Balance: A Teacher’s Life! Guest Post by: The Teacher

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Balance: A Teacher’s Life!
comes a day when every Education major gets their chance to have their very own
classroom. The joy, worry, trepidation, and other feelings are hard to describe
until you have been in those shoes. As you scan across your class for the first
time it is hard to imagine that you have 16 + students’ lives in your care to
educate, affect, impact, and reach. That is the call or desire which is found
deep inside of each and every teacher who is drawn to teach.
the first few weeks of school are over and you sit back and think, what did I
get myself into, I have 30+ more years of this?? You get past the shock of what
really went on behind the scenes of your classrooms growing up. The time,
energy, effort, sacrifice, and determination will never be overlooked by me,
but it is by some. As I went through my first year of teaching, I was lucky
because I didn’t have any kids at home, just my wife who worked bizarre hours at a tiny
restaurant in our town. What I realized without even noticing was that I would
talk, walk, work, eat, and sleep school. I slowly made my life revolve around
my 7 to 3 job. After my first child was born, I had a wake-up call because I
had someone else to put time into; this is when I realized my past mistakes and
the mistakes I currently find myself deep in today.
is near impossible to be a salary job, the only reason they make it a salary
job is because they can’t afford to pay all the teachers in America the
overtime they deserve. Ten weeks off in the summer don’t really balance out
when you work 60+ hours weekly over the span of 10 months. If you think about
it, your ten weeks off is only a consolation prize in the end. So how do you
balance your time with family, taking care of the house, going to soccer
practices, going to church, being involved, and teaching (lesson plans, 20
minute lunches, parents late for conferences, grading papers, countless
meetings to have you do one more little thing, etc.)
take it from my experience, you really can’t balance all of those things,
something has to give, whether home, school, church, extras, etc. So in order
to really balance life take the following steps and you will find yourself

Know when to say no.
Don’t make work your life.
Take work home but leave it at school.
Know when to say no. It is not
imperative for you to do everything for everybody at school. You don’t have to
be on every committee, every extra-curricular activity. Choose two things to be
involved in. Make one of them only take your time at school. For instance, be
involved in a technology committee or behavior team, or a hospitality team.
Secondly, make one of your activities involve some time outside of school that
is only once a month or twice a month. There is no reason to be on every
committee. Currently, I am on the technology committee, grade chair, and I run
spirit nights. Only spirit nights has me helping outside of contract time. I
choose one place a month for our families to eat at and I spend from 5-8
helping out.
make work your life.
By this, I catch most people in the rut. If every
conversation at home, church, soccer, etc. is or starts or has anything to do
with school, find a way to stop it. If someone brings work up discuss it
without getting on your soap boxes. You can go through a dinner, or outing
without talking about work. If you do end up talking about work make it
positive so you can feel better about your job and what you are doing. If you
need to get work off of your chest, find a person who is willing to listen, but
not indulge in a never ending conversation and limit yourself to 2-4 times a
week for 15 minutes. By doing this will also help eliminate stress in the long
run if you are careful.
Lastly, it is not a bad thing to take some work home, but in the same
sense leave it at school. My wife would rather have me at home by 3:30 and
after the kids are in bed do some work if she has some blogging to do. Go to
work early in the morning, or get up early to work at home. If you are going to
make a sacrifice to work hard at your job educating students, don’t make your
family sacrifice their time with you too! I found myself staying at work till
4ish, getting to work by 5ish and working till I was dead. Come home, sit down
and do nothing with the family, then when the kids go to bed, I would bring out
more to do. I know it is really impossible to complete everything you are
supposed to do in a day and not be able to bring anything home, but I also know
that you can get smarter about your work and make it easier for your family.
In closing, be willing to tell
people no at school when you know you are too overloaded. Secondly, be willing
to have work stay at work and make your time at home about your friends and
family. Thirdly, be willing to make sacrifices that only make you sacrifice if
you are going to go that extra mile. It is only too sad that teachers are so
diligent in what they do, that their own families take back seat to your
calling. You have a family for a reason, so please take the time over the next
few weeks to start working on these steps to a happier, better you.
The Teacher

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One Comment

  1. I swear you got inside my head. I've been feeling extra guilty that work has taken over my life. I currently have 25 students and I know I spend more time with them than I do my own child (not counting sleeping hours of course). Thanks for the wake up call.

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