Balancing my career as a teacher and my life as a wife and mother hasn’t always been easy. As most teachers know, taking work home is a common practice. Answering parent emails on the weekend, grading papers at night, and lesson planning in the early morning hours are things most teachers can admit to. Sometimes, taking work home with you is inevitable. However, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance between all that work and your personal life.
As a veteran teacher of 15 years, I’ve learned there is no such thing as a perfect work-life balance. With the ebbs and flows of life and teaching, there are bound to be some turbulent times now and then. However, it pays off to take time and work on staying balanced between the two.
Here are a few guidelines I set for myself to ensure a healthy balance:
Set Boundaries for Work
Juggling all of your responsibilities can seem impossible for teachers at times. I like to stay extremely organized and set a schedule for when I will get all my work done. With a schedule, I am able to set boundaries for myself for when I will take work home or stay late at school. If I break my routine I can hold myself accountable and readjust my workload so the next week I am on track to complete work as planned.
Learn to Work Efficiently
Over the years I have gotten better at working efficiently, but when I first started as a teacher I struggled with it. Small changes like planning your lessons online and making to-do lists can increase efficiency exponentially. Prioritizing your to-do list and sticking with the list is also crucial to work efficiently.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Try not to worry if not everything is just as you imagined it would be. Learning that not everything will get done in the way you want it to and at your ideal time is a very valuable lesson. A teacher's to-do list can be never ending.Instead of stressing over what you can’t do, use that time to plan when you’ll get done what is left.
Have a positive attitude
Choose to look on the bright side of things and try your best to have a good attitude. When you maintain a positive mentality in times of stress, you set an example for your students to do the same.
Set aside time for yourself
To be the best teacher you can be, you need to be the best version of yourself. Whether it’s going for a run, meditating or reading your favorite book, taking time for yourself will you give you some necessary personal time to recharge.
When teachers are exhausted due to a lack of a healthy work-life balance, they become less effective in the classroom. It is possible to keep up with your teaching career, the needs of your students, and your life at home. However, there is no one-size fits all solution when it comes to achieving the ideal balance. Find a method that works for you and work to maintain the work-life balance you’ve built for yourself.