I don’t think I’d be alone in saying that I love the holidays. Bloody love ’em. This is me thinking about holidays:
There are two main reasons for this:
1. They’re really, really long and…
2. I don’t even have do that much work during them.
Yep, you heard me right.
Of course, there’s the inevitable report writing, planning, reflection, resource gathering, training, preparation, photocopying (apparently, I was out of the room when every other teacher in the land got a hoard of happy pixies to do that for them), organisation of trips, learning the new admin system (that takes you three hours to input your classes’ results and 0.3 milliseconds to accidentally obliterate said results from all time and space) and, let us not forget, everyone’s absolute no.1 pastime. That’s right everybody – endless marking!
Marking stacked so high that it now houses a nest of bald eagles and I’ve had to rent a cherry picker to get to the top of it.
Having said that, in comparison to term time, all that stuff is still like being asked to carry a handful of pebbles in your pocket after months of having to deal with a half a tonne of boulder on your back.
So, relatively, I have extremely pleasant holidays. I get up decadently late, I often spend inordinately long periods of time in my pyjamas and I have the luxury of time to catch up with friends and family (when they’re not at work, heh).
And you know what? I’m not sorry. I chose this career and all that it entails. I get to shape young minds and maybe bestow something that will be a benefit for them at some point later down the line and that’s why I do it. But I also chose this job with eyes wide open to the fringe benefit of a long holiday and I’m not ashamed to say so. Was it a primary concern? No, but it was a significant perk.
The response by teachers on the current attack on holiday time is one that’s perfectly valid. Teachers work damn hard and not just during the period where children are in school. The only problem I have is that emphasising the fact that we slog our guts out, even during the holidays, smells like an apology for having the time off we’re entitled to.
Even if we all spent the entire time being fanned on some pristine white-sanded beach whilst monkey butlers bring us neon-blue cocktails with umbrellas in them so large we could actually use them to stop getting wet from the spray as white-teethed, tanned jet-skiers zoom past, tossing us a freshly caught lobster that we’ll have our personal chef prepare for us for the evening’s dinner party*, it shouldn’t matter a jot.
It’s part and parcel of the job we all signed up for. I make no apologies for wearing pyjamas way past the hour where it is decent and civil to do so and neither should you.
If you wear pyjamas that is. Some people prefer a t-shirt and boxers. But that’s just sick.
*Just in case anyone who writes political speeches is reading this, I would like to point out that this is a skewered view of the reality of teacher holidays and I do not expect it to appear on the news being parroted by some suited no-mark as evidence of the luxurious privilege and opulence of teachers. I myself much prefer veal to lobster and I wouldn’t dream of handling raw food when I have an army of servants on standby. I pay them with my king’s ransom of a monthly salary and still have oodles left over. Thank you.