Counting down to the holidays: acceptable or not?
On social media last weekend, this question sparked considerable debate. Is it appropriate? Does it paint the profession in a bad light if teachers are constantly looking forward to their next break? Or is it completely normal to look forward to the holidays?
I was alerted to the debate when I saw @TeachMrN’s tweet:
🤔 I cannot begin to tell you how irritated I am by the irresponsible subject line in a popular teacher subscription site’s mailer this weekend: “Where did the holidays go? Counting down to half term yet?” NO ACTUALLY. I’m enjoying work after a decent break. Don’t bring me down.— Mr N (@TeachMrN) September 23, 2018
I instantly agreed with Mr N; I would hate someone projecting their feelings onto me and I’ve never been one to count down, other than in July when I’m crawling to the summer.
But after this, other teachers chipped in:
Here it is:— Sophie Bee (@_MissieBee) September 23, 2018
I am counting down to half-term.
Haters, come at me. This does not mean I am not positive about teaching/that I hate my job/that I’m spreading negativity.
I love my job.
It means I AM PERMANENTLY EXHAUSTED and could really do with a week’s worth of sleep.
Right: I *love* my job. It’s amazing. It’s the best paid job in the world. But when I’m not there, I’m lucky enough to have the two best unpaid jobs in the world (husband and dad, as if I have the energy for volunteer work). 1/4— Ben 🦉 (@Mr_B_W) September 23, 2018
On Monday, I asked a few of my colleagues what they thought. Everyone in the staffroom agreed that teachers work hard enough to look forward to the holidays. We work hard, why shouldn’t we be able to count down to our breaks? People in other professions look forward to their holidays, why are we any different?
And this is all true. We work so hard. We work longer hours than we’re paid for (including those holidays we look forward to) and we should be able to openly look forward to the holidays without worrying about being branded negative.
Different for teachers?
But is it different for us because we’re more front-facing than other jobs? What if the children pick up on us counting down? Does it paint a picture that teachers are only in it for the holidays? Or should we be able to say to the kids: “We’ve all worked hard. We all deserve that break. Let’s keep working hard until we get there”?
I think the children and young people that we teach deserve to see us being real. They get tired towards the end of a half-term and so do we.
As long as we’re not giving anyone the impression we don’t want to be at school every day, what’s the harm in looking forward to some well-earned rest?
Shannen Doherty is a Year 4 teacher in south London