Switch Off This Summer

Reading time: 3
shutterstock_293580959 Trendy Hipster Girl Relaxing on the Grass


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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What are you doing to switch off this summer?

It’s the summer holidays for me – I don’t mean to rub it in – and I know many other colleagues will have started their holidays long before I have and others still have a week to go. Either way, we’ll all be soon in the thick of the summer and I’d just like to pose a series of questions to help spread a small culture of teacher well-being amongst our online community.

As we all know too well, social media can portray a false sense of reality. Teaching is exhausting. There is no one strategy or ideology that works better than any other. And with social media, it is all-too-easy to gain a sense of tit-for-tat, or ‘these ideas are great’ or this ‘work is better than yours’ and so on.

The drive by Martyn Reah to push the Teacher5ADay hashtag has seen teachers fill their social-media timelines with content, other than just teaching. For years, I have ‘pushed out’ education content only on my channels, but also know with a large audience, I have a responsibility to model well-being and offer more than just teaching and 24/7 educational news.


So, with well-being in mind and the summer holidays ahead of us, I’d like to you play this short podcast (1 minute) below and ask yourself the questions posed.


What would be your answers to the following questions:

Switch Off?

1. What are you doing to switch off?

For me this is easy. I like to read, write and spend time cooking or pottering about in the garden. All other times is either doing all of those with my son, or activities in or out of the house with him.


2. Are you traveling anywhere within the UK or overseas?

For the past five years, we have not gone overseas for our summer holiday. The reason for this was the birth of my boy born premature and redundancy. Now that we have seen this difficult period leave us, we are in a position to fly away on our first summer holiday as a family and have a well needed rest.


3. What teaching and non-teaching books are you reading this summer? 

There is one book that is not directly related to education that I will be using to relax – and learn more about myself. This book is Inner Story by Dr. Tim O’Brien. Other books related to teaching or three books on leadership I would like to have read this summer. The first is, High Challenge, Low Threat by the wonderful Mary Myatt. Then two other leadership books: The Art of Standing Out by Andrew Morrish and Leadership Matters by Andy Buck.

I also hope to write and self-publish my own book at the end of the summer.


4. What friends and family plans do you have?

The 27th July is a special day in our family. It marks the moment my father passed away in 2004 and for me identifies a period in the year to stop and reflect and remember loved ones. Typically, I visit my father’s resting place – a Scottish Pine in Watergrove Reservoir, Rochdale (Lancashire) – or make arrangements to be with my family. In-between family arrangements, we make plans to wine and dine friends with our love of cooking and BBQs. Rumour has it, there will be a Teacher Toolkit BBQ this summer to mark 150,000 followers on Twitter …


5. At what point will you consider school-based work, and what will you be doing?

Well, this week I am popping back into school (on my time/my schedule) to clear my desk and send a few whole-school projects off to the printer. Some jobs require a 6-week turnaround and they are too important not to be completed. I’ll be back on-site for A level and GCSE results day and probably spend time either side of this period completing key jobs for the 1st September. For example, our new Coaching Guide and Self-Evaluation cycle.

Other chores around the house include clearing out the garage and tidying my office desk!

So, that’s me. What about you?

Write your answers in the comments section below, or tweet your answers to #Summer2016.


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8 thoughts on “Switch Off This Summer

  1. When I first see a post’s title, I have a habit of Considering shat the title might mean for me – a form of assessing ‘prior knowledge’ and possible connections.

    In this case, ‘switch off’ caught my attention. Not in your post but still very consistent, I thought the phrase might refer to the importance of Consideration of change: not only revising our thinking, our approach / pedagogy but also tossing or ‘switching off’ those approaches that become stale or less effective.

    ‘Change’ should always include switching off as well as revising and adapting new…

  2. #summer2016 Planing new A level ( to our school and very recently accreditated spec) plus new GCSE . One person department! Holiday? Not a lot of that this summer

  3. Hi Ross…I’ve just discovered your website here. Looks like a great contribution your are making to supporting teachers. Taking time off in the summer seems like an essential opportunity to recharge.

    One thing I like about your emphasis is that ‘switching-off’ doesn’t mean ‘tuning-out’. You highlight different ways in which people can engage with being away from school. Research and personal experience shows me that making mindful choices about how to spend time is key. Doing what makes your life more fulfilling and meaningful re-vitalises you and means you’ll more likely be refreshed when you return for the next term.

    Thanks, I’ll be back for more.

    1. Thanks Jim for the comment. For the first time in years, I won’t be at my desk for a period this summer. So, I’m looking forward to switching off and using the time to catch up on a few educational reads.

  4. Pingback: Top 10 @Teachertoolkit articles by Stress Free Teacher – Stress Free Teacher BlOG

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