The holidays are over, and I'm rather pleased. Let me explain why...
1. No more ridiculous morning dreams
Let’s face it: those morning lie-ins in the holiday are not all that they are cracked up to be.
Now that term has started, I am relieved to be woken again from a deep and non-hallucinatory sleep by our screaming 6am alarm.
The alarm’s reassuringly insistent screech means that I am now spared all those completely ludicrous and often highly stressful holiday dreams, which start coming into our heads in that often-terrifying spell of rapid-eye movement sleep between about 6am and 9am.
Back at work, the anguish caused by my many real-life misadventures is as nothing compared with the ravaging impact of a holiday lie-in dream.
I can now confidently go to bed knowing that I will wake up too soon to risk sharing another surprise hot-tub with the rather dour Mr Haribo in design and technology.
Nor will I quietly wonder why the hell I am repeatedly pouring glasses of mulled wine over an Ofsted inspector in the middle of a deep dive.
No more nightmares, now, of losing it completely with that troublesome class, no more bizarre “road” holidays with a carload of colleagues I scarcely know.
2. No more hauntings by the Ghost of Christmas Marking
While some may have had the energy and the will to address that pile of GCSE mock-exam marking before the holiday, or at the very start, many of us were in no state of mind or health to do so.
That crate of papers just loomed hauntingly in a corner of the room and a corner of the mind throughout the fortnight, until I finally grasped the nettle and took it on in the final few days.
While the summer holiday is a guilt-free trip, the winter break never feels anything like the same.
3. No more wasting time failing to fix stuff
Partly to delay facing up to the marking (see point two above), I also find that the winter holiday results in my pretending that I can finally “fix” things that I have no idea how to fix.
This holiday, I spent many a fruitless hour at home trying to sort out a laptop and its difficult relationship with our internet router. As always, this ended up with another one of those long and demoralising phone calls to BT – which is the very definition of how to waste time.
So the new term comes to my rescue, giving me virtually no time at all to waste on such follies. Term time protects me from my own useless self.
4. Less worrying about the end of the world as we know it
The holiday also meant I had way too much time to follow the news more closely: global warming, Brexit, assassinations and the possible outbreak of war – that kind of thing.
As happens when we are relatively free for a couple of weeks, I became more worryingly conscious again of the really serious issues in the world, as opposed to the (comparatively) trivial problems facing us on a day-to-day level at school.
Back to school means that I am back to having to focus mainly on what I need to do for school each day, rather than on worrying at length about the bigger global picture. Not how it should be, I know, but I’m not sure whether I could cope if it were otherwise.
Stephen Petty is head of humanities at Lord Williams's School in Thame, Oxfordshire