Inside: Teacher work life balance quotes & tips
“Are you trying to have it all? That question makes no sense. It’s a stupid question. Stop asking it. Don’t ask it. Do you miss your kids while you’re at work? Yes, of course, I do. Everybody does. And then, you know, sometimes I don’t” – Leslie Knope
Thank you, Leslie Knope. I won’t pose the question of having it all but here is another, similar question that a lot of us ponder.
Does teacher work life balance actually exist?
Honestly, probably not. What I mean is, I don’t think there is a way to perfectly balance the time each day. Some days work will need more attention, some days your kids will, your spouse will, or YOU will. Even though the perfect balance may not exist, there are ways to set boundaries so that work doesn’t overtake other aspects of your life and vice versa.
The past few years have been rough for many of us. We are all trying hard to not let work take over everything else. Here are my 3 tips to help us achieve teacher work life balance.
Teacher work life balance tip #1- “Be where your feet are.”
Mental performance coach, Jon Osborn, tells this to all of his clients. What does it mean? Work to have your mind and body in the same place. If you are a basketball player, during a game, be in the moment, and have your head on the current play. Don’t focus on a previous play where you messed up, and don’t waste time worrying about what’s going to happen in the 4th quarter.
For teachers, this means focusing on what they are doing right now. If that’s a math lesson, don’t be worrying about your parent meeting after school. During planning time, focus on your lesson planning, rather than on a school committee meeting you have next week.
Essentially, be present. This can take work to practice mindfulness and help you to be in the moment. It’s worth it to help you “be where your feet are.”
A few months back, the Wife Teacher Mommy team met with a life coach, Lizzie Langston. One team member posed a similar question and Lizzie gave some great advice. She basically said that work life balance doesn’t really exist but that you need to make the choice of how to spend your time and then be content with your decision. Again, be present with whatever it is you are currently doing.
If you want more tips from Lizzie and Jon check out these episodes of Wife Teacher Mommy: The Podcast:
- How To Be An Effective Teacher By Taking Care Of Yourself with Lizzie Langston
- How To Build Mental Toughness for Teachers and Students with Jon Osborn
Teacher work life balance tip #2- Have clear expectations for work-related communications
Do you have parents emailing, texting, and expecting responses 24 hours a day? Teacher friend: you are NOT on call 24/7!
Set realistic boundaries and an email auto-responder so parents know when to expect a response from you. Then stick to those expectations so the parents learn that you mean those boundaries that you set.
What those boundaries are, looks different for each person. I had one co-worker who would check her email each night before bed, but not respond so that she knew what she was facing the next morning. Another co-worker only checked her communications during contract hours. You need to set the boundaries that work best for you to help you achieve teacher work life balance.
Teacher work life balance tip #3- Make time for your hobbies
…because they won’t happen unless you make the time!
Ask yourself: What are some of the hobbies you enjoy doing? Do you do them? Can you not even REMEMBER what they are because it’s been so long since you’ve allowed yourself to do them (guilty as charged!)
For me, reading for enjoyment has always been one of my favorite hobbies. But frankly, for YEARS it was something I wasn’t doing because I was spending all my time at work or being “mom”. But now, I make time for it and it’s helped ease worries and stresses from my mind by escaping into a good book… and I feel rejuvenated when it’s time to work or be “mom” again so I’m actually more productive when it’s time to do so!
Bonus teacher work life balance tip!
Join Wife Teacher Mommy Club!
Why? Not only will you gain access to our full library of thousands of elementary teacher resources, but you will be able to take advantage of teacher life coaching.
Teacher life coaching can help you work through your problems and concerns to be your best self!