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How to... enjoy the summer holidays

School's out for summer.

So, what are your plans?

Here comes the sun.

First the tidying up, preparing and planning for next year.

Aaagh. Summertime blues.

Here are some tips to make your break more effective. Spend one week recovering and one psyching yourself up again. There are three phases wrapping up, winding down and easing back in. Wrap up with leavers' concerts, award ceremonies and discos, class parties, meaningful goodbyes and tidying away. Complete and pass on pupil records. On the last day of term or first day of the holiday, clear and cleanse. Tidy away, throw out and take only what you really need: peace of mind and a small briefcase. There are things that need to be done, things that need not be done and things that nobody will notice if they're undone. Make a list for next year while your head's still buzzing and leave it on the pile for September.

And then can I relax?

Set the controls for the heart of the sun. Take advantage of that "free" time. There are people to meet, outings to be had, places to lunch, concerts to enjoy. Avoid other people's children, indulge in adult and family contact, get off the treadmill, make time to stand and stare, recharge your batteries, actively relax, read for pleasure, take country walks and seaside strolls. Clear your head and try to get back to normal. Some of you will switch off by degrees, others will head suddenly and madly for foreign parts. Whatever does it for you, make the most of it. If exam results loom, plan for a day or two in school. And then before you know it, it's phase three, build-up to the new term.

So no more fun?

Allocate a week for preparation new courses, new classes, new topics. Have personal and school planning days in your diary, but take a long lunch when you can and don't let it spoil your evenings. And just before you start again, note some plans, make some promises and book a holiday for next year. We all need something to look forward t *

Duncan Grey is author of The First Aid Kit for Teachers, 100+ Essential Lists for Teachers and Getting the Buggers to Learn (Continuum)

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