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What to do in the Summer. The Teacher Balancing Act. Work or Play?


What to do in the Summer. The Teacher Balancing Act.

Development and Planning Vs. Recharge.

So your summer vacation/holiday is started or if you are in the UK it’s 2 weeks away! But now teachers are wondering what to do in the summer.  Should you just relax and recharge? Should you catch up on development and plan for September? Or can we find a balance? It really depends on you. Personally I put more focus on the recharging element (Sometimes way too much!) as I teach at 100 mph and by the summer I’m really running on empty.

To start with though, here’s a song I found on YouTube that we can all relate too, have a listen; it made me chuckle.

Putting Development and Planning First?

It is tempting to want to fill your summer with development, planning and training. True, it could make you a better teacher and will make September run more smoothly. The video below features teachers saying things like “If you want to do the job well, you do not sit during the summer”. Whilst I do agree with this to some extent; we all want to do the best by our students (if we didn’t we would be in a different career) I am also hesitant to suggest that any teacher fill their summer with work and development.

In my opinion this will lead to burn out very quickly. Surely it is better to think long term and pace your career a bit? After all, what is better; a teacher that smashes out the work in the summer only to burn out after a few years or a teacher who can sustain the intense pressure the job puts on us by taking a step back during the summer?

Putting Relaxing and Recharging First?

I always start my summer with good intentions of getting some serious planning and preparation done during the summer. However, 90% of the time I end up doing the bare minimum and cramming lots of panicked work during the last week. This does not help with the anxiety of going back to work, thus partly undoing all the good relaxing I’ve done during the summer. Here is a link to a post I wrote on “The Fear” of going back to work, check it out. The Fear

The other thing that I find that happens if your summer consists of only relaxing is you lose sense of reality! Days blur into each other and before you know it September is approaching with ever increasing speed. The video below describes this with pinpoint accuracy.


The Balanced Approach of What to do in the Summer.

The above video gave a few ideas about how to stay sane but I want to take it one step further. What are we good at as teachers? Planning! What I am going to try and do this year is plan a balanced holiday. I’m going to schedule into my week time for work, even if it is only an hour or two every couple of days. I’ll still have plenty of recharge time, I won’t get as much pre-school anxiety and I should enable me to keep a grip on reality! I know….the zenith of summer holidays!

Fingers crossed I can do it this year!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to plan what to do in the summer break, let me know in the comments below.

Feel free to share this on your social media to any friends who may find it useful or interesting.

Other posts you may find interesting:

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How to Set Personal Goals

Teachers Guide to Mental Health

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Photo credit:

Jordan Opel


Paul Stevens-Fulbrook
Paul Stevens-Fulbrook (TeacherOfSci) is a Science teacher, writer and education blogger based in Brighton, England. He started to help support teachers everywhere with the everyday struggles that they are all faced with, both in the classroom and at home.


  1. Good advice teacher of sci. Here I am less than a week into a six week summer and wondering how to get the balance right. I have booked a couple of days into my schedule to go into school. I will look through my to do list and make sure I am very clear about how I will use my time there. I have arranged to meet a couple of colleagues on those days so we can bounce ideas off each other. I will be starting a new post in September in the senior management team with responsibility for data and monitoring so I’m going to read up on this during the summer. I find I do have to keep up momentum in the summer which entails relaxing but coming back to the ‘to do’ list at least once a week and thinking about it. The summer is also a good time to read and research around education and your subject.

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