This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Australia, which closed in 2021.

What Teachers Really Get Up To In The School Holidays

Most of our time is spent justifying why we get so much time off.
Think we're doing this for 12 weeks a year? We're not.
Think we're doing this for 12 weeks a year? We're not.

I'm not going to lie, teachers get incredible holidays.

But as Spiderman's teacher once said, with great holidays comes great responsibility. So what is it these superhumans get up to for 12 weeks a year?

Staying Up Late

During the term, 9:30 pm is the time teachers wind down -- if they haven't already fallen asleep on the couch. But when it's holidays, it's a whole new ball game. We're talking staying up until 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, even 11:00 pm.

Nice knowing you, teacher bedtime.

Who would have thought that you can make bookings at restaurants after 9:00 pm? Or that there are places in the 'real world' that actually serve meals -- kebabs... delicious, garlicky kebabs -- after midnight.

That's right, I actually made it to midnight. #hardcore

Thinking About Our Class

At some point during all holidays teachers get figuratively slapped in the face with two stages of realisation.

Stage One: The Holidays Are Over Soon.

There's a class of kids who are coming back at the beginning of next term. This usually leads to some sort of panic about planning, preparing, organising, resourcing and setting up the lessons for the first couple of weeks. It may also include researching ways to extend students who need to be pushed while also working out the best way to assist those students who need more time to grasp a concept. Pinterest, TED Ed, Teachers Pay Teachers, Instagram and Teach Starter all get a hefty workout at this point.

Around this time, teachers remember a whole bunch of things they were supposed to follow up or complete. Which begins Stage Two: Beating Ourselves Up For Not Following Something Up.

This could be a variety of things we take on as massive, world-ending problems, such as: A student didn't complete a restorative behaviour reflection sheet, a parent email wasn't sent, that subtle lunchtime conversation with a kid about their friendships didn't happen, or we forgot to check how many of the top 200 words a kid in their class can fluently recall.

Don't get me wrong, they are problems, but the amount of pressure we put on ourselves during our time on holidays can be ridiculous.

Having a 'Sick As' Time

There is no doubt holidays are fully sick. Like, really sick. Well, the start of them are. And by sick imagine a 'Man Flu' and a 'Bird Flu' got together, had a few drinks, shacked up for the night and produced the next generation of evil viruses.

Bird... Man Flu? Yep, Birdman Flu.

Picture the worst flu you've ever had, but stronger. Can you think of a better way to start any period of holidays than sweating and hallucinating in bed, thinking you've forgotten some aspect of your planning or most recent pre-assessment? Yuck.

Listening To Music... With Swear Words

Forget about that 'Engaging Curiousity, Wonder and Creativity', 'Mindfulness and Meditation' or 'The Kids Are Listening' playlist. We are talking full-on, adult music.

No Disney songs here. Okay, maybe a few, but they aren't the majority.

You know it's holidays when you're happily embracing the dreaded 'F' word or 'S' word.

Justifying Why We Get Holidays

Once we've made it out of our beds, survived another onslaught of 'Birdman Flu' and ventured out into the real world, we face real people. Non-teaching people. People who don't quite understand what a day of teaching actually entails, but know exactly how many weeks of holidays we get.

Which is normally around the time a conversation like this ensues:

Non-teaching Person: Hey, Dan. Are you on holidays again?

Me: Ah, yep.

Non-teaching Person: You guys get, like, heaps of time off. What is it, 12 weeks?

Me: Ah, yep.

Non-teaching Person: You know I haven't even taken any leave yet? I mean, don't get me wrong, I respect, you know, what you do, and stuff, like, it's really important. But, you guys seriously get so much time off.

Me: Yeah, it probably would look like that. What time do you get to have lunch?

Non-teaching Person: What? Whenever I want. Usually between some meeting or if I need a break.

Me: Interesting. Do you just walk out to the toilet whenever you want?

Non-teaching Person: What? Of course.

Me: Interesting. So you can just go whenever you feel like it? Do you go into the cubicle next door and tell the other person, just in case someone comes by, an emergency breaks out or something happens in your office?

Non-teaching Person: Who would ever have to do that?

Me: Hey, with that team of six people you're currently working with, how many visual and organisational methods do you use to support their comprehension and fully scaffold their understandings, to help them achieve their personalised success criteria? Do you keep learning logs of the effective or ineffective strategies that work with your team, before sharing them with other colleagues? Do you enjoy then researching ways you could be developing those strategies to enrich your team's learning, efficiency and all round human contributions for the future?

Non-Teaching Person: Um... good to see you again, Dan. Ah, enjoy the break.

Me: Best of luck with the team.


You can see more from Daniel on his blog.

Suggest a correction
This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Australia. Certain site features have been disabled. If you have questions or concerns, please check our FAQ or contact