You have six weeks with no teaching, and then you’re thrown straight back in again in September. This can’t be good for stress levels, says Alex Waite in the TES.
The school holidays are upon us. Six weeks without early starts, without queues at the photocopier, hurried lunches, late evenings, meetings or pupils. But, despite the positives, there are downsides to having six weeks with no pupils to keep us busy.
We may be refreshed after a long break, but having to adapt so quickly, despite having one or two inset days, is not easy. Returning to a professional environment after weeks of managing your personal and social schedule can be challenging, with deadlines, preparation, meetings and the worry of new classes suddenly cluttering our time.
Loneliness and isolation among pupils during the school-holiday period has been publicised recently. But this feeling can apply to teachers too.
For many, friends and family do not have the same holiday schedule, which can lead to long periods of time alone to overthink and worry. Also, immediately stopping and having little or no work for the summer can create a loss of purpose. Of course, some may have children and family to look after, or a close group of friends to spend time with. However, if this isn’t the case, then the holidays may not in fact be a welcome break.
The unique nature of teaching also makes returning from the holidays difficult. In fact, adapting from an extended period of holiday to an environment that is immediately stressful and demanding surely cannot be good for stress and anxiety levels.