Finding a teacher work-life balance can be a tricky thing to do. I know a lot of us struggle with it daily. It’s been a hot topic in our Simply Kinder Facebook group with the beginning of school looming. We’ve gathered up some of fellow teacher tips for work-life balance.
Cynthia says “The best advice I was given is to use your time wisely at school. Use your prep time to get as much done as possible. Avoid talking with colleagues for long periods that will kill your time to complete work. Bring one to two things home to complete once the kids are in bed to avoid feeling overwhelmed with things to do.”
Gina says “I close my door and lights off. I do have a lamp and Christmas lights that I do turn on. It is the only way I can get as much work done at work during prep and my lunch time. When I go home I want to make sure I give myself (gym) and family (homework, dinner, etc..) the time they deserve. If I don’t do this, I get overwhelmed. I am stressed and not a happy camper. I have also learned to say no.
Julie says “I made a commitment to my family–they MUST come first and deserve my time. I work very hard during my planning and lunch time to plan/prep ahead so that I can leave “on time” most days–that often means closing my door to minimize interruptions. If I have something that just cannot wait, I will bring it home and do it after my kids are in bed. Planning is key! My husband helps me meal prep on the weekend so that putting dinner together is much quicker in the evenings. I have two children and we are at an extra curricular every afternoon except Fridays so we have a busy schedule, but at least we are doing it together!
Jenny says “My room is often a hot mess, my centers are simple and repeat frequently. I focus my planning on small group time in reading and math.
I build in extra free time on Fridays to assess kids and catch up on paperwork.
*I keep a folder of appropriate work handy in case of an emergency
*I keep a detailed online of our day on Google Docs so I can quickly update and send to a team member to print off
Paperwork: I work late 1 day every 2 weeks and catch up. I stay until 5:30-6:00 No exceptions. My husband travels a lot and my kids are busy in sports every single night
If I need to prep for upcoming unit, I go in early on a Saturday and then plan to meet a friend for lunch to keep me accountable for not spending an entire day there. I limit this to once every 6 weeks or so
The biggest thing for me was to realize that my kids’ teachers weren’t putting in the extra hours that I was. They were home with their families and I wasn’t. I was stressed, they weren’t. I was missing out – they weren’t.
It’s ok to be a good teacher and a great mom.”
Trill says “Set a time that you WILL leave each day. You just have to make your family a priority. I stay late on Monday because that’s our planning day. Every other day we are gone by 4:00.”
Arynne says “My first suggestion is crockpot meals and buffet leftover night. We lived by them my first few years teaching. Second, you have to plan time and stick to it. If you see that Monday at 3:15 is time for x activity then do it and don’t allow for distractions. I know it’s hard!”
Rebecca says “Cook meals for the week on the weekend and just reheat. Also, prep lunches for the week for everyone. My husband will help me do this Saturday night or Sunday morning. He also helps with our 2 kids for a few hours on the weekend so I can do school work. We also have a cleaning schedule which helps so much. For example, Monday dust and vacuum main living level, Tuesday change sheets and dust bedrooms, Wednesday clean bathrooms, etc. Prioritize your to do list and make it a goal to do 1 thing from it each day. Use your time, lunch/prep at work wisely (not time to socialize).”
Jillian says “Honestly this is why I don’t give my own students a lot of work – no projects, no family activities that should be fun but really are just more work, because it’s hard enough to figure out family time.
I make family first. I plan during my plan time at school and do work during indoor recess. I don’t spend a lot of time on things that need prep when I can find a way to do it easier- work smarter not harder. I try to not to work at home and when I do, I try to wait until after bedtime.”
Ashely says “Time management will be your best friend. I blame my 4 years in the military for my time managment skills. Prioritize EVERYTHING! If you have a test due in a month do it right away. Write a to-do list and label them in order of importance. I always get to work 1 hour early, leave on time, and hardly ever bring home. You can do it!”
Angela says “Please try and set time limits on how long you stay every day. You need time for yourself and your family. You will be replaced the next day at work but you as mom and wife etc.. can never be replaced.”
Ashley says “i set “office hours” on my communication apps.”
Tammi says “Go to bed early! Get up earlier than everyone to get things done. Use the time to workout, cleanup, and make sure everything is ready for the day. I started going to bed about 45 minutes after the kids. Then you are not tired in the mornings.”
Becky says “Your room doesn’t have to be the cutest. Your anchor charts don’t have to be perfect. Your students aren’t going to know if every lesson is perfect.”
Careylyn says “I think we all struggle having a balance. I start my IEPs a month in advance because I often do not have prep time. That helps me stay on track.”
Do you have any other teacher tips for work-life balance?