be covered in an email instead.

4 December: An endless supply of glue sticks.

5 December: Your very own interactive-whiteboard remote control.

6 December: A "get out of your compulsory break duty" ticket.

7 December: An early night and a restful sleep.

8 December: A voucher for a duvet day, with no questions asked.

9 December: A blank invoice sheet to claim for all the unpaid overtime worked.

10 December: A space in the car park.

11 December: A face mask that doesn't cause your glasses to steam up or your make-up to smudge.

12 December: A spa day (remember those?) to help you relax after the challenges of the past term.

13 December: A lie-in.

14 December: A one-off opportunity to take a reasonably priced holiday during term time.

15 December: The chance to drink a hot cup of tea or coffee. Yes, all of it. While it's still hot.

16 December: The chance to eat lunch without any distractions.

17 December: The chance to attend CPD of your own choosing.

18 December: Fresh milk in the staffroom fridge.

19 December: A time machine, for use exclusively when the photocopier jams.

20 December: An opportunity to have a proper catch-up with your teacher buddies. In real life. Maybe even over wine.

21 December: The opportunity to take time to recover from an illness without feeling teacher guilt.

22 December: An effective commitment to workload reduction.

23 December: Recognition and respect for teachers in the media.

24 December: A payslip that recognises your worth.

Sarah Mullin is a deputy headteacher and doctor of education student. She is the curator of "What They Didn't Teach Me on My PGCE", and the founder of #EduTeacherTips, a YouTube channel for teachers, by teachers. She tweets @MrsSarahMullin

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