Enjoy your break, everyone !
The summer holidays are almost upon us and today is my last formal planning meeting for next year. Exam results are out on Friday and so this marks the end of another school year cycle. I have been in the same school since September 1998, so that means this will be my 17th Rentrée in September. I have missed only one in all those years and that was when I was pregnant with Luke, now 13 !!
Personally I adore this time of year, when the promise of two months of summer stretch out ahead of me. This month of July will be studious as I try to prepare as much as possible for the coming year. Nothing is removed from this blog but the ARCHIVES section will get bigger as I have the big tidy-up !! New sections will appear as preparations get underway for next September. New classes, new challenges – today’s meeting will determine which groups and which classes I will be involved in at school. This will influence what new adventures will be happening in my professional life and reflected here and my other blogs.
The summer is, for me, a time to work my way down that reading pile that I love to make for myself. I have already finished three books since lessons ended in June, so now July is here, the serious stuff can begin. An eclectic mix this year, including The Fault in our Stars, Watership Down, The War Horses (a lovely coffee table book) and The Curious Incident of a dog in the night time (or some title like that). Some old favs will be revisited “The Boy in the Striped PJ’s” remains one of my greats ever. I shall be so busy reading that I shall wonder how I ever found time to go to work !! If anyone is looking for me and can’t find me, I shall no doubt be on my sun lounger under a shady tree somewhere in the garden with my book, a cool drink or a nice cup of tea and my iPod, catching up on my year’s work !! Don’t call me as I won’t hear you !!
I’m off for a few days to get a bit of cultural enhancement !!! A long weekend and Paris in May – that sounds all rather delightful, don’t you think ? A trip to the Louvre, a bateau mouche along the Seine, up to Montmartre and taking in a show. Does that sound like a plan to you ? It certainly does to me !!
My youngest, 13 years old, is about to embark on the family cultural experience !! Last time we did this, we spent most of the day chasing around after a bag that “got forgotten” on the bus. It only contained all our electronic goods – camera, GPS, camcorder … well, the good news is that you now only need to take your phone with you, so that is progress – and surprisingly, we got our bag back intact !! The time before that, we went to see a show and our car got towed away during the evening as it was badly parked !!! We spent half the night, getting it back out of the lock-up !! Not hard to understand why our kids are slightly traumatized about going to the capital !! Still, let’s be zen and hope we will not have any disasters this time !!!
Today is the first day of my Easter holidays. Rarely have I waited so eagerly for the holidays to arrive. In the last couple of weeks of school, the kids were irritable, the staff were irritable and it was a generally grumpy atmosphere. But the magic of two weeks break from all of that will pour calming water onto many of those frayed nerves, leaving us refreshed and ready to start anew on May 5th. Lots to do between now and then – Easter eggs to organise, a garden to give some TLC to, some serious Spring cleaning to undertake and maybe a spot of painting – why not ? For Christmas, my lovely husband gave me a “pampering session” at our local beauty spa. I have been keeping it for a special moment – and that special moment has now come. Two o’clock this afternoon for a “Hawaian moment of relaxation” !!!
So forgive me if I take a break from my blogging too – those batteries defintely need a supercharge. The Easter bunny can take over for the time being !!
Love this music video. Want to go for a new idea. Watch this space.
What do you think of this music ?
My eldest son is studying music in the UK and he was part of this mix. I am, of course, his Number One fan !! Click on LIKE if you like his music. If I get a decent amount of likes, I will link in to his Sound Cloud.
One of the aspects of the job of being a teacher that I am finding harder and harder to manage is the “switch off”. I seem to have one of these notices attached to me :
I am finding it more difficult to deal with the never-ending nature of the job. You have never finished because there is always more forward-thinking that you can do. My lessons for the coming week are ready, noted down, on my USB drive (which is safely stored in my bag – as I have a terrible habit of forgetting it), papers are marked and Bob’s your uncle. But there are then the dratted reports to write – no, done those for this week). And of course, I also run training courses – but Friday’s is more or less ready and can be tweaked during the week – so, have I finished ? Well, I guess technically, I could say yes, but there is another lesson that I want to give some thought to, and my blog pages could do with tidying up a bit, and my office and my desk, well, how many piles of stuff can I accumulate in such a small space ? It all needs sorting and filing. And I have this new training course that will be in May … and for next year, I ought to add some new stuff to the training I will be doing on October …
NO ! STOP !
I entitled this blogpost “The Big Switch-off” because that is what I am about to do. My desk light actually conked out on me last night, flickered a bit, fizzed and then died. So I took it as a sign. It is Friday and I have a whole weekend ahead of me. In approximately five minutes, I am going to switch off my computer, not just standby, but actual switch off, and close the door on this corner of my life.
I will not return until Sunday evening, not even to spy on my statistics to see who has read this blogpost in which countries. I will not fiddle, twiddle, tweak or even peak at any of it. I have the in-laws coming for the weekend and I will relax !! I have selected three novels to read – proper paper books and not e-books – and I am going to get halfway through at least one of them. I think it will be the juicy scandal about Henry VIII – the sort of novel I love but don’t take time to read. I will light a roaring fire in the fireplace, make an apple cake and enjoy a nice cup of tea, watching the blue tits on the feeder in the garden, hoping they will find the nesting box that my dad made me for Christmas.
Do you believe me ?
I am determined to do it. How difficult should it be to decide not to work over the weekend ? It is, in my view, one of the big issues that faces teachers (and I am sure, other professions, but I don’t know about them). Surely anyone who works from home will empathize. I am not going to feel guilty about it. I am going to enjoy the downtime. If you are a teacher reading this, and you fancy joining me on the “Downtime Cruisade”, well, welcome aboard but don’t message me here about it, as I won’t be looking. This computer is now officially out of bounds. Do not enter. Go away and relax – yes, Frankie says Relax, so now go and do it. The Big Switch Off offically starts HERE …
When you are feeling tired and in need of recharging your batteries, I can thoroughly recommend a quiet corner in the New Forest. This lovely little thatched cottage is where we have just holidayed for a week. My eldest son, studying in the UK, was able to spend the week with us and my aim was to relax and to recreate a little home from home. Job done !! I made cakes, read books, fiddled with my computer and shopped !! Oh boy ! Did I shop !!!
Now the batteries are indeed recharged and it is time to look forwards to the coming term. There are mock papers to mark, lessons to prepare and training courses to plan – but the warmth of our little Horseshoe Lodge will remain for a long time. The weather here in Normandy is getting better – the daffs are out in the garden. The sky was a beautiful clear blue as we drove home from the ferry at 8 o’clock this morning. Optimism for the coming week.
I think one of the best moments of the holidays is the night before the holidays actually start. The anticipation of two whole weeks with not a lot to do is just delicious.
And this time, with a trip back to the UK and a week in a thatched cottage in the New Forest to look forward to, it is almost too much to bear !!!
Happy holidays to all my students.