Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

To Truly Relax, We Must Give Up Long Breaks

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

To Truly Relax, We Must Give Up Long Breaks

Article excerpt

No government would ever have the courage to take away teachers' generous holiday allowance. It is seen as an integral part of the profession - a non-negotiable condition of employment.

The thinking behind this attitude is that we need long holidays to counteract our horrendous workload. I certainly envy my friends who have balanced lives: a normal working day from 9am to 5pm, with time to recharge, pursue hobbies and socialise with friends. Even at the weekend, teachers are marking or preparing lessons. If they're not doing that, they still can't switch off because they can't avoid thinking about upcoming deadlines and targets. I have a friend who used to put in crazy hours as a currency trader in the City - he is now a teacher and says he has never worked harder in his life.

But I would argue that holidays are the cause of the workload problem rather than the cure. The truth is, we work no harder than any other dedicated professional but our work is condensed into smaller chunks.

We run like the wind for intense periods then stagger breathless into long breaks, before repeating the process. …

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