Relax, you've got it all sorted

10th August 2007 at 01:00
These weeks are precious take advice from our experts and use them to make sure you return to school in tip-top condition, says Susan Young

Ask any group of teachers what they do in the summer holidays and you will find two schools of thought. There are the horizontals, who walk out with an armful of gifts on the last day of term and resolutely ignore work again all summer. And there are the verticals, who appear to spend more time planning lessons in the summer than they do during term-time.

But according to the experts, neither approach is the right one for using the summer in the best possible way: getting you set up mentally and physically to get through the rest of the year in tip-top condition.

We talked to Hazel Bennett, primary teacher for more than 30 years and author of The Ultimate Teachers' Handbook, and Claire Bradford, life coach and former secondary English teacher. And then we distilled their collective wisdom into the following checklist.

TIPS: The good, the bad and the mad

* Get routine dental appointments and medical check-ups organised for the summer.

* Do the same for your car.

* And the boiler, if you like it to have an annual service.

* It's usually cheaper to pay household bills by direct debit and it means you don't need to worry about overlooking one in parents' evening week or one of the other desperately busy times. But before setting up the direct debits, why not check on one of the comparison websites such as uSwitch to make sure you're getting a good deal?

* If you're cooking anyway, why not knock up double the quantity and stick half in the freezer? Just don't forget to label it... properly. Chilli con carne crumble is not to everybody's taste.

* There are umpteen time-saving websites out there. We've checked them so you don't have to and the most useful tip we found concerns bedding. When you've dried the bedclothes, store the matching set in one of the pillowslips. No more airing cupboard misery as you hunt for all the bits.

* What about a haircut then?

Advice from the TES website users

* Keyboard tapper: I make batches of stuff and freeze it for term-time when I can't be botheredtoo tired to cook. Mega batches of washing and ironing so it'll last me weeks.

* Catmother: Sleep, enjoy my free time and try not to think about school.

* 576: Our programme of study has changed so I've drawn up medium- term plans for Years 7 to 9. At the moment, I am tidying my computer files and backing them up. Then I will start to think about lesson plans and resources. (Yes I do know I need to get a life but I am stuck in anyway waiting for the gasman to come) and my hair only ever seems to get cut in the holidays.

* Batz: I can never quite leave work alone... having said that the most important thing for me, whatever the holiday period, is rest. I also need time with my long-suffering family who keep me sane in term time.

* Erp 77: ... going into school to paint my noticeboards.

* Milkandchalk: termly plans, plan the first week back, tray names, sort out readingwriting maths groups... read children's past reports, make up worksheets...

* Pea: ...and sorting out the huge pile of paperwork that I have managed to accumulate and making the new term's resolution that I really will file as I go along (have been making that one for the past three years).

* Drunken Fool: I'm not even thinking about school till the final final days of the holiday.

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