Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Summer Holidays Ruin Me

Although I look forward to the holidays with the unwavering single-mindedness of a sailor on shore leave, by about the third day in I become slave to this soul-destroying psychosomatic reboot.

I've taught long enough now to know that this happens, and I have pre-empted my ennui-waterboarding with some community volunteering this year, but now that it over, all those familiar symptoms are kicking in.

First up, I feel wholly and completely insignificant ... because I am. If I stayed in bed until 4pm tomorrow, nobody would care and it would affect nobody. If I died in that same bed tonight, nobody would realise until they notice the biscuit tin is uncommonly full in our 'Welcome Back' staff meeting. During term, I am hardly the Dalai Lama, but colleagues to come to me for advice, kids do come to me for support and cleaners do implore me to take responsibility for my desk. My actions have consequences and my voice has a purpose, but only for 36 weeks a year.

Speaking of which, I've lost my voice. Clearly, I maintain such a bellowing vigorous thunder of a teaching voice that it is now quietness that ruins my glands. It is only now that I use my gentle chat voice with small groups of adults rather than my usual battlefield-centurion PE-teacher voice, that my vocal cords have wilted and died. I'm actually ill right now. I'm snotty, snivelly and gross because my body is crying out for stress and adrenaline; these two friends have become the crutches on which I rest my entire professional existence.

I am good at teaching. It's nice to do things that you feel you are good at. Now that it's the holidays, my positive-feedback-loop of teach -> do well -> feel good -> teach... is blocked. Instead, I am faced daily with all the crap that has fallen by the wayside during the year, such as my unkempt flat, my shrinking network of non-teacher friends (I cannot interact with teacher friends because they, of course, are in Spain) and I am also faced with my desperate lack of hobbies.

Not only is all of the above intrinsically depressing and morbid, it is all experienced through a lens of aching guilt for feeling that way. I know I should be relishing my freedom and should be putting school in the deepest recesses of the back of my mind.

Nope. Can't do it.

I posted an Edutopia article on Facebook to a chorus of sneers from fellow teachers. 'Already???'

Fuck you guys. The honest truth is this. I am planning my new classroom layout almost constantly. I'm looking forward to going back, even though I know full well I will join in disingenuously with the 'Give us another week, you shit' rants, on the first day back.

During the holidays, it's like being unplugged from The Matrix, after having been plugged into The Matrix for so long you forgot that you were actually in The Matrix. Though it's way more stressful and injurious, I'd rather be getting seven shades of shit kicked out of me by the Agents (Ofsted) in The Matrix, rather than sitting in the fusty old Nebuchadnezzar, eating bowl after bowl of gruel.


  1. Refreshing read. Also, true.

  2. That's just how I felt when I retired! Thankfully I have manged to fill most of my time via 100 Word Challenge but it does mean that I still get those withdrawal symptoms at holiday time. That is pants given I'm supposed to be retired!

    Julia Skinner @theheadsoffice

  3. That's two out of the woodwork - any more takers?