Balancing School and Family Life
Balancing school and family life has been a challenge this year. It is only October and I am already feeling the stress of balancing school and family. I am finding a balance between my family life and my teaching profession. For those of you who don’t know, I just had a baby boy, Oliver, in January. He is a fun and active 9 month old. After teaching all day, I truly cherish the time spent with him when I get home from teaching and on the weekends. I was struggling with not wanting to complete things due for work because I wanted to spend those free minutes with my son. Those first few weeks of school, I was up late finishing work, up during the night with Oliver, and overtired the next day at school. This lasted about 2 weeks until I realized I needed to make a few changes in balancing school and family life.
Anyone else struggling in Balancing School and Family?
Anyone else struggling in balancing school and family or personal life and a teaching career? Anyone else finding themselves feeling overwhelmed, falling behind, or over tired? These are the suggestions that I found helpful to manage my family and career in the ‘balancing school and family’ act.
Make a list
I have a list of “Free time”. These are things that I would like to finish but don’t need to be done immediately. This list helps me from sitting at my desk during planning or free time, thinking “I know there is a lot I should be doing, but I can’t think of anything” I also make a list when I am lying in bed. This helps get my list off my mind and insure I don’t forget.
Prioritize!!! Focus on what needs to be completed before the week is over. Then make a list of item that could be completed. Work through the important, must do items first.
Set a schedule
To help myself say focus and get stuff done, I set a schedule. After I make a list of all the things I need to accomplish, and prioritize them, I make a schedule when each item will get completed. I try to have one goal every other day or every few days so that I know I have extra time in case something comes up.
Ask for Help
When you are having a week where you feel like you are drowning or barely staying afloat, ask for help. Ask for help from your family, ask for help for your colleagues, or even ask for help from your administration. Most administrators know that sometimes there is a little too much on your plate at one time. Asking for extension on setting up your guided math centers or extra help shows that you are a leader who understands where your own personal boundaries are and you are not too afraid to ask for assistance when needed.
The art of saying “no”
I can’t count the number of times as a new teacher that I agreed to help at all the extra events, and offered to take on every project that our principal asked for. Anyone else have a hard time saying no? I have learned, in the last year after having my son, the art of saying no. Before answering the email asking for after school help, I think about how it will affect my family and if I truly have time for the commitment. If the answer is that it will take away time from my family, make me more stressed out with extra things to do, then my answer is no. Most administrators understand the struggle of balancing school and family life.
Sleep and forget
I am a person who when I go to bed my brain does not shut off. I lay in bed thinking about my classroom, my grading, my students, my lessons, and whatever other little things pass through my mind. It is important to sleep and forgot your worries. A good night sleep keep you focus and ready for the new day, therefore tackling more on the “to do” list. I leave a small notepad beside my bed. When I think of something, I jot it down. This helps me make sure I address it tomorrow and then I can forget about it and fall asleep. Sometimes I set a reminder on my phone for the next day. This allows my phone to alert me when I get to school about a task.
Keep Life in Perspective
Focus on what matters. Keep life in perspective. Remember you are there for the kids and to help them learn. If you don’t print out the newest decoration for the door or your workbook page doesn’t have fancy clipart around it, the students will survive. They will learn just the same as they would have with the decorations or clipart. If you are overtired, stressed out, and struggling to balance school and family, then you are not fully being there for your students. I rather be the role model and teacher my students need and keep my like in perspective.
Make Time for Yourself
Take a few minutes every night to do something for yourself. For example, I am writing this teaching blog. Other nights I enjoy reading, catching up on favorite T.V. shows, or going to a coffee shop to enjoy a cup of coffee.
I am a big believer that family comes first! I would not be a successful teacher without my family’s support and love. I want to be the best teacher I can be, but that comes with being a great mom and wife as well.
For all the women, men, moms, dads, wives, and husbands out there balancing school and family life, stay strong. Keeping life in perspective has been a major eye-opener. If I don’t print out all the decorations I want for my classroom setup, no child’s education is going to suffer. If I am stressed out and overtired for school, my students are going to suffer. Try these tips on balancing school and family and see if they make a difference if your life. I know these have been big changes in my life as well, but I am happy with the progress. Although, I still have days where I am stressed out and struggling to balance everything, I am a more successful teacher, mom, and wife because of these few steps.
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