The Complete Teacher


Finding balance is key

Posted by Hlengiwe Zwane on 17 January 2023, 00:05 SAST
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Your weekend plans should include more than marking papers and planning lessons. If you find yourself paying more attention to your students’ homework than your kids’ homework, you could probably use a hand with your work-life balance.

Switching from work mode to home mode is tough, especially when you don’t want to sacrifice your students’ learning. After all, if you’re like most teachers, you entered the profession to make a difference in children’s lives. Having to make that switch is even harder to do during these times. 

The inability to switch between these two modes is why teachers say they don't enjoy balance. It is why some teachers have called teacher burnout an epidemic. It is time to break this cycle. Follow these simple tips to strike the perfect work-life balance.

Forget about everything
Priorities can be urgent, but not everything urgent is a priority. From that “beep!” your phone makes every time you leap to respond, you’re taking your focus away from what matters most. This is why many teachers set schedules for themselves outside of classroom time. Try turning your notifications off and clear unnecessary tasks from your calendar.

Embrace hybrid learning
Gone are the days when learning only happened in the classroom. Today education has taken a major detour into the digital space, with teachers delivering lessons partially or entirely digitally in schools across the globe. There are real benefits, like the flexibility in pace and timing for both students and teachers, and analytics that shed light on how things are going along the way.

Leave the books out of sight
The pile of books in the corner of your living room is a constant reminder that you have more work to do. Whether you mean for that to happen or not, it will interrupt time that should be spent relaxing and recharging. The first step is setting your work hours and dedicating a space in your home that is separate from your family life and sticking to those hours.  At the end of your day, put your work away or leave that space so that you can focus on your other priorities. Remember that out of sight, out of mind!

Pause for a moment
It is so easy to get caught up in the momentum of a task until you feel exhausted. Taking a 15-minute walk can give you enough time away from the task at hand to refocus, gain some perspective and come back with renewed energy. Finding the time may seem tough, but as you adapt your schedule to fit these short breaks and enjoy the productivity benefits. Here are some of the things that you can do to step away: 

  • Stretch your muscles 

  • Watch a TED talk or two

  • Get some coffee

  • Check-in with someone you care about

  • Spruce up your desk with a quick clean

  • Practice meditation or deep breathing

  • Take a power nap

Some things are simply beyond your control, and that’s okay. Don’t forget why you became a teacher. The best way to go about this is by being the best version of yourself, too.

Source: Chalk, 2022

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