Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

It's Crazy, but Overworked Teachers Should Keep Away

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

It's Crazy, but Overworked Teachers Should Keep Away

Article excerpt

Too many teachers are wasting their hard-earned holiday by going into school to perform pointless tasks, writes deputy headteacher Michael Tidd

How many days have you been into school so far this holiday? One or two to clear up after the end of term? A few to put up displays? Best part of a week to build the perfect reading corner? An afternoon sticking on those beautiful tray labels with a matching photograph for each child's name? Or was it maybe just long enough to make sure you were there for longer than that newly qualified teacher down the corridor?

It seems that in a profession that is overloaded with workload issues, there are plenty in the primary sector who are determined to create their own. Not satisfied with working ridiculously long hours during term time, teachers can be found beavering away in classrooms day-after-day throughout the summer.

Well, just stop!

For a start, you're making the rest of us look bad. Sure, when I was a new teacher, I wanted to be in during the summer holiday, putting my mark on the classroom that was soon to be my home, but now, frankly, I'd rather spend the time enjoying the sun, watching the Olympics and generally living the life that has been so lacking throughout the rest of the year.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not going to try to argue the case that there are six weeks of blissful idyll there for the taking. It's not quite that simple, despite what the average tabloid-reader might think. But after 39 weeks of teaching, with some of the longest working hours around, there has to be some down-time.

One concern has to be that we have developed a generation of teachers who are unable to switch off from it all, or who feel that they need always to be doing more.

One of the most important pieces of advice I think any of us can offer a new teacher is to realise that there's always more that could be done; but that doesn't mean that you should always do it. …

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