teacher work life balance

Discussion in 'General Education' started by #teacher17, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    Aug 16, 2017

    I'm starting my 35th year of teaching. I'm divorced and my kids are grown, so most afternoons, whenever I get home, I don't have to cook or anything. I get to school very early, but because of some health reasons, I don't stay as late as I used to. My hours out of school involve church and family and not much else. If I was younger and more energetic, I'd probably try to have a life! LOL!
     
  2. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Aug 16, 2017

    Yes, this. My first year I changed out the borders on my boards to match the season and I tried to keep up with holiday decor. I am much more streamlined now and put out a few decorative touches, but once the boards go up in September, they basically stay the same. The only thing that changes is the student work/anchor charts on them.
     
  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Aug 19, 2017

    I produce a podcast called "Time to Teach" and I did a series on work and life balance. If interested, you can check it out here. It's episodes 1-5: http://timetoteach.libsyn.com/
     
  4. #teacher17

    #teacher17 Rookie

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    Sep 10, 2017

     
  5. #teacher17

    #teacher17 Rookie

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    Sep 10, 2017

    These are good tips unfortunately I doubt I'll make it a couple more years to figure out a system. I can't do behaviors and defiance. I've worked with kids since I was 18 and now 32, I think I'm over it. I'm going to push hard to just survive to the end of the school year but after that, it's time to move on. I thought I wanted to do this but am realizing that for my personality type, this doesn't fit. I need plenty of me time and coming home to only a couple hours to spare is not going to cut it. I'm also not super organized or a planner, I'm a go with the flow kind of girl so this won't cut it. I'm willing to sacrifice breaks for a yearly job away from the classroom. It won't be fair for me to continue to stay in a field that is wearing me down in the end making me unhappy. It's not fair for the children and not fair to me. Never been a slave type either and this job feels like slavery. I just want to leave work at work and come home and enjoy me time! Thanks for your response!
     
  6. #teacher17

    #teacher17 Rookie

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    I consider myself pretty young and lively at 32, I can't continue to give up my life, it's ridiculous.
     
  7. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    Sep 10, 2017

    It is essential to get plenty of rest time and take care of home life time. It is highly essential to get plenty of exercise. I was just reading today in Cure magazine how lack of exercise leads to cancer or recurrence. It sounds counter productive, but limiting overtime actually increases your ability to get more done, assists your creativity in approaching tasks and in dealing with day to day classroom situations, and increases your ability to use your break time at school to get things done.

    If possible, I'd recommend eliminating written homework; little research supports the value of homework and plenty of research supports the harmfulness of homework interfering with family, play, and outdoor time. I would recommend expecting students to read at home and possibly study spelling words at home. Maybe even an interesting math challenge of the week. Other than that, none.

    Assigning students to create the bulletin boards can ease that burden, and as another poster mentioned, I also keep the same background up all year, (and the next year, and the next....) I use a cloth background--flannel is excellent because then you can add flannel graph pictures throughout the month to add to lessons if desired. It also doesn't tear, wrinkle, or fade. Only grade independent practice. Check guided practice in class, possibly within cooperative groups or study buddies. I once saw a teacher set out answer keys for each student to check her/his own guided practice. I've learned not to do too much in a lesson. The less I do, the more the students do, and they're the ones who need to do the work to learn, anyway. I already know the stuff. Now, what I've learned to do with my spare time, and this is just me, I enjoy doing extra research into a topic that I'm teaching, especially now that Internet is available (I began teaching in the 80's). Or I might choose a lesson that I want to do a little extra with. If I still became bogged down with work, I chose one night during the week when I would stay overtime--I avoided taking work home. (I must admit, I learned this over the years. My first few years I was burning the midnight oil, and I literally, one day, fell asleep during class. Just enough to nod off and suddenly wake up when the students giggled). Weekends for me were sacred. Personally, if I did anything on a weekend, I preferred Saturday to just get it over with. But overall, weekends were off limits for teaching, unless, again, it was something fun that I wanted to do extra on. I've never had emails in the classroom, but a book I've read and also I heard comments about this on a radio program suggested that an email does not need an immediate response. Wait until time allows for thinking then respond. I stopped giving parents my phone number and I was unlisted.

    A great book on how relaxation, nutrition, and exercise are important is Pillay, Srini. Tinker Dabble Doodle Try. N.Y.: Ballantine Books, 2017.
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Sep 10, 2017

    The best thing you can do is to decide to be the boss of how many hours you put in each week. There are some happy working 40 hours and some who are happy working 80+ hours and many in between. Realize the first and last month of school will often require extra hours so just bite the bullet on those months.

    First put down what you MUST do. Your P can't decide how many hours, but they can require lesson plans, long meetings etc. Second, make sure you add some things that are high quality that will make a difference and help you to enjoy school.

    Third, put down things that are more important than work and make time for them. Some could include: Your health (so time at gym), your family (so time with kids and spouse), your religion (time for church, prayer, and volunteering), and yes some fun (a bit of time for yourself). Make these appointments that you don't miss.

    Fourth, make a goal--such as 45 hours a week for work.

    Fifth, find ways to let go of some things and find ways to save time. Can you stop at the gym on the way home? Are there papers that can just be partially graded or not at all? Yes, that bulletin board can stay up a few more weeks.

    Don't feel guilty that there are only 24 hours in a day. It isn't your fault.
     
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  9. rpan

    rpan Comrade

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    Sep 11, 2017

    When I'm in school I'm in full teacher mode. But when I'm home I'm everything but a teacher. I don't bring work home. You must accept you can't do it all, only your best. And spending all day all evening all night in teacher mode doesn't make you a good teacher, probably the opposite. Once you accept this you can start having a guilt free work life balance.
     
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  10. JimG

    JimG Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2017

    Keep a copy of everything you use in class for use in future years.

    When you need to create something, see if it has already been done by a colleague, by a textbook, or online.

    Evaluate if you are actually working for the whole time that you are there early and late. If you are not, then work less hours and make sure you are utilizing every minute you do put in. Making, prioritizing, and checking off to-do lists helps with this.

    Be organized and eliminate work space clutter.
     
  11. JimG

    JimG Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2017

    It gets easier after the first couple years in terms of work load and classroom management. You are also essentially doing a second first year.

    My first year I would frequently be at odds with my fiancé. She would come up with plans to do such and such over the weekend and I would say I couldn't because I had to get work done. I eventually realized I was not being fair to her and that really motivated me to get my butt in gear to prioritize getting my work done AT WORK. Bringing work home still happens from time to time, but minimally.

    I am curious. What new job do you hope to be successful at without being super organized nor a planner? These skills are not unique to teaching.
     
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  12. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    Sep 13, 2017 at 6:41 AM

    I had to stay at school late yesterday to help another teacher. She wasn't ready to start right away so in the 20 minutes I was waiting I got my math and ELA work printed for today. I found some things online then modified them to suit my class. I didn't reinvent the wheel. Most times it's not necessary and people waste a lot of time doing that kind of thing.
     
  13. #teacher17

    #teacher17 Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2017 at 11:39 AM

    I understand this is not unique to teaching but I'm just not a type A super organizer or planner, never have been and likely never will be. I don't know what job it will be but it will be out of the classroom. I'm not going to wait a couple years and have my mental and physical health deteriorate just to teach. I appreciate your feedback.
     
  14. #teacher17

    #teacher17 Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2017 at 11:42 AM

    I'm going to try and remember this. I'm just trying to make it for 8 more months with my sanity. I'm so ready to be out of this field. Thanks for your feedback.
     
  15. HistoryTeach4

    HistoryTeach4 Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2017 at 5:24 AM

    I may be in my fourth year, but your post was so true to what I experienced this week. I felt so bad food my fiance because he would get home from work and I would be working and very cranky. I didn't everyone, but it is very hard to work at work when you are not able to get in the building in the morning and are kicked out other building just 1 hour after the kids leave. It also didn't help that our principal started making the lunch duty rotation weekly instead of daily (I use that time to prep and it is hard to do when you lose lunch for a week). I said that one I moved in I was going to be better about bringing so much work home. It's just so hard when you don't have any time during the school day to do so.
     

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