The Reality Of Teacher in Half Term

It’s crazy, people think I am anyway. I never thought I would wish for a Monday or for my holiday to end quicker. I guess this is the reality of a teacher with friends and a partner who have full time work in the “typical” holiday given realm. The reality of a teacher who doesn’t have children of her own who also have the holidays off. And the reality of a person that genuinely enjoys being busy.

I’m a 22 year old embarking on my first year of teaching. I have my own class of little lovelies who I absolutely adore and I’m now officially past the half way mark in the year. I’m doing it, I’m actually doing it! As I sit here writing this, it’s half term. One week out of the envied 13 I get during my year, and yet I’m bored as hell after just a few days and excited for Monday to come sooner than ever.

My October half term I spent moving into my flat. I had moments to sit and chill and recuperate, but largely I was on the go. My partner had also taken the time off so it was a busy, exciting week of new beginnings and IKEA flat packs. Then came Christmas, two weeks of family and friend infused activities. Endless meals out and beach walks alongside all the regular seasonal festivities, the busy-ness didn’t stop. Plus I had the privilege of having the class bear spend the holiday with me sooo who was the real winner there. And now I’m here in February half term. No real plan. No real activities. Just myself and an empty flat.

I’ve made attempts at things to spice up my week so don’t start commenting saying I’ve gone into a self pity hole. I’ve gone to a gym class, seen my niece and used the time to enjoy some bath bombs and catch up on TV my partner is not such a fan of. But ultimately, I like being busy and I thrive on being social. Even just this morning my partner was saying how I honestly can talk to anyone about anything, and that’s because I really like it. I’m a character that likes being with other people. Not so outgoing I’d class myself and extrovert, but not so shy as to be an introvert. I’m that middle ground, that person that enjoys being with people all day as long as I get an evening by myself. I like balance.

But this week has just predominantly been that time by myself.

My partner is working a late shift at his job, which means I get his glorious company up until about 1pm each day and have just myself to contend with until he gets home around 10:30pm. It’s a shift pattern I can definitely cope with more when I too have a job to go to and people to see. However it has been nice in the half term too in as much that I have him for the morning and having lie ins together are a blessing.

In reality I don’t want half terms like I thought I would. The mere thought of having six weeks off in the summer feels me with dread not delight. I can already hear people getting angry that I’ve even thought to publish those words, let alone write them. And yet I stand by them. I do work hard and being a teacher is tough, but I love it. I love what I do and the people I work with and I miss them during these breaks. I fully appreciate those that have children are jealous of the time off I get in the year, and I’m sure I will too if I’m lucky enough to be blessed with my own children one day. But for now I am not a mother, and I have friends that work full time. I’m spending my time cleaning and writing and as much as I love the writing side of things cleaning the bathroom twice in the space of three days is more obsessive than I think even Mrs Hinch would approve of.

Of course I did need a break and a chance to reboot, but for me that can be done on an extra two days after the weekend. After I finished my PGCE I went straight into paid work at a Nursery following just a week’s break because I just wanted to be doing something. I then worked there all the way up to the last Friday before I started at my teaching job on the Monday.

It’s hard to explain my need to be busy really. Maybe there’s just an inherent part of me that feels if I stop I’m not living up to what I’m capable. I’m always worried I’m not giving something my all or that I’m not living to my fullest potential. I guess half terms and holidays are the chance I get to be on my own and to be alone with my thoughts. Not in like a scary sounding way, but in a fact that I start to think of all the things I could do with my time.

When I’m teaching my evenings are mostly that welcome break. My weekends are that time to unwind too. And to be frank, the majority of non-teachers have just 5 weeks of holiday a year and most cope just fine.

There’s also a part of me that gets frustrated. I get 13 weeks off in a year and yet the people I love and care about don’t. I want to spend my time making exciting new memories or exploring new places, but the best I can hope for his my partner being able to grab a day off here and there. In an ideal world I would spend my summer holidays exploring the world with him, so there’s a pang of annoyance that I can’t.

I get why I get the time off I do. The children need it, because school is tough. My little lovelies are only 4 and 5 years old and they have to take on a lot of information in a day, every single day. They need that time to switch off and not worry about learning to read or what number comes after 10. (Plus trust me teen numbers are unnecessarily hard in the English language our system is just so complicated but hey-ho).

I’m sure I’ll get used to it, or maybe I won’t. But it’s part of the job that I adore so I’ll deal with it. Maybe I’ll take up a new hobby over Easter, or learn a new language this summer. The possibilities are endless…


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