MPs have joined the call for school terms to be staggered so that families are not forced to pay up to £1000 more for a holiday in August. 

Leading the campaign, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said: “It’s not right that kids’ education is being used to exploit hard-working parents.” 

She is demanding a government shake-up of the UK system that can see families paying up to 124% more for their summer vacations. 

Spare a thought, then, for teachers who have no choice when it comes to choosing holiday dates. And facing higher costs is not their only summer challenge. Whether you’re a head teacher, classroom assistant or lecturer, serious ‘me time’ is the key to happiness and longevity in teaching – but learning to relax can be difficult for professionals accustomed to the strict routine of rigid timetables.  

After a few days, however, being ‘off the clock’ will feel normal. After all, this is the one holiday period where for many teachers there is no exam marking. Despite this, many will use their free time to write lesson plans, while some even admit to going into school to tidy classrooms or sort paperwork. 

For others the summer break is the best time to reflect on the previous months, assessing what went well in lessons and, perhaps, what could have been done better. 

Finally, for many this is simply the time to enjoy time out from school life.  

And who could blame teachers for taking a well-earned opportunity for some extra-curricular R&R – the chance to lounge on a sunny beach… or even do something much more interesting? 

This could be learning a new skill, such as speaking a second language. As an education professional, you already have the advantage of having a systematic approach to learning that will help you more easily master new vocabularies and grammar. 

Travelling to the host country is certainly the best way to learn a language – as well as immersing yourself in its culture, you can also appreciate its food and drink! 


However, if you plan to study at home, there are lots of resources online – even streaming news reports and soap operas from another country and following the subtitles in English is a great way to learn. 

Primary school teacher Anne McCafferty is spending her summer learning Spanish in Barcelona. 

“This is the third year in a row I’ll be travelling there,” she says. “For me it’s not just about the language classes though. It’s such an incredible and beautiful city – there’s always something new to see and do. It’s the best place for me to unwind from the time spent with my youngsters.” 

Volunteering is another popular pursuit for holidaying teachers. The National Trust has been hosting working holidays for more than 50 years, with participants helping to look after some of the finest countryside, coast, historic houses and gardens in England and Wales. 

Such breaks are also an opportunity to gain new skills. Maths teacher Simon Williams spends his weekends during the holidays helping improve forest trails and mountain paths. 

“The work we do enhances habitats for native wildlife, but it also gives me the chance to travel to some of the wildest and most breath-taking locations. 

“It’s certainly a far cry from teaching algebra on a Monday morning! They say travel broadens the mind but volunteering also allows me to put something back into the world. 

“Just as with teaching, it gives me a great sense of job satisfaction!” 

For teachers like Simon the summer weeks open up a range of possibilities. From learning to brew like a barista, to tuning your vocal cords to be a baritone in a choir, learning new skills in a fun environment can be the best way to relax and come back to school feeling fully re-energised. 

Sam Clarke has found his time spent learning to paint is not only a great way to relax but also pays for his summer travels. 

“I only began dabbling in watercolours at a weekend class last year but already I’ve sold a few of my paintings to friends. I’m a chemistry teacher in my ‘real job’ so discovering the world of art has been a real eye-opener for me. 

“I guess the trick about using your holiday time to the max is to find something you really love doing and just go for it.” 

The same can be said for a career in education. Whether you want to become a head teacher one day or love being a classroom assistant, helping others to take positive steps in life will be a role that’s more a joyful vocation than a job. 

As we look ahead to the start of the next term, there are many roles across the UK where your talents will be in demand. So why not boost your career this summer by taking a look at the latest vacancies online now?