I am just coming to the end of my first ever 'teacher's long Xmas holiday'.
Previous holidays have always involved going to work in the hiatus between Xmas and the New Year. These were curious days of doing a very small amount of work - usually from some arsehole-client who only gave us work when every other firm was shut - and a lot of buggering about doing nothing in particular. And with a bit too much time on my hands, usually some whiskey-induced melancholic introspection and stock-taking.
Paradoxically the year, whilst I am actually at home for the holidays I have far more to do in terms of course work, planning and marking. And for once, I am actually looking forward to going back to it all.
In my last years in the old job - I found myself in the unenviable position of being the governor at the annual works do. This meant staying relatively sober and being button-holed by some pissed-up back seat driver who would then tell me where I was going wrong and what they would have done. Being a tolerant sort of chap I tried to take this in tolerant good humour - but it did wear thin after the third or fourth ear-bashing. A variation on this, and one that I had to restrain myself from joining in with because in truth I agreed totally, was a similar ear-bashing about how things aren't what they used to be - and that as a trade we were all doomed.
In contrast I was at the school staff Xmas bash this year:
In terms of the what I've been used to having worked in Soho for all these years, as bashes goes this was a bit woeful. And teachers let off the leash definitely fall into the category of what one of my old reprobate colleagues used to dismissively call 'amateur drinkers'. But as I quietly propped up a darkened corner of the bar, I was similarly buttonholed by someone telling me that - in spite of everything I might hear - teaching really was the best job in the world. Not once, but on three separate occasions. So starting a New Year on a positive note for once - I'll take that all as some sort of endorsement.