What most people don’t realise is that most teachers work just as many hours as the average joe. It is just squashed into less weeks. Most people question whether schools need to have that much leave and holidays. After all, couldn't kids work a little longer. Here are three reasons why school holidays are necessary:
1. Kids are exhausted and need time to rest and unwind: School has changed. There are sooooo many things that kids do during the school day. In some cases, kids attend 3 intense learning workshops within the first few hours of a school day. They are thinking, moving, creating and constantly showing their learning. Younger kids in particular need time to rest and heal. They get sick just like adults. As well as busy like adults. People often underestimate what children do after school hours. They often do tutoring, sports or music lessons. These little developing brains need time to rest, sleep and heal.
2. There needs to be a time to reflect, evaluate, pause and plan for the next period of learning: There needs to be time in any cycle when you stop and reflect. The pace of schools is often frantic. I describe being a teacher as similar to drag racing. Hard, fast, intense. Stop. Prepare. Hard, fast, intense. Stop. Prepare. This continues during the year. Teachers need time to properly analyse student work and data as well as evaluate what has and has not worked. To plan rich and deep learning, you need time to plan. Teachers spend time on their holidays planning, analysing work as well as catching up on the mountain of things that they could not do during the term. In addition, there is a shift that professional learning can be on the holidays as opposed to during the school terms. This is a necessary process to ensure that students get rich learning experiences that are targeted to their needs. Teachers don’t rest all holidays. The majority of them spend a considerable amount of time finalising the first term as well as preparing for the next.
3. Teachers need time to recuperate and rejuvenate: If people want high quality teachers then you need to let them rest. The heart and soul of schools are the kids and if you want the best people around kids, then you need to accept that they are not superhuman. Teachers also have a personal life. They need time to recover from exhaustion. They also get sick and have a mountain of things to do to keep their home running like everyone else.
So the next time that you moan and groan that teachers get too many holidays, stop and think. Do you want people educating our children at their optimal level? Kids are so busy nowadays and more and more is expected of them. They deserve time to be kids, rest and have fun as well! I wonder what other teachers, parents and the general public think...