What happens when it’s wet break?
No teacher ever wants to hear that it’s wet break. This usually means that chaos will ensue and children will be ‘hyper’ for the rest of the day.
Wet breaks are normally timed by the weather gods to fall on a day when you have a lesson observation or when you are just feeling under the weather.
The problem of having an indoor generation is that going outside can be a big ask. Even if you are outside, there can be some members of staff who want stand for fine rain. Comedian Peter Kay has had us in stitches with observations and school memories of tabard-wearing lunchtime supervisors, aka ‘Dinner Ladies’, who have for years been saying in playgrounds across the land, “It’s spitting, everybody in!”
It’s spot on too. At the first sign of rain, it’s almost like we’ve been conditioned to seek shelter in case we die of rain. If it’s tipping down then it’s a tipping point and game over.
But wet break doesn’t have to be like this. Wet break can be spent outside. Children have coats, wellies and umbrellas and so do staff. When it’s raining, go outside. Let children experience it for goodness sake. As the saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing,” and how true this is.
If children were allowed to go out when it’s wet play then this would avoid them causing havoc and hysterical mayhem if kept inside to run wild. Here’s an example from one wet break I won’t forget.
Imagine the scene. It’s raining and a message comes via TA Viv that “It’s wet break”. My heart sinks and leaps at the same time. It sinks because I know the kids will be off balance for the rest of the day. It leaps because I’m not on duty.
I’m just get settled in the staffroom with a cup of C 8 H 10 N 4 O 2 when I realise I’ve forgotten my Bourbons so I decide to nip back to class and grab them.
Miss Halliday is on duty and she was down one end of a very long corridor and so that meant classes at the other end (where my class is) were essentially unsupervised. What happens when this happens? Children mess about – not all – but there will always be a few key characters who are going to push it.
Before I even get to my classroom I can hear squeals and shouting and know that something pretty serious has happened. I walk into a puddle of pandemonium. Actually, I walk into a classroom with puddles because someone has emptied the fish tank of goldfish and they are wriggling about on the floor desperately clinging on to the little life they have left.
Sensing my fury, the class went completely silent and I went completely mad as I desperately tried to scoop up the goldfish. Then Miss Halliday poked her head round the door and asked if everything was okay.
No, Miss Halliday, it was not okay. Wet break is never okay. It sends children loopy.
Wet breaks vary in their catastrophe factor of course but a calm and orderly classroom isn’t always that good either. Can there be anything more depressing than seeing 30 children all using an i-Pad for the duration of break when they could in fact be outside getting fresh air, splashing in puddles and exercising. So what if it’s raining! Get them out and experience an analogue education not digital drowsiness. It might also decline the death rate of goldfish (and they thought they were safe).
We don’t need a Wet Break Coordinator and we don’t need to fill our classrooms with games, activities and tech, we just need to say, “Everyone, get outside, it’s spitting!”
Wet breaks are great for wellbeing and mental health but only if they are spent outside. No more indoor wet plays….ever. It’s the law.