The most wonderful time of the year?

How are you feeling right now?

Elated, or exhausted?

Jubilant, or jaded?

Full of Christmas cheer, or dreading the onslaught?

After a mammoth term's work, teachers everywhere are looking forward to a break. Christmas is the perfect time of year to rest, read, reflect and remember that you have a family and friends.

But for many teachers, it simply doesn't work that way.

The pile of mock papers that need marking squat in the corner of the room as you wrap your gifts. The data folder that needs highlighting and annotating gets shifted around the kitchen as you make the mince pies. The resource cards you promised yourself you would laminate this week get scattered under the rug as you hastily tidy the living room in preparation for relatives. Amongst the emails promising you last-minute bargains, you get a to-do list from a clearly soulless member of SLT.

Worse, your kids are wary of your sudden presence. Who is this person and where have they come from? Are they allowed to make eye-contact, or will you 'suddenly remember' something you have to attend to on your laptop? Dare they help with some festive baking, or will you commence with a mental arithmetic test to assess their prior knowledge? Do they have to ask permission to go to the toilet? Will you even remember their names, or cycle through the list of 30 kids in your class first?

Your partner welcomes you with open arms. You're back! For a whole two weeks! Thank GOD! They grin wholeheartedly at you and then produce a list of household chores.

Your cat vomits on the floor. Well, on the floor next to the mock papers. It has time to soak in a little before you find the cleaning supplies. Your partner moved them to a different cupboard four months ago.

Your Twitter ban lasts approximately 5 hours. But it's so lovely to have the time to connect with others! You immediately get into an argument with Michael Rosen. Your partner takes away your phone when you start taking pictures of yourself defiling his books. Your youngest isn't too happy with you either. They're his books.

You snuggle up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and the TES. It seems there is a recruitment and retention crisis. Everyone is leaving because they can't sustain the pace and energy needed to keep up with endless, pointless government demands. Ha! Not you. You're one of the stayers. You look around. The house seems very quiet. Where is everyone? You search to no avail, and call your partner.

"I'm so sorry!" The sound of Christmas carols in the background.

"We didn't mean to go without you! It's just that you can never usually come to anything..."

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