We asked experienced educators how they balance their teaching career and life at home. Here is what they had to say:
Sometimes the most important thing you can do is to take care of you. And that means that you should unplug and read the book you’ve been wanting to read for ages that’s not related to building your teaching kit, that is kind of nonsense, mystery, romance, or whatever you love reading. You should go to yoga class or take a walk. To be the best educator you can be, you’ve got to be the best you can be for yourself. It requires the reflective moment of stepping back and taking stock. It makes your brain work faster. A lot of brain based learning goes on in there when you take a break. Take care of you so you can take care of others.
– Sabrina Gates, Director, Center for Technology and Education
Self-care is extremely important. You take care of your students all day long and it’s easy to forget to take time for yourself. There are times when you need to have an adult conversation after being with children all day. I suggest building relationships with your peers and getting conversation going to help ease the stress of the job. Also, take some days off – it’s taken me a long time to learn this one.
– Java Robinson, Teacher, Elementary School
“My time at home with my family is sacred. I like to keep my personal life and my career fairly separate. I am responsible for 28 children at school all day and at the end of a long day I am exhausted. However, it’s important for me to not be mentally drained for my own kids after my day at school. I recharge by taking a few deep breaths, going for a walk, or driving without the radio on so I can still be mom to my own two children”
– Cassandra Joss, Teacher, Third Grade
Find the things you’re passionate about and read everything you can get your hands on. I find that reading is a great way to de-stress and have some me-time.
– Josh Halpren, Teacher, Middle School
Go on a good Netflix binge or read your favorite book. Exercise consistently to have an outlet and release some endorphins, whether it’s a long walk or bicycling, whatever your heart desires. Also, set boundaries for yourself with work. Have the self-discipline to say ‘I’m not going to grade any papers after this time, I’m only going to bring home papers once a week, or only on Saturday mornings from a certain time will I do any schoolwork.’ As an educator, you have to be able to set some limits for yourself.
– Lindsay Thompson, AP English Language & Literature Teacher
Take time with your loved ones to do fun things together. My family and I have our weekend game nights or Friday pizza nights every week. I find that taking time to be with my loved ones, whether it be my family or my friends, and making sure I am completely ‘there’ and not thinking about anything else, has kept me happier and healthier.
– Ann Marie, Music Teacher
These veteran educators have been in the field long enough for them to find the secrets to achieving that ideal work-life balance. Use their advice to stay balanced in your own life.