Spring break is here! I am so excited–maybe more than my students. For the first five or six years of my career as an educator, I worked long hours and brought work home. When my children wanted to play or do anything fun, I immediately thought of how I needed to finish up some work for my students. This eventually made it difficult to truly enjoy spending time with my children. It also made it challenging to have enough time for my husband and for myself. I constantly battled being a good wife, mother, and educator.
I finally grew tired of pouring my soul into the lives of other children while my family suffered. So, I asked a few veteran teachers how they survived life as an educator while balancing their personal responsibilities. Among the many suggestions I received, two stuck with me:
1) Teach less better. The harsh reality is that teachers do not have enough time to teach everything. It is difficult to teach with state tests and administrative goals in mind. Then, add in the behavior issues, parent issues, overcrowded classrooms, crises, local level testing, class meetings, and pep rallies. All of these activities infringe upon valuable learning time. As a result, I have learned to focus on the major concepts that will help prepare my students for college-level courses. I also use several forms of technology to help present my content effectively. I am very pleased with the changes I’ve made in recent years because of the results. For example, I have students who are in college now. They tell me how well-prepared they were compared to their peers. This has made a huge difference in my self-confidence!
2) Leave work at work. This can be a difficult piece of advice to follow; however, it is a necessity. After working long hours, the best thing to do is to clear your mind, and prepare yourself for family time or any other obligations you may have. Even if you are single, there should be clear boundaries between work and home. Balance is the key to sanity!
So, what am I doing for spring break? Enjoying as many moments as possible with my family, and sneaking in a few “me time” sessions when needed. I hope my fellow educators do the same! 🙂