Summer “working”?

Teaching is hard work, but enjoyable. And to me, planning to teach is not work at all, it’s play. Let me explain.

I am on holiday in the Dordogne, and it is 30 degrees already (10:45 CET) but I am blogging after cleaning the pool then doing some quick research and “link stashing” on Diigo (more later). This afternoon I will have a swim and sit by the pool reading “Guerilla teaching” and catching up with blogs and TED talks.

If you’ve met me you will know that what I like doing most is teaching, followed by talking about teaching. I can probably put “planning to te


ach” and “reading about teaching” somewhere on that continuum, all higher than, say, marking, and all of those are stratospheric compared to DIY and gardening.

So yesterday evening I had the great pleasure of drinking cold Kronenbourg while watching TED talks and Robotics videos on YouTube, playing with algorithm visualisations and organising my bookmarks about all of them. I learned, about quantum entanglement , robots that swim and considered buying 3d model specs for “logic goats”.

I’ve already finished “Teach Like a Pirate” this holiday and I’m now on “Guerrilla Teaching” before switching to novels for a while. As Dave Burgess says in TLAP, my brain will continue to process the ideas in both books subconsciously while I enjoy the non-teaching material.

But then I read this article in the Guardian’s “Secret Teacher” column. “By working in the holidays, teachers are showing that they don’t need them, that they needn’t be paid well for the time they allocate to a crucial job that is supposed to improve society. They are devaluing themselves.”

Hmm, now I said earlier, I love planning for teaching, I stash away ideas, I refocus on what is important. I learn “soft” skills (thanks @BurgessDave for making me remember my passions) and subject knowledge (I practiced coding by writing some JPEG image filters in Python). For this work I feel more confident about September.

Should I have done this? Or tried to find the time in September? I don’t know, apart from the self-knowledge that tells me I would be much more nervous about starting school, less centred, less well-prepared mentally if I did nothing over the holidays.

Confucius is quoted as saying “Find a job you love and never work again”, and this sums up my attitude to teaching. I will always “work” in the holidays because it’s fun.


By mraharrisoncs

Freelance consultant, teacher and author, professional development lead for the NCCE, CAS Master Teacher, Computer Science lecturer.

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