1. Get out and about
What I enjoy most about the weekend is the chance to get out and about in to a non-school environment. This could be as trivial as walking down the road to the local Costa Coffee for a flat white or to the local supermarket to get the groceries. Or it could be something more meaningful such as a short train journey into London to visit a museum or see a play. Whatever it is, I enjoy being able to spend time with my wife; to eat, drink, interact and enjoy myself – free from the day-to-day experience that is my working week. This does not mean that I am completely switched off though. On the contrary, It is out there, in the real world that many of the ideas I have for teaching exercises reveal themselves. You see, if all you walk and talk all week is education with other educators, eventually the conversation becomes stagnant and new ideas dry up. My best ideas come to me usually when I’m nowhere near school; out there, in the real world.
2. Read the newspaper
During the week I am essentially locked in an education bubble. Sunday morning is catch up time. I need to know what is going on in the world, as both an English and Media Studies teacher, news has a significant impact on my teaching. I prefer to read the news on a Sunday as not only are the “really” important stories reflected on and pulled apart but being the weekend I feel I have the time to truly immerse myself into reading the news. I don’t buy a newspaper however. Instead, I read the Observer online via http://guardian.gyford.com. If you have not experienced either the Guardian or Observer newspaper in this way then I suggest that you give it a go. I feel that it offers the perfect balance between an online and paper based reading experience. And, while I don’t own one I am certain that it would work really well on the iPad.
3. Tidy up loose ends
On a Sunday evening I look through my work inbox and todo list and spend 60 minutes clearing as much as possible before Monday. I try to do something similar on a Friday afternoon before I leave work but there are often bits and pieces that just don’t get done. It could be the case that an email needs to be replied to; a handful of assignments need to be marked; a request for some data or other information needs to be submitted. Or it could be the case that the last few days may have simply been very busy and I have a backlog of emails that either need to be archived or deleted. Once the 60 minutes is up, anything that remains in my inbox or todo list is usually too large a task to be completed on a Sunday evening; requires input from a colleague; or I don’t have all the information to hand. This process has become a ritual and helps to ensure that I return to work on Monday morning free of clutter and ready for the challenges ahead.