The Summer Break

The Summer Break

Some of you will have finished for the summer already; others will still have a few days to go, but at least those colleagues will be feeling smug in September when the early birds are back at the chalk face.

Whenever you do finish term you will of course be looking forward to relaxing and trying to switch off from life in school, at least for a few days in the middle of the holiday between the time it takes to wind down to the time when you start thinking about work again and start ‘just popping into school’ to prepare for the new school year.

In that precious time in between the winding down and winding back up, you do really want a break from school and the pupils. But it can be more difficult than it seems to truly get away. Years ago, when teaching in the Midlands, I was on holiday miles away in Dorset and walking along the pier at Lyme Regis (yes, the one from all the films) minding my own business and eating ice cream with my own children.

It was the gleeful shouts of ‘Hello Mr Nelson!” interrupting the seagulls and waves that shook me from my reverie as two pupils from my school excitedly ran up to us, closely followed by beaming parents, and told me all about where they were staying and asking what I was doing there.

The fact they had to ask what I was doing, with my family and wearing shorts and t-shirt in a seaside resort eating an ice cream, says it all. I don’t think children believe we have lives outside school. Perhaps they think we make nests on the PE mats every night and live on meals made on the mobile DT cookers, eating left-over KS1 fruit and emerging to forage for blackberries when the hedge next to the school field gets overgrown in the autumn.

Colleagues have told me similar anecdotes of meeting families they teach, or taught, whilst on holiday in far further flung places around the world. All while hoping for a break from school. Not that I really minded meeting that family. It’s just I could have done without the constant reminder of work and the fleeting check that I was on my best behaviour, not carrying a bottle of wine or two or having just said anything vaguely inappropriate within their earshot.

Apparently, in a room of twenty-three people there’s a 50-50 chance at least two people will have the same birthday. In a room of seventy-five people there is a 99.9% chance of at least two people having the same birthday. I can’t work out the maths either, but someone should work out the probability of a teacher meeting a pupil they teach while on holiday. I’m sure it’s equally and improbably high…

And pupils always seem so surprised to see us out and about leading comparatively normal lives. My partner works in a secondary school and she was accosted by an amazed student recently who spotted her when we were shopping.

“Hello Miss!” yelled the excited student, and then paused to look agog, before spluttering, “You’ve…you’ve…you’ve got a coat!”

Who knew teachers had those eh?

Anyway, wherever and whatever you get up to over the break, whether exploring the Amazon or shopping on Amazon; visiting the North Pole or putting up curtain poles, on behalf of everyone at Focus Education, we wish you a fantastic (and uninterrupted) summer. See you in the autumn!

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