Tuesday, December 17, 2013

School Holidays

Now that I have commenced school holidays, I often hear similar responses from those who don't work in the teaching profession. Comments along the lines of:

Teachers are so lucky to have so many weeks of holidays.
It would be nice to be able to go home from work at 3:30 every working day.

I usually explain that whilst I am required to be at work 8am until 4pm during school terms, in reality, I am often at work at 7:30am and I rarely leave before 5:30pm. Additional to this are the after hours staff meetings, Saturday morning sport supervision, professional development sessions, marking student work during my own time and spending large chunks of time on weekends preparing classes and resources for my students. This often impacts on my own family as they are required to make sacrifices. When school holidays come around, I spend large amounts of time on professional reading, resource preparation and professional development activities. Furthermore, I usually commence the holidays so exhausted that I require time to recover and re-energise for the next school term.

Now, don't get me wrong! I love my work, love teaching and learning, love the challenges and the variety. In fact, I am passionate about education in general. I couldn't see myself doing anything else and firmly believe that if I ever lost my passion, drive and enthusiasm, it would be time to find something else to do. I remember the Confucian saying, 'Choose a job you love, and you'll never have to work a day in your life'. I think this sums up how I feel about teaching - despite the long hours etc., the rewards are so great that to me, it doesn't feel like 'work'.

I need to mention the 'flip' side to non-teacher comments. Many parents acknowledge some of the challenges teachers face. Parents confess to finding it difficult just looking after their own children and therefore, they couldn't imagine looking after a whole class of children on a daily basis! 

So, as I move into 'holiday' mode, I love the chance to follow a different routine, spend some quality time with my family, continuing my own learning, as well as the opportunity to travel and broaden my knowledge of the world. However, I also miss my students, miss seeing them 'grow', miss witnessing those 'aha' moments and miss the school environment. I'm always very excited to return to school, recharged and ready for the next term in this great profession!