The festive season is upon us, which means a well-deserved break for teachers everywhere.

Whatever your plans are for the Christmas break, make yours count with these seven motivational tips.

1. Start planning for the new term

It’s a good idea (if time allows) to try and get ahead by planning for the new term.

However, this doesn’t just mean doing a stack of marking. Take this opportunity to think about what fun and creative lessons you’ve been putting off, or activities that have been lingering on your to-do list. It could be a lesson on mental health; a fun chemistry experiment or even exploring cultural activities like learning a new language or writing letters to children abroad.

2. Begin thinking about upcoming school trips

School trips are a fantastic way to get children learning and thinking outside the classroom. From visiting a place of cultural or educational importance, to exploring a whole new city or country, trips help students build new skills, increase their confidence and become more culturally and socially aware.

TEP helps schools plan incredible school trips to China, which have a number of life-changing benefits for teachers and students alike. Take a look at our page for inspiration or get in touch to learn how we can help with the organising process.

3. Get plenty of rest

As college Professor and design-learning advocate John Spencer puts it: “When teachers rest, we all win.” Point being, rest is important…perhaps even more important than the term planning and trip organising mentioned above.

Many teachers are often led to believe that the ‘good ones’ are ones who spend their entire break being productive for the term ahead. This is what Spencer calls the ‘martyr syndrome’ and it doesn’t do anybody – including the children – any good. The only likely result is exhausted, burnt-out teachers.

This festive break, do anything you can to relax. Whether that’s enjoying a glass or two of wine with friends; catching up with family or simply binge-watching True Detective…remember that being unproductive has its place and leads to more passionate, energetic and patient teachers.

4. Schedule any important appointments

It’s so easy for teachers to put off essential appointments during term time. Use the school break to catch up on any appointments you may have been putting off, such as an eye test or a dentist appointment. Your health is important and there’s no better feeling than going into a new term knowing you’re in tip-top shape.

5. Revisit a favourite hobby (or take up a new one)

Some teachers find it really difficult to relax, in which case our advice would be to distract yourself. The best type of distraction is to focus on a hobby you love doing – perhaps one you’ve barely had time for lately. Or indeed, take up a new hobby you’ve always wanted to try.

Exploring hobbies keeps our brains engaged and motivated, whilst also giving us that much-needed respite from the usual demands of everyday life. Whether you get out your old cross-stitching kit; revive that dusty instrument, or take up a new sport, trading teaching for learning will likely leave you feeling revived and refreshed.

6. Take a teaching course or learn a new skill

Many teachers use the holiday periods to think about the next steps in their career or how they would like to expand their professional skillset. The school break can be a good time to take a self-learning course, either residentially or from home.

There are lots of great online learning resources for teachers such as Udemy, Skillshare and FutureLearn.

7. Remind yourself why you love teaching

Teaching is no easy job. It often involves plenty of obstacles, frustrations and additional pressures…from dealing with challenging students (and parents) to delivering reports, meeting endless deadlines and preparing for Ofsted inspections.

It can be so easy for teachers to fall out of love with teaching and to forget why they chose it in the first place. Take some time during your break to remind yourself why you love teaching and put that as your main motivation. Forget targets, planning and admin work for a moment, and think about what drew you to teaching and how much the students benefit from your work.

By remembering why you are doing what you do, you’ll be much more likely to start the new term feeling motivated and inspired.