Opinion
Education Opinion

Achieving Work-Life Balance

By Amanda Austin Becker — September 19, 2018 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for your advice on the morning meeting ritual to build community in the classroom. In a secondary setting, I think this could translate well into a “bell work” format. As the students enter the classroom they could begin working on a reflective writing prompt. Following the writing exercise, the students could share their thoughts in group conversation. I look forward to beginning many of of my classes fostering reflection and conversation as a way to build community.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had time for much reflective writing or classroom discussion lately. We are coming to the end of a unit in which the students are learning analytical writing skills. I have been using all available class time to try to prepare my students for a common formative assessment that they will be taking along with all the other students in the Sophomore class. This means I have been reading A LOT of student writing. I have 178 students and I find that I am grading before school, after school, and late into the night at home.

So, with that in mind, I would like to give you a little glimpse into my personal life.

Let’s start with the current state of my car.

It has turned into an embarrassing, unsightly mess.

I have paper plates and bowls with breakfast crumbs lining the floorboard of my car and empty yogurt containers sitting in the cup holders. There are papers and unopened mail abandoned and ignored in the passenger seat. My daughter’s library books are strewn across the backseat, overdue by who knows how long. Dog hair and dust cover the console and dash and various makeup products fill small, unoccupied spaces waiting to be used during my frantic drive to work.

The mess that is my car is a metaphor for the mess that is my life right now. I am exactly five weeks into the school year and I am exhausted. I feel like I have a decent grasp on planning lessons and some aspects of classroom management, but I am finding it challenging to keep up with all the grading, emails, meetings, and issues that arise with teaching 178 students. I had a wonderful, idealistic vision at the beginning of the school year in which I hoped to arrive at school very early in the morning to accomplish the grading, planning, and emails that I was not able to accomplish during my plan time. That lasted for about a week. Now I am dragging myself out of bed, exhausted, and feeling behind the eight ball.

So, Lisa, tell me your secrets to staying on top of grading and keeping track of the individual needs of my students more efficiently. I am seeing so much progress in my students already, which is wonderful, but I want to be successful in the classroom and also have a clean car. How can I be more productive at school to better maintain a healthy work / life balance?

*Photo above by the author.


Show a newbie some love and connect with Amanda on Twitter; her handle is @ateacherstory.

Lisa can be found blogging about her passion to inspire educators to thrive at lisadabbs.com. You can connect with Lisa on Twitter at @teachwithsoul.

The opinions expressed in The New Teacher Chat: Advice, Tips, and Support are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Tiny Wrists in Cuffs: How Police Use Force Against Children
An investigation finds children as young as 6 and a disproportionate amount of Black children have been handled forcibly by police officers.
15 min read
Jhaimarion, 10, reacts as he listens to his mother, Krystal Archie talking with an Associated Press reporter in Chicago on Sept. 23, 2021. Archie’s three children were present when police, on two occasions, just 11 weeks apart, kicked open her front door and tore through their home searching for drug suspects. She’d never heard of the people they were hunting. Her oldest child, Savannah was 14 at the time; her youngest, Jhaimarion, was seven. They were ordered to get down on the floor.
Jhaimarion, 10, reacts as he listens to his mother, Krystal Archie talking with an Associated Press reporter in Chicago on Sept. 23, 2021. Archie’s three children were present when police, on two occasions, just 11 weeks apart, kicked open her front door and tore through their home searching for drug suspects. She’d never heard of the people they were hunting. Her oldest child, Savannah was 14 at the time; her youngest, Jhaimarion, was seven. They were ordered to get down on the floor.
Nam Y. Huh/AP
Education Gunman in 2018 Parkland School Massacre Pleads Guilty
A jury will decide whether Nikolas Cruz will be executed for one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
3 min read
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education Briefly Stated: October 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Gunman in Parkland School Massacre to Plead Guilty
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said.
4 min read
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP