With the majority of schools finishing last week or in the next day or two, many teachers are taking a deep breath and looking forward to some time out. It is vital that teachers have some down time over the festive period but it can be very hard to switch off when they know how much work will be waiting for them.
A recent study of around 90 teachers from across the UK by academics at City University in London, has found it’s critical for teachers stop working in the holidays to avoid burnout and exhaustion. The last few weeks before the schools break up can be extremely hard and stressful for teachers as not only are they having to carry on with teaching the pupils like they normally would but also plan in Christmas activities, organise Christmas plays, sort out their own Christmas shopping and ensure their marking and planning is up to date. They may also have to think about changing displays for when the children return in January.
Stress can very quickly pile up, just like the work that needs marking seems to. Work breaks are essential to re-setting the physiological response to stress, and may even have lasting effects on a teachers health and wellness.