According to the NEU, many teachers suffer from stress and a heavy workload during term time, so is it unexpected that many teachers choose to read books about education during their holidays?
There has been some stigma attached to teachers who use their free time reading education books with many on social media showing a lack of understanding and using derogatory language to suggest that they don’t have a life.
There are many reasons why some teachers choose to do this extra reading in their holiday time.
With an ever-increasing workload, there isn’t enough work-life balance to leave evenings completely free during term time for extra-curricular reading. Marking, reports, assessments, planning and catching up with emails often overrun into weekday evenings and even weekends. Very few teachers would feel like grabbing a serious book before bed after such a busy day.
Relaxed for learning
Stress is not the best company for learning and taking on new ideas. During the long summer break, teachers are more likely to reach the nirvana of reduced anxiety and a sense of peace.
This is the perfect time to be open to new ideas, different perspectives and alternative research. Not only are teachers more likely to retain this information but they will also have the headspace to be able to evaluate them.
New Year, New You
Reaching the end of an academic year is the perfect time for teachers to take stock and consider any changes that could be made for September. Reading over the summer break is an especially good time to absorb new ideas from an educational book and come up with new plans for the year ahead.
Of course, this could also apply to every new term and those holidays during the year are a great time to self-assess and pick out concepts that may improve the rest of the year. Any teacher who is open to changing their mindset can benefit from improvements they make due to ideas gained from reading educational books.
The Instagram Effect
C.S. Lewis famously wrote that “comparison is the thief of joy”. It is certainly true that social media gives the impression that every teacher is spending their summer break learning how to windsurf or climbing a mountain to see the sunrise. At the very least you will see social media posts full of social catch-ups and nights out.
After the stress of the pandemic, it is right for teachers to be making the most of their holiday doing whatever they wish to do but the truth is that very few people are busy every hour of every day in the holidays.
Taking some downtime to delve into an education book is no less worthy than binge-watching a Netflix series or reading a Sunday Times bestseller on a kindle. In fact, there is probably enough time in the holidays to do all three.
There is certainly no obligation for teachers to read education books in their spare time but those that choose to are taking advantage of an opportunity to build on their professional knowledge.
Like all professions, the skills learned at university are not an end goal. Teachers should never think that they know everything. Often new knowledge and skills gained from reading educational books can end up making life easier.
Teachers should support each other and accept their differences rather than offering criticism to those who choose to spend their time reading educational books.