First and foremost, before looking at this:
… all the caveats. My sympathy is very much NOT for heads and teachers these days who have fallen to PCism something awful and what makes it worse is that they moan the whole bloody time about how hard done by teachers are.
As you know, I was in the game a long time, at all levels, even teacher training.
However, it’s not all, entirely wrong what they say about holidays. The idea of three term breaks is one Australia has done for a long time. There are so many good reasons why:
1. The interminable summer break in the northern hemisphere is a drain on parents and helps no one. Kids get bored, mothers have to cope, some families still have fathers and they have issues too. Let alone the money drying up.
2. Where kids really need a break is mid first semester. Admittedly the weather is not good – it’s the end of the Indian summer but it’s OK. But four evenly spaced terms is good for kids, good for teachers and allows parents to take kids away in non-peak times, without any of those pesky fines.
Think it was Gove [he whose name is sacrosanct pre-June 23rd], in an exercise of periodic teacher-bashing, who suggested teachers work the summer holidays. This I’m afraid is rank stupidity. Yes, they can go to an empty building and prepare all the lessons for next semester, yes they can decorate the classrooms and have cups of coffee but what’s the effing point, unless it’s meant to be an exercise of periodic teacher-bashing, simply to assuage the ignorati’s ideas of what teaching is like.
You don’t hear me bellyaching about how hard teachers work – look, we had great holidays and the pay was OK for 45 hour weeks [including preparation time]. Teacher salaries are median in the UK, meaning not too bad. Any parent knows it is a challenge entertaining children for long periods of time so this aspect is comme ci comme ca.
However, sitting in empty classroooms doing nothing for six weeks is stupid. Though you don’t like it, the holidays are one of the perks for the teaching profession. Every job has its perks.
The four terms, three break idea makes far more sense, as it involves teachers being at school for a few days at the beginning and end of each break – thereby placating the ignorati, plus it gives everyone a more evenly distributed amount of pain and pleasure throughout the year.