Half-term: Is a week long enough to recharge?

The countdown is on to the first break of the school year – here Gemma Corby explains how to make the most of half-term

How can teachers make the most of half-term

Don’t get me wrong, I would rather have a week off than not have a week off.

But is it enough time to fully unwind and recharge?

To anyone who is not a teacher, I am sure the resounding response would be yes.


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But teaching is not like other professions. 

Teaching is very much all-or-nothing. One minute you’re working flat out, with what feels like almost every waking moment consumed by the job. Then you’re on holiday. Then it’s back to the grindstone.

It can feel like you need to do everything during half-term, from dental appointments, to getting your hair cut, catching up with friends and family, cleaning. And don’t forget marking and planning. 

I rarely go abroad during half-term as I find fitting everything in too stressful. There’s the travelling, acclimatising to your new surroundings, and then the pressure to do as much as possible, cramming in museums, art galleries, tourist sites and shows.

On your last night you dream about the pile of marking that awaits you back home. Urrggh. 

But is there a way to make more of your week off? 

Planning for half-term

It doesn’t sound like a fun way to start your holiday, but if you do some groundwork, your future self will thank you. This could be organising that dental appointment for after school or doing your household chores ahead of breaking up, rather than letting them build up. 

Take the same approach to marking and planning. I have a habit of getting a bit lazy in the final week, thinking I’ll do it next week. Don’t leave it if you want a nice break. 

Go outside

Exercising in the great outdoors, even if it is just a walk around the block, is a great way to unwind. It is even better if you can go with friends or family and visit somewhere scenic. 

Socialise

Socialising with your dentist, bank manager or supermarket delivery person does not count. Make a concerted effort to catch up with people who are going to uplift your spirits and make you smile. 

Try a staycation

If you feel like me about going abroad in half-term, consider somewhere nearer to home. Even if it is just a couple of hours down the road, a change of scene can be restorative.

Don’t fill every minute

Scientists say it is good for your health and wellbeing to stay in your pyjamas all day and watch all three series of Stranger Things in one sitting. Well they probably do, they just haven’t got around to writing the paper yet. 

Gemma Corby is a former special educational needs and disability coordinator (Sendco) and freelance writer

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