‘Too often teachers react to the arrival of the summer holidays with an intense period of introspection’

Teachers spend the first part of the summer holidays asking themselves endless questions about what could have gone better in the year that’s passed, writes one celebrated head

Colin Harris

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And so, finally, we’ve arrived: finally, the holidays are here. Nerves are frayed and the adrenaline that has kept us going for weeks has run dry, but, finally, the holidays have arrived.

This should, of course, be a time when our batteries are recharged and the pressures of the previous year can fade into be a distant memory.

Yet this is rarely the case. Indeed, I have nearly never met a good teacher who doesn’t react to the end of term by falling into an intense period of introspection and analytical overkill.

What went well? What didn't go well? What will I do differently next year? And so on and so on…

Teachers seldom realise that this summer holiday is not a "lucky" element of being a teacher: rather a necessity.

By critiquing every element of the previous year, teachers seem to believe they are able to justify the long summer break. However, this justification is a painful process and can adversely affect the wellbeing of the teacher.

It is difficult to recognise, especially among younger teachers, that the long break is here for a specific reason. Over the preceding months, every fibre of mental and physical strength has been used up by the demands of the job and slowly, over the next few weeks, will be put ourselves back together.

The holiday is a necessity –  not a luxury

The holidays allow teachers to maintain a physical and mental equilibrium, and, as such, must be understood as an essential, not a luxury.

Too often teachers beat themselves up over the length of the holiday because, as a profession, we have cornered the market when it comes to "self-doubt".

But stop, you have all earned this holiday from your efforts, so enjoy it...

So over the next week or two, try to remember that you have just run a marathon and your body needs time to recuperate. It’s also worth telling your partner not to expect anything that passes for sensible conversation for at least a fortnight.

Colin Harris led a school in a deprived area of Portsmouth for more than two decades. His last two Ofsted reports were 'outstanding' across all categories

To read more of Colin's articles, visit his back catalogue

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Colin Harris

Colin Harris

Colin Harris led a school in a deprived area of Portsmouth for more than two decades. His last two Ofsted reports were “outstanding” across all categories.

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