Teacher’s Free Time… Is it a Myth?

Think back to teaching NQT year… free time, what free time?

A life? No I don’t have one of those – look at my displays, look at my marking pile, look at my individualised behavior charts and trackers, look at my relationship crumbling, look at my weight fluctuating vigorously (or in my case ESCALATING RAPIDLY!)

If you were not one of these people then fair play(!), the above is not an accurate representation of everyone’s first years (some peoples are much worse).

Over the last four years I’ve been fortunate enough to assist at Teach First’s Summer Institute, supporting and coaching the next cohort of TF trainee teachers through the first six weeks of their ITT.

I have lost count the number of times I have been asked about free time/having a life?

Do I really have to spend all weekend planning/working?

Fresh faced, eager trainees already panicking under the mounting expectations set for teachers.

What worked for me…

There is no right answer as everyone is different. The important thing is that you do take time for yourself – this doesn’t just apply to year 1!

During my first year I left work on a Friday, went out with my other TF friends, usually to the Northern Quarter in Manchester (alcohol usually works other options are available!). I’d wake up Saturday, spend time with friends/girlfriend and happily go off to rugby and all that playing rugby entails until late Saturday evening. The draw back to having a brilliant Friday night and all day Saturday to myself was that Sunday was a long slog – but I never resented it as I’d had sometime all for me – no school work involved!

I would strongly recommend taking either/or day but you will find what works best and undoubtedly this will change over time.

What works for others…

At the end of Monday’s #Primaryrocks I tried to sneak in an extra question and this is what we got:

Cheeky extra question to help with my next blog – what do you do to switch off? How much ‘me ‘time do you take?

@chrisdysonHT : 1.Tweet 2.Sport my kids 3.Watching sport Sat+Sun am.

@Dandan7171: Play in a band and ride a Kawasaki 650 versys rock and roll dreamland!

@retsgitS: After 10 plus years it comes naturally. If it’s not done so be it…always ready for lessons but not the ridiculous filing.

@brogan_mr has blogged about how running helps him – could this help you too?!

@MsIqbal_teacher: An hour every night- reading.Try to stay away from ‘educational texts’ but end up reading something related to education!


@mrholmesTF: Daily cut off at 7pm, with one night a week of no working at all.

@theEYbird 3-4 episodes of ‘Modern Family’ tends to do it!

It is crucial to remember that if your wellbeing starts to suffer it’s likely that the quality of your teaching and the interactions with your pupils will too – take time to recharge and unwind!  

If you would like to share what works for you or comment on any of the above please feel free to below!!


Happy Friday – Take some time for yourself!



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