It’s the summer holidays. Now, before you all scream and shout at me, let me explain.
All I want from a summer holiday is time to switch off, relax, spend time with my family and recharge my batteries.
Don’t we all?
Some of my friends are brilliant at it. I’m not, and it drives me mad. That’s the curse for me: the inability to stop and forget.
I am HOPELESS at switching off. I spend half of the holidays getting cross with myself for thinking about plans and lessons, classroom displays and resources. As the weeks go on, I get better at forgetting. For example, in the first week, I spent a few hours in school and two evenings planning. This past week, I have thought about doing some planning a lot, but not actually done any. That’s progress for me. But the problem is, I have still thought about work. Even on my non-working days, I have managed to order resources, read the Assessment Commission’s leaked report, email it to people who are sensible enough to not log into their school emails for a few weeks, book a school trip, book an animal roadshow and enquire about drama groups coming into school. All of this is while I’m not working.
I am absolutely rubbish at forgetting about work. That hasn’t come from pressure from above, or a lack of organisation during the term, but just my own stupid control-freak tendencies and need to get things sorted. It doesn’t make me a better teacher – in fact, it probably goes some way to make me a worse one as I haven’t had the proper break I deserve. When strangers (and even some people who know me well) bring up the old “oh, you teachers are only in it for the holidays” debate, I don’t get sucked into it any more. I don’t tell them about the hours in school tidying and putting up displays, or planning and sorting my class out. I nod and agree: the summer holidays are amazing, and a definite bonus of the job, but they aren’t as school-free for me as they should be. At the start of the holidays, I wrote my #Summer10 list of things I wanted to achieve over the 6 weeks. I think it was a great idea for me, as it made me stop and think about how I would use my time. I didn’t want to get to the end of another summer break with a list of “I wish…” . Instead, I’ve been busy ticking off all of the fantastic things I have done with my family – and there are still more to come.
I think I have always been like this, but I don’t think Smart Phones and Twitter have done me any favours. I love Twitter: I think it is an amazing resource, but it can take over. It’s too easy to catch up on a publication or get involved in a debate, to share a resource or idea or to ask for help from your PLN. I’m clearly not alone in my addiction – the #ukedchat question last week revealed a huge amount of teachers sharing their “bad” points about Twitter were that it was time consuming, addictive and took over theie lives (incidentally, it did reveal an enormous amounts of positive reasons too!!).In the good old days of having to get a computer out and switch it on, doing something for school was just a bit more of an effort, less convenient, so therefore less likely to happen.
So, I’m making a stand. From tomorrow morning, I won’t have a laptop, just my iPhone for the next 10 days. It’s going off. No Twitter, no Facebook, no blogs or stat checks, no Google searches. Just the very occasional text to let people know we are all still alive. That’s it. I’m not sure I have been so disconnected for a very, very, long time.
I’m looking forward to it already. But not as much as MNQTH is. He might actually get his wife back for a few days.