Things have been insanely busy lately. I haven’t even had time to carry out my normal wake-up routine (which largely involves snoozing for an hour or more).
The main reason for my lack of time is a series of teaching trips that require overnight stays. A big problem for many teachers, especially newbies such as yours truly, is work-life balance.
Work, or life?
For some teachers, the balance is tipped more in the favour of ‘life’ than ‘work’. The cliché of the beer-swilling, party-going young TEFLer is well worn, but accurate in many cases. Other teachers find it difficult to switch off. It’s not so much the amount of time they spend at work, but that they’re minds can’t move on from teaching. Teaching English becomes the sole point of conversation, the only thing on their minds, and, in some more extreme instances, the subject of their dreams. Even sleep is no escape!
Teaching can be stressful at times, but for the sake of your own joie de vivre keeping a good work-life balance is important. Here are some tips culled from various articles on the jobs.ac.uk website.
Finding your own balance
Balance is something that works for you individually. Comparing yourself with other teachers will not help your situation, but asking yourself what you are capable of will.
Draw a line between home and work
This isn’t always possible, but leaving work at work will help you to relax at home and keep a good balance.
Maintain a schedule
You have a variety of tasks to take care of as a teacher, so routine is vital. Some teachers find it useful to have set days/times for lesson planning so that they know things are under control. The same goes for marking, lesson reports and other duties.
I’ve seen some cases where teachers just seem to want to cram lessons into every pocket of the day – taking on private lessons on weekends, and company lessons on evenings after their regular job. As the first point stated, it’s good to find your own balance, but it’s also important to have time to switch off. For one thing, you are living in an interesting country that probably has lots to offer culturally. Take the time to enjoy it!