Who would have ever thought that, on the final day of term (or on the first few days of the two week break), you’d need to know how to celebrate the end of a tough term? As teachers, we spend a lifetime telling others what to do but – you know what? – sometimes it’s nice to told exactly how to spend our time instead. With that in mind, I don’t blame you for reading this: it’s tricky knowing how best to spend our time, when this career makes it so difficult to switch off.
But, you know what? That’s exactly what this time of the year is for: switching off. Especially after surviving such a tough, long term (the longest of the year, in fact), it’s time to breath a sigh of relief. You’ve made it. Congrats. High fives all round.
How are you going to celebrate doing so well to make it this far in the academic year? And what’s the best way to celebrate Christmas as a teacher? This is what I’ll be doing over the next fortnight:
Day 1: Lie-in central
Chances are, last night was a messy one. Whether you over-indulged on a few glasses too many or simply stayed up late because you can, you’ll probably awake to the sight of Day 1 in a bit of a state. Take today to yourself. Turn off that alarm that you’d left on through force of habit. Pull the duvet further up, all the way past your shoulders. Get up when you’re ready.
And when you do, make it a pyjama day. Who’s stopping you?
Day 2: Christmas Shopping – AKA panic
The last couple weeks of term were SO busy that you’ve hardly had time to go shopping. Now, with Christmas just days away, you’ll realise that there’s still so much to do!
However, I don’t know about you, but I regularly reach 5,000 steps a day from my day job. Traipsing into town will not be the one. Rest those weary feet, brew a nice hot drink and unwrap the dark chocolate digestives. It’s time to start browsing online.
And would you know what? I’ve a handy-dandy link to Amazon’s last-minute gifts right at my fingertips: just click here to start browsing stocking fillers (it would make my Christmas).
Day 6: Christmas Eve
Every year, I have this tradition with my family where we’ll drive at a snail’s pace all over the area in my hometown that’s become famous for its phenomenal Christmas lights competitions. While we might not put anything on the outside of our house, we still enjoy the tacky-versus-tasteful light display that these neighbours must enjoy.
This year will be no different; it’s my foolproof method for getting into the Christmas mood. Then we’ll drive home, swing by a supermarket for last-minute reduced supplies, and stick on a Christmas film, hot chocolates in hand.
By this point I’ll have just about forgotten all about the assessments that I have to plan for.
Day 8: Boxing Day – AKA another do-nothing-day
Recovery from the night before. I’ll have eaten so much, including a full Turkey leg laden with cranberry sauce, Christmas Puddings and cheese and biscuits, that I’ll be ready for carving myself. Boxing Day will be another laid-back one where we use up the leftovers and catch up on any trashy shows that we missed from the day before.
Not a mark book in sight. Joy.
Day 12: Term 2 Tremors
We may all set out with good intentions for the Christmas break, saying to our colleagues how much we’ll get done and far ahead we’ll be but, you know what? It’s been a tough year. Give yourself a break. If you don’t start planning until Day 12, or even the day before heading back, don’t stress. If you work yourself into oblivion, you’ll burn out – and what use will that be?
We owe it our kids to be the best teachers that we can. And that starts with you, by taking care of yourself. Have a very merry Christmas, and happy holidays.
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