Teaching and parenting are both hard jobs, and many teachers juggle both their own children and the kids in their classroom. You may even feel torn between the needs of your own children and those you’re there to teach. And you can easily spend hours supporting either group in your effort to give them your best, cutting into much-needed sleep and downtime. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are five essential work/life balance tips for teachers.
Turn Off Social Media
Turning off social media could help you in a variety of ways. First, you’ll stop feeling bad for not living up to impossible standards. You won’t feel like you’re neglecting your kids because you aren’t making hand-crafted costumes or themed healthy lunches. You won’t see the top one percent of teachers decorate their classrooms in ways fitting for a magazine cover and then feel like you’re neglecting your students.
When you aren’t comparing yourself to unrealistic standards, you’ll realize you are enough. And you won’t waste time and energy trying to outdo strangers instead of meeting the real needs of those around you.
Make It Easier for Yourself
Use lesson plans and planners off the internet whenever possible. Stock up on frozen healthy meals that you can make really fast when you’re pressed for time. Not everyone can afford a housekeeper, but you can and should draft the kids to help clean up the house and ask your students to clean up their workspaces. Don’t be mad it isn’t perfect. Pay attention to what matters. Create prioritized task lists and focus on getting your top priorities done each day. And let the rest go.
Be Willing to Say No
Parents and teachers both give a lot to their kids. They’re also asked to do even more. The solution is to say no more often, and don’t feel guilty about it. For example, be willing to say no when asked to join a committee or volunteer. You may have to attend a certain number of professional development events per year to keep your job, but you don’t eat into your limited free time attending every seminar that comes up.
Consider setting boundaries at the start of the year. When parents know that you can’t tutor after 6 PM, they’ll find ways to fit it in their schedule. Only accept responsibilities at the start of the year you think you can handle and refuse anything else. When you set the pace and then maintain it, you’re managing expectations. There is less push-back then than if you sign up and then drop out.
Move Up in the Organization
Consider moving out of the classroom. If you become a superintendent or move into another district-level supervisory position, you’re able to make a difference across the organization with every decision. You’ll be better able to delegate, and you won’t be pressured to tutor struggling students or volunteer for every pet cause.
You could become a prime candidate for promotion if you complete a school district leadership certificate, especially if you’ve already completed a master’s or doctoral degree in education. And you can get one completely online nowadays, which will allow you to study on your own time.
Leave Work at Work
Set a checkout time and leave work at work when you leave the building. Stop checking work email. And don’t attend social events for other people’s kids instead of taking care of your own family.
Try not to grade papers at home either, so that you don’t end up eating into limited family time researching lesson plans and reference material. Leave your worries at work so it doesn’t get in the way of your life.
Teachers and parents are both pressured to give their all to the kids, though they risk burnout. Learn how to slow down, lessen the load, and do what really matters so you don’t get overwhelmed.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.