The summer holidays are undeniably one of the best perks of teaching – no matter how much you profess to love working with your pupils. As a teacher, you work incredibly hard throughout the term, and need the long summer break to rest, re-charge, and come back in September ready to face the challenge of a new year as a better teacher than ever before.
So how can you make the most of this time for rest, relaxation and reflection?
It’s no secret that many teachers are seriously sleep-deprived throughout the school terms. Ofsted inspections, exam periods, and parent-teacher evenings can add to an already jam-packed schedule and sleep is often the first casualty when finding time to meet extra responsibilities.
Sleep is important for maintaining your attention span, concentration and memory – things you’ll rely on heavily during the next school year – so take time during the holidays to catch up on your sleep. Catching the right amount of sleep also vastly improves your health, making you less likely to catch illnesses, gain weight, or develop heart problems.
If you’re finding it difficult to fall or stay asleep, consider pampering yourself at a spa, going to the gym, taking a long bath, or even for a long walk in nature. Not only are these activities a fun use of your newly found free time, but anything that gets your endorphins on the rise will help you sleep like a baby.
We live and work on the doorstep of dozens of bucket-list destinations. Whether you’re a continental city-hopping tourist, or want to chuck on your wellies and go exploring, there are no shortage of options for you (and your family).
Paris, Barcelona, Berlin and Rome are just a short flight away from any British airport and have fantastic opportunities for shopping, exploring, trying new food (and drink!) or taking in the culture. While you’re there, you may even pick up a thing or two to teach to your next intake of pupils come September. Being well-travelled gives you the opportunity to see the world in a different way, and to pass those skills on to your pupils.
However, for a beautiful and relaxing holiday, you need look no further than our very own shores. From the vast landscapes of the Scottish highlands to the hustle and bustle of London or the seaside fun of Blackpool, Britain has something for every holidaymaker.
During the summer, many newspapers, coupon websites, travel agents run promotions, vouchers and competitions for everything from local short breaks to international holidays, so you can be sure that you make the most out of your time and your budget. If you’re a teacher with Engage Education, you’ll also benefit from our exclusive partnership with STA Travel, which qualifies you for money off travel, insurance and shopping.
You’ll often be too tired during term-time to catch up with your non-teaching friends in the evenings or even at weekends, and time with your family can be reduced to an hour or less every night before you fall asleep on the sofa. Let your friends and family experience the summer holidays version of yourself, and carve out time to spend with those who are important to you. (This includes spending lots of time with your furry family members too!)
If you’re an international teacher teaching in the UK, the summer holidays can be a great opportunity to visit home (or have home visit you), or even just a chance to have extended video calls to really catch up over the distance.
The summer holidays are an opportunity to revisit what makes you, you. Explore your passions outside of teaching, or get into something you’ve always wanted to try. Too many teachers feel guilty for putting effort into endeavours that aren’t teaching-related, but having other interests activities will go a lot of the way towards preventing teacher burnout.
So if you’ve always wanted to try kayaking or sculpting, or want to re-ignite your love of playing the clarinet, the six-week break could be just the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. When you return to school in September, you may have learned a new skill or two that you can enjoy in your spare time or share with your pupils!
Alongside all the fun of holidaying, returning to your hobbies, and spending time with your family, friends and pets, you will unfortunately benefit from spending some time preparing for the year of teaching ahead.
Use the time you have (perhaps on one of those long walks we mentioned before) to reflect on your previous teaching year. Where was there room for improvement? What would you like to do more of? What are your goals for the coming year? You can also use the time to brush up on your subject and prepare to get creative with your teaching.
A lot of stress can be avoided by doing some simple preparation, such as buying new clothes to teach in, sourcing the supplies you need, some lesson planning, and preparing your classroom. Going into the September term with a fresh wardrobe, fresh stationery, and a fresh classroom will ensure you have a smooth transition from summer to school.
If you’ve mastered the steps above, here are two things you can do to take your teaching career to the next level: