When I read your post on Achieving Work-Life Balance I wasn’t surprised to sense the frustration in your writing. I know you’re feeling overwhelmed but remember you aren’t alone. There are many new teachers around the country feeling just like you do. How do you get through it? It takes time to develop a rhythm to your life when you first start teaching. In time you’ll get there but for now, you have to give yourself some grace.
Meantime you asked me this question:
How can I be more productive at school to better maintain a healthy work/life balance?
What I want you to remember, Amanda is that you’ve accomplished quite a bit since the start of the school year. You’ve set up your classroom, prepared lesson plans, gotten to know your students, conferenced with their parents and probably even produced your first set of report cards. Whew! Not easy tasks by any means! So your question of staying balanced is a real challenge. It’s not easy, but there are three things I want to share with you as you continue to push through the school year.
Let’s take a look at these three words and how they might help to ground you:
1. Patience: “quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence; to work with patience.” ~ Dictionary.com
We know teaching takes an incredible amount of patience; not only that which you show your students, their families, and your colleagues but most importantly patience with yourself. So going forward, remember to be kind to yourself as you reflect on where you were, where you’re going and where you want to be. Give yourself time to really get a sense of what you worked hard to accomplish and what you still want to work on. Be patient with yourself as you plan and prepare for the days, weeks, and months ahead. Remember that as we look for balance, we’ve got to be patient with ourselves and at times it requires waiting for the thing we’re hoping for. In the meantime, how about looking into the practice of a short daily meditation?
2. Persistence: “the continuance of an effect after its cause is removed.” ~ Dictionary.com
Do you have a vision for the future of your work as you seek balance? Are you willing to strive to make it a reality? Will you stay persistent in this goal? Amanda, I’m sure that the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding... YES! Persistence in the face of restless students, anxious parents, and the pressures of the school day is what it takes to be a servant leader. And along with serving and leading, teachers need to consistently seek to find balance in their work lives! As you roll up your sleeves every day, search out your lesson plans, and get down to the business of delivering instruction, persistence will keep you going despite the proverbial misstep that’s bound to happen in your daily work. Staying persistent in keeping balance and not giving up when things go “sideways” will support you to feel and be your best for yourself and your students.
3. Play: “exercise or activity for amusement or recreation.” ~ Dictionary.com
Keeping balance requires that we take time to play! Amanda, as a new teacher, you may not get out and play as often as you should. I know you must be a fan of play for your students but what about time for yourself? Do you take time to play and really let loose? Taking time to play can support you to have a powerful sense of freedom. Do you have a hobby that supports you to play? How can you work to experience that at least once a week? Can you schedule a play-time commitment with a buddy? Maybe take a yoga class, see a movie or binge on Netflix, or join a Book Club with girlfriends? These kinds of activities will help to give you the balance you’re looking for and won’t cost you tons of money to enjoy them. Don’t hesitate to make play a habit. Years from now, you’ll be glad you did!
Seeking and making time for balance in your work life won’t be easy. Give yourself permission to explore ways that feel right for you. You’ll find that it’ll make for more positive daily interactions and carry you through the best and worst days of your career.
Friends, how do you find balance in your work life? Amanda and I would love to know your thoughts. In the meantime, here’s to staying patient, persistent and playful as you push through to finish strong in 2018!
Show a newbie some love and connect with Amanda on Twitter; her handle is @ateacherstory.
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.