I think I could get used to these holidays you know!

After a tough year, physically, emotionally and mentally, it’s good to get some rest, relaxation and quality time with the family.

A lot is made of teacher’s holidays. Even when I first started training, people joked about all the holidays and that it must be the only reason anyone could have for getting in to the profession. It is obviously a perk, but a much needed and well earned one.

People also make a big deal about the working hours but again, it’s a fallacy to think that all teachers are out the door at 3.30pm each day. Most I know are kept on with a variety of necessary tasks that can’t be done during school hours (marking, planning, reports, development, meetings, etc etc) and that’s before we talk about the countless extra curricular activities that teachers devote their own time to.

The other side of the coin is that there is a lack of flexibility in the holidays. Half way through a break with the family at Aviemore I realised that it was the last off peak break that we could have for the next 20 to 30 years. I’ve condemned us to pay top dollar for all future holidays. Any family events, weddings and the like, during term time mean unpaid leave. Although, I imagine that most weddings are behind me.

So far it’s been a great holiday, taking in Aviemore, Manchester, Glasgow and Nairn as well as fun at home.

Taking a paddle at Loch An Eilein

A few days in Aviemore allowed us to sample some of the best that Scotland has to offer. Fantastic scenery, great hospitality, good food, and superb attractions. It is often thought of as a winter resort but there’s so much to do for all ages and abilities throughout the summer. With a toddler in tow, we stuck to swimming, soft play, walks, The Highland Wildlife Park and the Cairngorm Funicular Railway.

Shuffleboard at the Gasworks, Manchester

Next up was Manchester for Radiohead. I love Manchester. I’ve been a number of times for gigs and football. I was down with a few experienced teacher friends so got to have a good blether about my training, the problems I had with GTCS and my new position. One thing for sure, I’m joining a very supportive profession and I’ll always have someone to talk to and get advice from. It isn’t always going to be a smooth ride and even experienced teachers can have difficulties. It’s about making sure that you talk things through and get the right back up.

It wasn’t long before the shop talk went out of the window and the beers and cards came out. I might not allays get the same support if I play that well at poker! In Deansgate we found a great bar/micro brewery, The Gasworks. A superb range of craft beers and my new favourite pub sport, shuffleboard!

We made it to Old Trafford just in time for the first bars of Radiohead’s opening number, ‘Let Down‘. They are mesmerising as always. Arguably the best band in the world. I know that they are not everyone’s cup of tea but their sound had evolved and developed over the years to create an incredible sound. The old clichés of ‘boring’ or ‘depressing’ were blown away in a spine tingling 2 1/2 hour set.

 

TRNSMT Festival, Glasgow Green

The new TRNSMT festival in Glasgow Green was the second chance to see Radiohead in a week, this time with my brother, and it was well worth it.  TRNSMT was set up as a replacement for T in the Park due to the issues with their new location. Maybe I’m getting old but this set up was more appealing than T. No camping, no mud, and a lot less neds. Everything you needed right in the heart of the city including some great bands. The early rain justified a wee pit stop at the West Brewery which had some quality craft beers on tap. Just a shame that you have to resort to mass produced generic lager when you get in to the festival area.

Radiohead again blew the crowd away with their first gig in Scotland for around a decade. It’s difficult to pick out highlights given the strength of the set but, the sheer elation in the crowd as the first chords of the seldom played ‘The Bends’, the cheer rising from the crowd during ‘No Surprises’ when Thom Yorke sang “Bring down the government, they don’t speak for us,” or the joy of hearing 35,000 Scots belt out, “this is what you get when you mess with us,” during the final number, ‘Karma Police‘; were definitely amongst the most memorable.

In the meantime, the preparation for August goes on in the background. A PGDE certificate and a GTCS registration certificate have both arrived in the post. I am officially qualified and allowed to teach term and the Aberdeenshire Council have duly confirmed my employment. I was able to get in to the school before the end of term to discuss my timetable and where to pick things up in August. It’s a good bunch of teachers in the department and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in next month. I’ve not done anything in the way of planning so far.

I am far too busy enjoying my downtime to do any work. That can wait till August!

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