Are you struggling to find a balance between teacher-life and your home-life? If you’re like most teachers, your work-life is getting so much love but your home-life might need a little bit of TLC. Now, if you’re like me and struggle with getting balance, start by asking yourself why you became a teacher in the first place? You became a teacher to help your students grow and learn not only academically but also as people. However, we do not set great examples for that. We work, work, and work some more to the point where students think we live at the school! Teachers all over the world let being a teacher become your identity, but you’re more than a teacher! Finding a teacher work life balance will help you at school and at home.
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Creating Teacher Work Life Balance At Work
Yes we’re at work but it doesn’t have to be work all the time and it doesn’t have to be crazy hard! Think about this: 80 percent of your results come from only 20 percent of your work. That’s nuts especially when you consider all the time we spend on lesson plans and activities. Is it possible we don’t have to? Not if we find some teacher work life balance!
Work Smarter Not Harder
Find simple systems that you can put in place and don’t make it complicated. In other words, use my KISS method (Keep it Stickin’ Simple)! If you have something that is working, keep using it! It doesn’t matter if you find something cuter on Pinterest because your classroom is probably already Pinterest perfect! That cute project is probably going to take forever and your system isn’t even broken. So, don’t stress yourself out! I was a Pinterest junkie! I used to go down the rabbit hole of Pinterest and spend a whole weekend putting together a system for something that was already working like how my student’s desks were organized. Another example would be using your centers. If you already have an easy center framework or have been utilizing my centers, you don’t need to add to it especially if it’s working!
Find Your Teacher Bestie(s)
Any teacher who has teacher work life balance is going to have a teacher bestie. Why? Because every teacher needs someone who gets them! The teacher you are venting too might not have that student might not know them exactly, but they relate to what you are doing. Now, that doesn’t mean come to the teacher’s lounge. The teacher’s lounge can be a toxic place, but you need to have a work relationship is going to help you and your family. It’s an easier way to leave it at work and your family doesn’t have to suffer.
Invest in You to Create Teacher Work Life Balance
When I was teaching, I never got what I needed out of the professional development the school provided. So, I had to go look for myself. Now professional development doesn’t have to mean going to conferences even though it can. Going to a conference can be great for meeting new teachers and you might meet your teacher bestie there! It can mean taking an online class like my Learning Centers Made Easy course or joining a book study. It can be watching YouTube videos about various methods or listening to a teacher podcast. You can even invest in yourself by subscribing to a blog and committing to reading it every week to help you get more ideas about a variety of topics related to teaching.
Now, I know we don’t make a lot of money but sometimes you have to invest in professional developments because you can choose what you need so you pay more attention. Plus, you invested your own money so you’re more invested. In addition, sometimes you will get free goodies like this organizing your centers guide when you go to professional developments you want to.
Celebrate Your Wins!
When something awesome happens in your classroom, celebrate it! Too often we are overlooked or no one comes in to give us a pat on the back. We know this is a sad but true reality. Therefore, you need to clap for yourself and reward yourself! When your kids all pass a spelling test, celebrate! If your test scores are top of the charts, do a dance! Instead of getting something from your school or administration, you can get something for yourself. Grab yourself a Starbucks or some ice cream or something that is a special treat for you!
Balancing Your Life Outside of Being a Teacher
I don’t know if you know this, but being a teacher is your job. It is not who you are. Being a teacher is a piece of you. Now, this doesn’t mean that being a teacher isn’t a part of you and who you are, but it shouldn’t be your whole world. When I was teaching, I had a hard time making friends outside of education because no one got me. What this all meant was I needed to learn teacher work life balance.
Draw a Line Between Your Teacher Work and Life
This is all about setting boundaries. For me, when we hung out with certain couple friends I did not talk about teaching. This was a decision that I had to make for myself. We talked about things like sports, movies, or anything other than teaching. This made me stop talking about teaching all the time and once I did that, my stress level went down. What a game changer! By not reliving my stressful day at school all night long, I left my problems at school.
Cultivate Life Outside the Classroom for Teacher Work Life Balance
Put simply, get a hobby! You have to find something to do that is not teacher related. Taking the teacher hat off is one of the best things you can do. Now, it’s important this is not a teaching related thing. My first hobby was opening my teacher pay teacher store. Ummm, wait what? Yeah it was a horrible hobby to start. You need to make sure your hobby is outside of your teacher life. You can hike, exercise, go to a movie, craft. Literally anything that isn’t classroom or teaching related.
Schedule Time to Do Nothing
Ok, this whole “do nothing” sounds insane, right? This is one of the hardest things and one of the best things you can and should do for yourself. Now, this can be really difficult to do because if you’re like me, you can’t just sit and watch television without thinking about all the things I have to get done. However, it’s so important because it reduces stress and anxiety. This doesn’t mean sit and sleep or stare at the wall even though it can. It really just means doing stuff without any end goal. Go shopping just to shop. You can go to the movies and just enjoy the movie. Anything that is enjoyable and not a chore is considered nothing at all.
Journal Your Worries and Ideas Away
To help create my teacher life balance, I journal. I don’t have to write anything profound and neither do you! What do I write in my journal? Anything and everything that is on my mind! I grab my journal and my pen and write down my ideas, my feelings, any frustrations, or really anything that is going to keep me up at night. This has been a game changer for me because it gives me piece of mind!
Catch Some Z’s
How many of you have spent many nights up late working on lesson plans or a Pinterest project? I am betting we all have here and there. You can’t do that. You have to go to sleep! You need your sleep. There are a few things you can do to get to sleep or remind yourself to go to sleep to promote teacher work life balance.
- Set an alarm on your phone that says “It’s time to get ready for bed.”
- Have a routine that you have to do before you go to bed that will help you wind down.
- Create a timer and adjust the volume and brightness for how much time you get on Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, or whatever your social media vice is.
- Close your eyes for 15 minutes. If you don’t get to sleep, get up and get something to drink. Then start the process over. Make sure you aren’t going into a room that is bright or loud.
Now, I know this can all be really difficult. However, you need to make sure you try to get some sleep because it makes us happier which can automatically make a better day.
Finding a balance between being a teacher and being a mom, a wife, a husband, a partner, a pet parent, a friend, or anything can be difficult. No matter how difficult it is, finding a teacher work life balance is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself! So, make the time do something for yourself and become a happier you!
Until Next Time…
Keep Being Educational Rock Stars!