How to Maintain a Work-Life Balance As a Teacher

We all know that the life of a teacher isn't always a walk in the park. While this role can be boundlessly rewarding and exciting, it also demands long hours and the crucial ability to organise, prioritise and juggle multiple pressing demands.

Being a teacher doesn't end when your lesson does. All teachers know that lesson planning and prep, sourcing materials, setting and marking homework, and participating in school life means that sometimes it feels like there simply aren't enough hours in the day.

Work-Life balance as a teacher - is it even possible?

Maintaining a work-life balance as a teacher is difficult. However, it is also essential. If you want to be effective in the classroom and take care of your health and wellbeing, getting this right should remain a priority. If you dedicate all your waking hours to teaching tasks and have nothing left but the energy to crawl into bed at the end of the day, you are doing yourself and your profession a disservice. Teachers can only teach well if they have the energy, clarity, and positivity to do so. If you don't make time for yourself, you'll experience burnout. The longer you neglect your personal life, the more impossible it can feel to claw any time back just for you.

The good news is that it is possible to achieve an excellent work-life balance as a teacher. Here are some top tips to help you.

Learn how to prioritise

Make a list of the things that mean the most to you - the deal-breakers that you absolutely must keep in your life. Focus on family commitments, hobbies, and leisure activities that restore and energise you. You can also make a list of work commitments and priorities too. Look at these lists and work out what is most important and what can wait or be parked. Then make sure you always focus on the most important things first.

Learn how to say no

You cannot be everything to everyone all the time. It's essential to set boundaries and learn how to politely but firmly decline requests for your time. This is true for colleagues, friends, and family members. It's far better to say no and explain why than to say yes and then disappoint people or collapse under the pressure of all your responsibilities.

Carve out time for you

Whether it's getting up a little earlier so you can do a morning meditation, going to bed a little earlier to read your book, or setting some time aside at the weekend where everyone knows and agrees this is time for you to do something you love. It doesn't even have to be an activity, just an hour or so where you can do whatever you want, watch your favourite TV show or have a nice bubble bath - your time is important too.

Remember that work is work

Teaching is your job, not your entire life. While you might not resent putting all those extra hours in at first, the daily grind will also get you down. Resentment will weigh you down and start to affect those around you too. You need to replenish your stores and withdraw from them so learn to recognise the signs of resentment and figure out how you can step back.

Stay positive and present

A positive mental attitude can go a long way. Instead of beating yourself up about everything you haven't done, celebrate your success and practice being kind to yourself. Also, avoid those perpetual moaners - your job is really tough, and while it can be helpful to have a good rant now and again, continuously bemoaning your job will only make it harder to do. Living in the present moment is also a good idea. Worrying about the future will only cause you to stress, so just try to enjoy each day as it comes and recognise the progress you are making, zoning in on what you love most about your job rather than what you don't.

Get some support

Don't be afraid to talk to people about how you feel. Ask for help when you need it. Communicate when you feel concerned. Sometimes you don't even need advice, just someone who'll hear you out. The benefits of sharing the load and talking through your worries can be a huge stress reliever and help you feel freer and more able to achieve the work-life balance you deserve.

Remember, you are in control

It's important sometimes to remind ourselves that we are responsible for our choices. So make sure that you remember that when life is feeling out of control. You have the ability to make changes and manage your life, so when you are feeling out of balance, consider all the options and take steps (however small) to improve your life.

Get Your New Teaching Job With Horizon Teachers

Work-life balance as a teacher is difficult to achieve, but it's definitely possible. Doing so will ensure you are the most effective and successful teacher you can be and help you enjoy your role so much more. If you are looking at getting into teaching or ready to take that next step in your career, browse our fantastic teaching jobs today.