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Best of both worlds: Estelle’s journey in a pioneering role - Aug 19

Author: sophia.aker

August 2019
We’re all going on a Summer Holiday…

When I told people that I had applied for a job that meant that I wouldn’t be getting school holidays anymore you could tell that they thought I was crazy. They were always polite about it of course, but there was always a look in their eye that questioned my sanity as I answered their inevitable “so, you’ll only be working during term time, right?” with a resounding “No!”.

You see, there is a common belief among some that teachers only work during term time and then only during the hours of 9 – 3. Therefore, it’s unsurprising that a teacher taking on a job that means working during the school holidays seems crazy at first glance but let me dispel this myth. Teachers work though their holidays - planning new schemes of work, marking coursework and even decorating their rooms to make them an exciting learning space for the new school year. They are also not paid for this time. So, in reality, taking on a job that means working in the school holidays isn’t all that much of a shock to the system, plus being paid for my time actually makes a pleasant change, and I have to admit that I enjoy the structure of it. My husband is at work anyway, so it’s not like I would normally be sunning myself on some tropical beach somewhere and because I have the flexibility of working from home, I can still make time to meet up with my teacher friends by scheduling my working hours.

A typical day is structured something like this:

6 - 7 am – wake up, eat breakfast etc.
7 - 9 am – working for a couple of hours
9 – 11 am – catch up with friends / exercise
11 – 1 pm – working for a couple of hours
1 – 2pm – lunch
2 – 4pm – working for a couple of hours
4 – 6pm – walk the dogs / catch up with friends / exercise
6 – 7.30pm - working for a couple of hours

I have found that working in two-hour bursts suits me best as when I work solidly for longer than that I start to get distracted or just stare at the screen. I have also found that I like to work with something on in the background (for the last few weeks Glee has been my go-to background TV show). Being able to break up my day like this has also improved my work-life balance as I am able to spend time exercising or meeting up with friends during the day which was pretty much unheard of previously and I am sure that this has done wonders for my mental health too.

I am also enjoying the novelty of being able to book a holiday during term-time; having been in teaching for over ten years, I had forgotten what it was like to choose when you wanted to go away.

So, yes I am working during the school holidays but I am also, perhaps for the first time, actually being paid for it!

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