Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The truth about teacher holidays

„Oh, you’re a teacher, you must have so much free time and how many weeks off do you have per year?“

All teachers will exactly know what I’m talking about. People just assume teachers have lots of holidays and next to teaching they don’t have anything else to do. Well, guess what, teaching is actually the smallest part of the job.

I don’t know about teachers and other jobs in other countries really, I assume it’s similar, but what I’m writing here, is totally based on my experience in Switzerland.

Teachers work very hard. We prepare lessons, units and we have to plan the whole school year, must of us do it for several subjects and also try to link them in various ways. Then there are different school events to be organised, tests to be graded and corrected and getting the classroom ready. Next to correcting test, we also correct worksheets and other things the students have worked on. In order for the kids to have something to work on, we have to print and copy lots of things. We write midterm reports and reports at the end of a semester and let’s not forget all the meetings, emails and talks we have with the parents. That requires a lot of energy and patience. Must people have no idea how many emails per day I get just school related, whether it’s from parents, other teachers, the principal or someone else related to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, so I don’t see all this as a waste of time. What I’d like to say, is that when the lesson is over, work for teachers is not over yet. I either come earlier or stay longer, to correct things and get material ready. Other people don’t have to do anything when they get home from work. I try to do all my school related work at school, so that when I get home I can relax and focus on other things. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t really ;).

So there is the time every day after school, but then there are also the holidays and yes we get a lot of them, but actually most of us, spend around half of our holidays planning and preparing the school year. What I do is always have a max time per day to work on school stuff, not more than 3 hours, so that I can enjoy the rest of the day. I might work more when it’s raining outside and on warm and sunny days I don’t do anything at all. Actually I stay home (meaning staying in Switzerland) a lot during my holidays, I don’t go anywhere for every holiday I get. I might do some day trips or long weekends and then I probably have one big holiday during the year and the occasional city trip.

So as you can see, a lot of the “free” time teachers are believed to have, is actually work related. I would say that I’m very good at organizing my time, because I still have time to blog, sing, meet friends, read etc. And yes, we might get more holidays than other jobs (at least in Switzerland, I don’t know about other countries), but we also work during our free days from time to time.

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