Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is difficult in any job, and teaching is no different. According to one study, three quarters of teachers (73 percent) report that they find their job stressful. There are lots of jobs out there that are stressful, but it is extremely easy as a teacher to blend work and life in an unhealthy way. Because of a lack of time, work comes home and things you need to finish at home sometimes come to work. Not only is it stressful in the school — managing a classroom and having the pressure of nurturing your students’ academic successful is daunting — but most teachers feel guilty about not doing enough work or doing too much work and not spending enough time with their family. There has to be a balance.
Like anything, creating a work-life balance doesn’t happen overnight. Some teachers might scoff at the very thought of it being possible, but it can happen by making little changes and sticking to your priorities.
BELOW WE PROVIDE SOME TIPS TO HELP YOU CREATE AND MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE AS A TEACHER:
- Set your priorities
By working smarter, not harder, you will be able to get more done in a productive, meaningful way. This means you have to set your priorities for the week and stick to them. Make deadlines for yourself at work and don’t waste the time that you have at school. This also means making life a priority. It’s so easy to feel guilty about not doing more for work and your students, but your family and friends need you . . . and you need you, so take the time to do something for yourself.
- Just say no
Draw clear boundaries about what you will say yes or no to at work. You don’t have to take on more than what is required of you. Look for the opportunities that will benefit your career, but if it’s more busy work for you that will ultimately mean taking more work home, it might not be worth it. Be smart about what you agree to and don’t jump in without considering what the work entails. And remember, saying no without an explanation is acceptable.
- Don’t be a victim
Teaching isn’t the only job that is stressful, so don’t be surprised when you don’t receive the sympathy from friends and family that you feel you deserve. Finding a healthy work-life balance is difficult for everyone. You will have people in your life that don’t have to take work home like you do, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t working hard or accomplishing a lot in their work. Every job is different, and as a teacher you have to keep a positive outlook on your work and life.
- Talk to your family
There might be times when you have to work at home, and that’s ok. Make sure you communicate to your family when those times may be and watch how everyone will work together to help you. It’s hard for your family and friends when they don’t know what you have on your plate, but by simply sharing it with them you can get the time you need and feel supported.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
This pertains to both work and life. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get everything done that you envisioned doing. With your top priorities as the first thing on your task list, work from the top down. If you don’t get around to some of the less important tasks, it’s ok. And if you end up having a busy day at school that leaves you feeling exhausted, takeout is ok.
- Celebrate accomplishments
As you teach and reach new goals and see students succeed, it’s important to take the time to celebrate moments of achievement. Savor a job well done, whether that is a nice meal out, a movie after work, a weekend getaway, or a new outfit if it is something that is a reward to you.
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