Hey Y’all! When I set out to create my Student Teaching Facebook group, one of the most asked questions from the community was “how do you balance life and teaching?” I thought this was SUCH a good question because teachers do a LOT of things. I still don’t have it perfect, but I pulled together my 5 best tips on balancing real life and teacher life. Here it goes!
1. Make space for the things that matter at the beginning of the week.
I try to carve out time at the very beginning of the week (usually on Sunday or Monday) to plan out the things that I have to look forward to. These aren’t meetings at school or penciling in time to grade.
I write down those life giving things that make me excited for the week ahead. I ask myself things like:
- When am I getting dinner with a friend?
- What am I doing this weekend?
- How many times can I get to bed early and read a book?
THEN, I’ll schedule the more mundane weekly routine things by asking myself:
- When do I need to go grocery shopping?
- What are you going to do about that growing pile of laundry in the corner? (my WORST chore enemy)
- How are you going to make time to work out this week?
- What am I wearing and eating for lunch throughout the week?
All in all, taking time to pencil in the things that matter gets me excited for the week ahead, and a little less stressed for what’s to come! When I add these things into the calendar early I’m WAY less likely to cancel on myself or others, and I don’t feel bad for rushing out of the door when contract time at school ends.
2. Set aside one or two days a week where you do allow yourself to stay late at work or arrive early.
This one was a game changer for me. I choose a couple of days a week to get to school early, drink my coffee, gather my thoughts, and get work done. Sometimes it’s lesson planning, but most of the time these days are for the little things like getting a weekly email ready or grading last week’s papers. Because I commit myself to those two days a week, I’m way more likely to be efficient during that time because I carved out that time for a specific purpose.
3. Try your best to plan important things in advance
This one is different for everyone. For me, the spring is CRAZY town as a teacher. There are meetings almost every day for something. If I need to plan a doctor’s appointment or take a Friday off to go out of town for the weekend, those things have to be planned far in advance so no important calendar dates are missed.
If you’re in college to be a teacher, this might look like:
- Putting your semester start and end dates in your calendar
- When milestone major assignments are due,
- When to apply for student teaching or graduation
If you’re currently student teaching, this might look like:
- Applying for jobs
- Seeing when job fairs are in your area
- Putting evaluations on your calendar as soon as you get the dates
The moral of the story, the less surprises in your calendar, the better!
4. Do things that make you feel good!
This one is SO important to balancing life and ANY career, especially teaching. Do you want to get those workouts in this week? Put them on the calendar. Are you trying to drink more water? Add it to the to do list! This tip ties so well in with the first tip of making space for things that matter. The things that matter to you will shift and change over time, but give yourself space to dream, laugh, and take care of yourself! You will 100% be a better employee and human for it later!
5. Say no for bigger a bigger YES
No is a sentence. Did you know that? No. What a POWERFUL word that can be so incredibly hard to say. If you’re anything like me, you can find yourself saying yes to anything that comes your way for the sake of not letting anyone down. That’s great and all, until you’re so overwhelmed with pleasing others that you aren’t pleased yourself.
In recent years, I have learned first hand how impactful it is to say no in various areas of my life. I’ve even said no to good things like a night out with friends when I needed to rest or a weekend away when I didn’t have the funds. These no’s have made a way for me to say yes to those things later, and an even better, guilt free yes at that!
Balancing life and any job can be hard. Balancing life and teaching can be even harder, because the lines can be blurred so easily between work and home. I hope you find these tips comforting, challenging, and helpful all at the same time.
If you’re looking for a tool to help you schedule things into your life, I have LOVED and used the Simplified Planner for years! This planner really makes it easy to create space in your life for what matters, and I use it for both my personal life and school! You can check Simplified out here, and save $10 off of your planner! They even have 2019 planners on sale right now, and it’s only the second month of the year so there are plenty of months to come!
P.S. Are you reading this and in college to become a teacher? Click here to join my FREE Student Teaching Facebook community! I post content exculsively for student teachers, go live to chat about frequently asked topics, and there are a group of over 80 gals to seek advice and bounce ideas off of! I also have a post up with 10 things every student teacher needs to know. Click here to read it!
Cheering you on,