Holidays are coming…
Sometimes, the holidays come and I feel a sense of foreboding.
There are some students I know were willing the term to last that bit longer, who really didn’t want the holidays to begin. Some who stayed in school until the very last moment they could. Some, for whom time spent in school makes it a sanctuary they cling to at all costs. Some, who smile and laugh along while friends talk of their holiday plans or traditions, whilst inside are sad that they don’t have the same happy prospect; jealous, really, that their friends do. Some, for whom this winter break isn’t marked with any festivity, rather it’s marked by the lack of it in this ‘cost of living crisis’. Some who will witness terrible neglect and even abuse, and others who will tragically fall victim to both. Some, sadly, with wisdom way beyond their years.
When we end the term, all we can do is hope we have communicated all we can to those we should in order to keep our young people as safe as possible. Care and communication, when we distill everything down, are all we have.
And then there’s the guilt. Because, as teachers and school leaders, we need this break. The first term is a gruelling one and it hits hard in terms of exertion and exhaustion. We’ve earned a rest. And our loved ones need us to switch off, to connect and to enjoy. We need this too.
But, it’s sometimes in these joyful moments that we remember the young people in our care who are not getting to experience the same. All we can do is pick up again in January, relentless in our pursuit of the best provision, support and outcomes for those we serve; regardless, and sometimes in spite of, their particular contexts.
It’s a tricky thing, this teaching lark - tricky but crucial. A precarious privilege.