This is the fifteenth part of my Reflection Series – a self-reflection of my year teaching in the UK.
What part of the school day is your favourite? Why?
What a fun question!
I actually had to sit and think about this one, it’s not as obvious as you might assume.
My answer would have to be break/lunch time, for a few different reasons.
First and foremost is that I get to eat! Food is life, so being able to eat is always a good thing. Nothing worse than a hangry teacher!
Of course this isn’t always possible as things like playground duties, detentions, tutoring, meetings, etc will always get in the way. Sometimes it is only a maximum of 5 minutes that we’ll have to actually eat, and not always even sitting down, but if you’re lucky you can have a whole half hour to relax a little.
It’s a time when you actually get to see your colleagues. For such a social job, we don’t spend much of it with other teachers! When we can, we use this time to unwind from everything that’s happened so far that day, and prepare for what’s left. We vent, laugh, compare war stories and the little wins, discuss our students and lesson plans, and sometimes even talk about our weekends or the news. We share food and advice, and are interrupted every few minutes by a knock on the door from students coming to ask questions or talk to someone. If you are organised enough, hopefully there isn’t too much lesson preparation that needs to happen, or at the very least you get one of the two breaks free from that side of work. There’s nothing worst then spending every single lunch break preparing lessons or marking assessment, but sometimes that’s the reality of the work.
I also love this time of day when I get out and walk around a little. Being stuck in a room all day can get a bit much, so being able to wander around during break is always a win.
In this sense I enjoy playground duty because it means you have an excuse to be outside (as long as the weather is good!). I love going around and chatting with the students, teasing them and getting to know them a bit better. I love it even more when they come up to me to chat without prompting. One of my fondest memories is when I was walking along just watching what was happening around me, and one of my year 10 boys sees me, jumps the railing and bounds through the garden calling out, just to come over to ask my advice about something and have a chat. The things like that, ones that can’t happen inside the classroom, make my heart swell so big and still bring a smile to my face. You get to see the students in more of a natural and relaxed environment, and that type of rapport building always helps in the classroom.