Golden rules:l Take control of this time. If you have pupils to see, arrange the appointment to suit you. Five minutes is a third of a typical break time, only a tenth of a lunch-hour. l Keep away from the telephone - non-teachers don't know how precious your break is. l Resist the (increasingly common) suggestion that all kinds of educationally useful things could happen during break - catch-up sessions, little handwriting classes - pupils need some respite, too. l Don't lurk in your departmental area - have your coffee in the staffroom, and meet some different grown-ups. l Sit - you're on your feet for the rest of the day. Find someone who makes you laugh, and enjoy their company.
Teaching is hard work, not least because of the number of involuntary social contacts you have to make during the working day - simply walking down a corridor can become an oral assault course. "Have you finished your bit of the KS3 scheme yet?" "Don't forget we have a meeting on Thursday after school." "What are we doing this afternoon, Miss?" Everyone wants your attention and, because you're a teacher, you will respond. Break time is a vital escape from all this.
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