Giving attention to 3o children for 6 hours a day is mentally and physically taxing. Morning breaks are a rarity (homework detention-what a meanie!) and lunch breaks are spent shovelling food in whilst getting photocopying done, tidying the piles of books and paper that has accumulated around the classroom, and monitoring any further students who have made a not so good impression during the day and are either in the classroom finishing work or reading outside the staffrooom (again-meanie!). At 3.10, the children are whisked out the door and for those of you who think the day ends there, think again! I breathe a sigh of relief, grab a coffee and wonder where the heck the day went so fast, then either take netball training, take after school tutoring, attend a meeting and then its back to the class to again tidy the piles of books and paper which have accumulated during the afternoon and prepare to do it all over again the next day. And if thats not enough, every single lesson in every single book must be marked and commented on. Its exhausting!
On top of all this, theirs discipline. Discipline is essential in maintaining an effective learning environment, dont even get me started on this topic! Its draining, but its worth it in the end.
And above all, theres the TEACHING and LEARNING. The scary thing is that the teaching part is the easy part, its the part I enjoy the most. Whats scary about that is that because we are loaded with so many other things to do, mostly paperwork, it has the possibility to detract from the all important job we do with the children-ensuring they recieve a broad and balanced curriculum, and I think most importantly, ensuring they are happy at the same time.
Its no wonder that some evenings I come home and pour a glass of wine and make sure I am in bed before 10 so that I have enough energy the next morning to deal with whatever it is that may hit me in the unpredictable environment that is the classroom. And its also no wonder that it comes to holiday time and to say I am pleased is an understatement.
These holidays, whilst making sure I recover from being unwell, and trying to keep regular sleeping patterns (!) I am also making sure I spend my holidays doing things which I would not usually get the time to enjoy or get done.
Footnote: I am most definitely not saying that teachers are the only people who deserve and need regular time off.
Next blog post:How I am utilising these holidays!