Is Teaching Taking Over Your Life?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by time out, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Aug 24, 2012

    We've just had our first week of school and I'm either working on school stuff at school or working on school stuff at home. I've been working from 6 am - 6 pm pretty much since preplanning. And the thing is, I don't have to be working this much.

    I keep making little projects for myself that I don't have to do but rather want to do. I keep telling myself that all the hard work that I put in now will pay off later. But after one project ends, there's another one right around the corner. And for the past few years, things didn't slow down until December. I don't want that for myself this year.

    I've taught for 8 years now and I'm working a lot harder now than when I first started! When will I ever find my groove? For those of you who can manage to leave on time on a regular basis, how do you do it?
     
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  3. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Aug 24, 2012

    I find it easier to leave on time the first couple weeks--it's after a few weeks, when the grading piles up, etc. that I start staying later!
     
  4. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Aug 24, 2012

    I can't let it since I have to work a part time job for financial reasons.
    If I wasn't on a time constraint, I'm sure it could easily take over. Especially if I lived closer to my school.
     
  5. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Aug 24, 2012

    I'm all about to-do lists. And not just 1 long list. Very organized lists. (I'm not crazy I swear.)

    I have a list of little to-do things that have to get done right away- that day. (Send home field trip permission slips, make copies of math test, send note to Johnny's mother.)

    Then I have a big to do list of all the bigger things I want to accomplish (organize science supplies, clean out art closet, etc.) That way I can see everything I need/want to get done and prioritize.

    Then I make a weekly to-do list of everything I want to accomplish, the things that aren't absolutely necessary. But I limit it to 10 things. I choose things from my over all to do list, but not everything. That way for that week anything not on the weekly to do list is on the back burner. I don't let it bother me because it's not something I'm going to accomplish that week. I never actually complete all 10 things in one week, but if I complete 5 or more I consider it a productive week! I started doing this in the middle of last year and it really worked. I felt less guilty about going home early and I think I actually accomplished more because I spent much less time doing parts of little projects and instead actually finished things.
     
  6. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Aug 24, 2012

    That's a great idea, iteachbx! Consider it stolen... It's so hard sometimes to get started when you feel like there are an overwhelming number of projects out there. I'm a master of to-do lists, and I keep a list of "projects" already. :)
     
  7. StudentTeach

    StudentTeach Comrade

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    Aug 24, 2012

    I concur. I'm stealing this!
     
  8. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Aug 24, 2012

    I do it at home too stuff that I have to do around the house. I'm the kind of person who when I feel overwhelmed I'll be like oh just forget it I'll spend the weekend doing nothing and pretending I don't have forty million things to do. When I feel like there's only 10 things I HAVE to do, I'm much more productive.
     
  9. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aug 24, 2012

    Life? What's that???

    Seriously, I'm at work no later than 6:30 a.m., and in years past, I have worked until 7 p.m. This year, I'm leaving between 3:30 & 4, but I'm working at home all the time. I can't seem to get things organized to my liking this year. Of course, I have totally rearranged my classroom layout, and this year, here are the changes we are dealing with - all teachers in my state are being evaluated by a new system, "Compass," my grade level has been changed to Common Core, even though the materials and curriculum have not been changed to match it yet, and my district (possibly my state) is requiring us to all incorporate EAGLE, an online testing program/site, on which the changes that will be needed for MY kids to use it (i.e., Common Core alignment, accommodations support, etc.) won't be available until next summer, plus, no one is sure if our school even has the appropriate technology to USE the system... UGH... Apparently, I'm putting a good face on it, though, because my new Principal seems pleased!
     
  10. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aug 24, 2012

    Oh, and I keep ALL my lists (including grocery) on my phone - I lose too many little slips of paper!
     
  11. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Aug 24, 2012

    I am very similar.
    I made a template for the 5 day work week.
    Under each day, I listed the musts...newsletter, lesson plans, grades into Skyward, tuen in milk sheet, etc. As things arrive to my desk, I add them to this list. When Monday's things are complete, homeward bound. It's helped me ooooodles.
     
  12. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Aug 24, 2012

    I usually get to work around 7:30, and leave anywhere from 3:45 (when I work at my 2nd job) to 10:45. Yes, that's right-sometimes I close up the building with the cleaning crew at 10:45 PM. If I leave earlier, I'm bringing work home to do. Every night and all weekend.

    Teaching IS my life.
     
  13. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Aug 24, 2012

    I'm a list maker, too.

    I make lists of things that have to be done, things that need to be done before too long, and things that can wait. I used to think that everything had to be done ASAP. After 20 years, I've learned to let go. Most nights I don't bring home any work at all. I do have a few things I bring home on the weekends, but I never work on any of it until Sunday afternoons.
     
  14. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Aug 24, 2012

    I'm letting it take over this weekend. I feel like I just need to get ahead so I'm not feeling overwhelmed all week long, and I didn't really have any plans anyway. Normally though, I'm pretty good about not letting it take over and recognizing the difference between "have to do" and "would be nice to do if I have extra time."
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 25, 2012

    I'm sorry, but you guys work a lot more hours than I do.

    I start Tuesday, with faculty meetings, followed by 3 days of frosh orientation. So, aside from about an hour of cafeteria duty each day, I have this week at school to get things done.

    I don't anticipate bringing any regular work home over Labor Day weekend-- those 3 days should be plenty of time to get everything done.

    I do anticipate needing maybe 2 or 3 hours to set up NHS for the year. Since I'll want uninterrupted time, that will be next Saturday morning.

    Then, once classes start the following Tuesday, it will be life as usual. It will be a few days before I give a quiz, and two weeks before I give a test.

    Planning is basically already done. At this point it takes no time at all.
     
  16. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Aug 25, 2012

    I've always made lists too but I've never organized or prioritized them. That's definitely worth trying.

    I've also changed rooms and grade levels this year so that's going to influence my workload for sure. I can't imagine what I would do if I had children.

    My to-do list this weekend is going to be:
    • organize and upload my first week photos, including ones of my classroom!
    • write a letter about my spelling program to send home Monday
    • plan for next week - both lessons and hw

    I wanted to work on Science Fair stuff too but that doesn't begin until September so I have a little time.

    Time to get to work!
     
  17. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Aug 25, 2012

    I promised myself that this would be The Year I don't spend my entire life working. I got myself super-organized last year, in terms of actually saving everything I do in class and turning my files into binders.

    I make To Do lists, I planned out the entire quarter, my room is organized within an inch of its existence...

    But it's the little things that continually throw me off. The dean needs to talk to me after school. I have to call a parent or five. A coworker drops by my room to chat. I have 20 emails that need my attention. Only one copy machine is working. Five conferences get scheduled for the week. All of these little things add up to me staying too late or having to bring my work home to escape Chatty Cathys.
     
  18. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 25, 2012

    Yes, teaching honestly does take over my life- this will be my 5th year teaching and just thinking about starting against is exhausting. I honestly let teaching take over my life, but I'm trying to work on that this year. I want to be able to continue working out 5 times a week (taking Wednesday- when we have faculty meetings- and Sunday- the one day my husband and I both have off- to relax) at the very least.

    I do want to make it a routine that I stay at least until 4pm- that will give me a little under an hour to do some grading. I won't answer emails, I won't go to chit-chat, I won't start washing random things in my classroom. I will grade. (I really stink at grading fast enough)

    My only piece of advice is that if you're finding that you're doing too many projects, either cut back and set a timeline on when you'll complete some of these projects -or- find a strategy that is less time-consuming.
     
  19. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Aug 25, 2012

    This is my first year with 3 different preps (yes, I've been lucky), two of them are classes that I've never taught before, and one is an AP class. Teaching is definitely taking over my life right now! Last year, I left school everyday by 5 pm and didn't have to do anything at home in the evenings. This year, I'm still leaving by 5, but I'm working all evening at home. Lab prep and clean up takes so much time! I hope to hit my stride by Labor Day.
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 25, 2012

    When it comes to school, there is always something that needs to be done. If you let it take over your life, it will.

    Even though I love my job, it's just a job. I love my family more. For that reason, I leave my work at work, and I leave on time most days. I find that I can get most things done during the day because I manage my time well and because I don't make things unnecessarily complicated.

    I understand that other people may have different priorities and may place school/job stuff a lot closer to the top of the list than I do. That's fine. But if it starts to feel like school is "taking over your life", then it might be time to reevaluate what you're doing and how you're doing it.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 25, 2012

    Did you switch grade levels this year, time out!
     
  22. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Aug 25, 2012

    That would be nice. I can't see it ever getting to that point as a science teacher. There will always be labs to prep. I love what I do, and I wouldn't want to teach math full time (I'm teaching algebra this year), but man it takes a lot of time to teach science right! Any science teachers here have any suggestions on how to set up and clean up labs faster? I only have 1 sink in my room, so having students wash all their own glassware isn't an option. I also don't have a dishwasher, or a student aide.

    However, maybe staying past most other teachers just comes with the territory for me. I was catching up on my blog reading, and I found an entry with advice to new science teachers. I'm not the only one still cleaning up at 4:30 pm on a Friday! This guy has really good advice for new science teachers. Go to http://doyle-scienceteach.blogspot.com/ and scroll down to "Dear New Science Teacher."
     
  23. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Aug 25, 2012

    Yes, so a lot of my time has to be devoted to learning the curriculum as well. But I wanted this change so I'm willing to do the work. :)
     
  24. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Aug 25, 2012

    This is my seventh year teaching, and I still don't balance things well, though I do better than I did.

    I try to keep in mind that if I were to die tonight, they'd have a sub in on Monday and a new teacher within a month.

    My H deserves a Nobel prize for putting up with me and the time I spend working.
     
  25. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 25, 2012

    I changed to third two years ago...the first year in a grade level is a lot like your first year teaching...it does seem all consuming for a while, but it will get better!
     
  26. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Aug 25, 2012

    I've resigned myself to being extremely stressed and overworking this first year. I don't have any curriculum developed yet, and no tools or things made for my class yet.

    I also have to make sure I'm learning something from this year. The harder I work this year, the easier the years after will be.

    That said I will also try to enjoy myself like crazy and plan on doing lots of weekend trips. =3
     
  27. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Aug 25, 2012

    It took me years to figure out that school is my job and although it IS important... my family is my life.
     
  28. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Aug 25, 2012

    :yeahthat:
     
  29. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aug 25, 2012

    I haven't found balance yet. I've been working nonstop since 8am today, with the exception of about an hour running errands, and a half hour for supper. Now I'm waiting for my little Scotch laminator to warm up so I can run the 3" stack of laminating through.
     

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