Coming up to the Easter weekend I, along with everyone else, am looking forward to a long weekend with both Good Friday and Easter Monday giving a nice break at this time of year. While many third-level Colleges have a two-week break at this time, the National College of Ireland does not. Not having a break means that in this week and next, two days are lost with no classes on Friday or Monday. Several people I meet are often surprised that there isn't a two week Easter for me just like in schools and many other Colleges.
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So - is it better to have a two-week break or not?
Semester II is 12 weeks long. We operate as Reading Week during the week when St Patrick's Day occurs. While the College is open, no classes take place, and it is also a busy time for staff with very few taking annual leave. Other Colleges don't do this. This gives a break in the middle of the Semester rather than at the end. DIT for example operate a 12 week semester - this year weeks 1-10 run sequentially, followed by a two-week Easter break, and then weeks 11-12. Obviously this changes from year-to-year as Easter moves around. Having a break followed by just two weeks of classes doesn't appeal to me - I think I'd prefer a break in the middle of the semester and finish the semester earlier as we do in NCI.
One of my most read posts over the past year or so is about "Semester Fatigue". This week is #10 of the semester and already I and my students are weary of study and classes, but there's still three more weeks to go.
So - if you are a student or a teacher/lecturer on a two week break at the moment, enjoy it!