Don’t Try To Do More, Just Try To Do It Better
Just about every teacher I know would like more time each
day for additional classroom preparations, to meet with students or parents, or
to spend time with colleagues discussing curriculum and observing pedagogy. Yet
we all only have 168 hours each week, and we also have to eat, sleep, and take
care of many other responsibilities on a weekly basis.
With the pressure to do more seeming to increase on a yearly basis and teacher “to do” lists ever expanding, what are some strategies that would foster healthier work-life balance?
To start, teachers may want to consider ways they can work smarter. This may include strategies that would shorten the time it takes to complete certain lesson preparations or to gain greater mastery of the aspects of the curriculum that present the most significant challenges. There are more and more online resources available today that help to foster better curricula efficiencies.
Teachers may also want to do an inventory of their many obligations and determine if there are certain items that are less meaningful or important that could be reduced or altogether eliminated. And when possible, they could consider ways to allocate certain tasks to others such as assistants or volunteers.
It may also be helpful to list the items that have to be done in different columns for today, tomorrow, and in the future, including specific action items for each time frame. These lists may actually free up mental bandwidth that could be used most effectively in other ways.
Perhaps most of all, as professionals who have to be 100%
present to be effective in the classroom, teachers should make their downtime
really count and take concrete steps to reduce worries and stress. Unplugging,
going for walks, and spending carefree time with friends may ultimately save
time and reduce burn out rates in the long run. And in doing so, teachers may
find the right balance between meaningful work and restorative rest that will
help to optimize each of their 168 hours.
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