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Viva Les Grandes Vacances

Miranda is one of our regular Protobloggers! She is a primary teacher who works in schools in Manchester through Protocol Education. Today she tells us why she thinks school holidays are important - because they enable teachers to keep on teaching!

Viva les grandes vacances

Reforming the great long yawn of the school summer holidays? Hmmm. I remember as a child being bored senseless over the summer break. I enjoyed being bored, it gave me a chance to idle about in solipsistic imaginative reveries, and use up the fairy liquid to make models from Why Don’t You (skim over that if under 30). I would hang about on the streets, trying to find clues to mysteries by spying on the neighbours through knot holes in the fence. It was the 1970s, children were outside then. In fact it was mandatory.

By the time September came, I was more than ready for the smell of fresh exercise books and sharpened pencils. In fact, I was so desperate to return that I’d start to pretend to be at school anyway and make everyone in the family answer the register and complete maths problems. Perhaps I was born to be a teacher.  

I feel the same way about the summers now. I love and loathe the long blue drag of the days. I like (or used to before I had a baby) lying in in the morning while my significant other buzzes off to work in a jealous huff.  I find the space is one that allows me to time to think about why I am where I am, doing what I’m doing.  Teaching is always a great and noble profession when viewed from under the duvet or on top of a sun lounger.  While sipping beer from out of our ‘Best Teacher in the World’ mugs, we can easily overlook all those frantic photocopier jams, the shadow of Ofsted, and the ill humour of the kids, the kids, the kids.

The fact is that teaching is draining because it’s all about people and people are all about themselves, so as a teacher you’ve got to be all about thirty little people who all want you to attend to their own agenda. As a supply teacher, you may be all about thirty different people almost every day of the week. This, unless you are Miss Jean Brodie (who was a tad selfish anyway) begins to fray you. 

Teachers come back from holidays refreshed. They teach French with real French goodies bought in markets. They teach history with powerpoints of their holiday pics from Rome. They collect stones and shells for art and science. They gather foreign coins so they can talk to Year 6 about exchange rates and ratios.

And if the long summer holidays allow a clear gulf in which we teachers can begin to idealise what we do; enjoy feelings of privilege and, towards the end, begin to look forward to the rigours of routine again, then let’s keep them the way they are. The summer holidays enable teachers to keep on teaching. Viva les grandes vacances.

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Did you enjoy this blog? More from Miranda:

Being a Magpie


Miranda's Top Ten Supply Stresses


Tags: Miranda. Supply Teacher, Holidays, Teach in Manchester, Primary Teaching, Protocol Education

Category: Australian Teachers

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