Half term is here! The one with Halloween in the middle of it. The one where, all of a sudden, the early nights are closing in and it feels that little bit colder! For many teachers and education staff out there, this break has been much anticipated. After a summer where everything was still a little bit strange and following a busy start to the autumn term, it is paramount that we use this break in all the right ways!
Fancy a fun, restful but productive half term in five easy steps? Keep reading…
Step One – Plot out your Week
Note the use of ‘plot out’ rather than ‘plan.’ We’re not suggesting you spend 8 hours in Costa prepping for your half-term activity! However, as a word of warning: some of the least productive and fun half terms I have had usually went like this:
- Five days doing absolutely nothing worrying about the school work I wasn’t doing.
- Five days worrying about the return to school and cramming in days of planning and preparation.
To avoid this, spend a few minutes plotting out when you’re going to do some school work and when you’re going to completely switch off. This way you can actually switch off from school for a healthy amount of time! You can also feel good about yourself that all jobs that need doing have a time and a place in your week. Much less stress!
Saturday – Rest, swim/gym in the afternoon
Sunday – Family lunch + walk
Monday – 1 hour finishing feedback marking (9-10am)
Tuesday – Day trip out
Wednesday – Planning and slides check (10-12am), Cinema trip
Thursday – Shopping + night out with friends
Step Two – Do Your Homework
When you are spending time preparing for the school return, make sure you’ve plotted this out to be time-limited. Say, 2 hours to go over the lesson plans and slides for the first week back with a fun activity booked in for afterwards. This will stop a task getting dragged out and filling the whole day.
Furthermore, celebrate this when you complete that planning, marking or assessment session. ‘YES! First week back lesson slides DONE! And it’s only Tuesday, I’m a genius!’
Step Three – Consider Some Online Professional Development
There are some brilliant, fully accredited and FREE online courses available here. These would be especially useful for newer teachers, supply teachers, cover supervisors and TAs. Those who don’t necessarily have much work to take home with them, but would still like to engage the brain and develop their practice over the half term:
- There is an introduction to classroom management for those who would like to get their positive behaviour management approach in shape for the next half term.
- An introduction to safeguarding young people is a very useful course for anyone who wants to ensure they’re fully up to date with the latest policy and guidance.
- For those with SEND needs in the classroom, there are courses on ASD and Attachment Disorder too!
Step Four – Take a Break…
OK, super obvious. But super important! The main discussion point here though is around how we take that break. As alluded to above, teachers are perennial planners and tinkerers. It can be pretty hard to switch off after spending many weeks being very involved in the lives of 30+ students and their families. It can often take a day or two to truly wind down…
Consequently, many teachers find it really helpful to know when and how they are taking that break. If you are one of those teachers who find that your body is reclined on the sofa watching TV, but that your mind is still stuck in that literacy lesson that went wrong last week, then this approach could be really helpful for you.
In the plotted out example above, a mixture of restful, active and social activities are pencilled in. Some may even find it helpful to plan in ‘lie in’ mornings or late nights. Again, we want to be making sure we fully relax and enjoy this time without the worry or stress of school pressures.
Step Five – Have Some Fun!
Alright, maybe this should be step one! But it’s very easy during a half term to do the relaxing part and miss the fun part. Book in quality time with friends and family. If (like me) most of your friends and family aren’t teachers, then perhaps create a little solo bucket list and challenge yourself.
Keeping active and taking part in a few stimulating activities is likely to result in you returning to school feeling refreshed and positive!
Thank you for reading. We hope you’ve found this post on half term tips helpful!
Would you like career support? Are you looking for a new role for after the half term?