Why you are enjoying your Summer breaks on the other side of the world, while you are preparing for the start of the 2009/2010 teaching year in August, while you are taking time out to reflect on your classroom achievements and planning for the future, please take time out to think of your friends in the Southern Hemisphere. While in the USA you have a summer break in New Zealand we're approaching mid point of our school calendar.
The New Zealand school year is broken up into four terms. Each term consists of ten weeks. We start in the first week in February and between each of our ten week terms we have a two week break or holiday. We also have statutory holidays in the term as well (Waitangi Day, Easter, Queens Birthday, Labour Day, ANZAC Day). Our summer holidays take place from roughly December 20th and run for six weeks. The four ten week terms gives us approximately 200 school days for the calendar year (its marked in half days so it ends up at 394 for the year). Opening hours vary but in New Zealand and at my school its a 8:45am start and a 3:15pm finish.
At the moment therefore were half way through the year, now I'm not suggesting that you go to the extreme of twittering from the crowd at Disneyland as your waiting with your kids to get into the enchanted Kingdom! But please don't forget us over this side of the world if you have a spare moment, as has been said many times before feedback is so important to the students and if its from another country it has a built in 'wow' factor that you just can't underestimate.
Happy holidays to our friends in America! I'd also like to invite someone from Australia and the USA to explain their term workings, the length of the breaks and their bell times, take it away...