9th December 2021
A recent study from the Office Of National Statistics found that 48% of adults felt they were struggling with a poor work-life balance. In a subsequent study by Education Support, over 74% of teachers reported that they struggled with the boundaries between work and home life over the last year. The pandemic has exacerbated the issue, with so many people working from home, it’s easy to assume that everyone is just a few steps away from their email which has blurred the lines for workers in nearly all industries between work and life.
Work-life balance is one of the biggest factors in teachers wanting to leave the profession, it’s vital that you have strategies to maintain a good balance, manage your workload and have time for plenty of relaxation and downtime. Work-life balance is something that needs effort – preparation and planning as well as knowing where to go when things get too much are the key to successfully managing your workload and maintaining your wellbeing.
Our Partnership & Development team work with candidates and schools to support the success of everyone working with us – from wellbeing and mental health support to training and career development. They’ve put together these tips for managing your work-life balance as a teacher:
Accept Teaching Can Be Tough
We’ve never sugarcoated it – teaching can be a tough job. Not only do you have to bring your a-game every single day, but the expectations, responsibility and workload can have an impact on your mental wellbeing too.
It’s important to remember, teachers aren’t social workers. Whilst you can support and signpost your pupils to the help they might need, your role is to provide them with an education to the best of your ability. There are always going to be times that are tough – from busy seasons such as exams and Christmas to inevitable conflicts and challenging behaviour in the classroom, your resolve, patience and creative problem solving will be tested constantly as a teacher. Having a toolkit to deal with every eventuality and a strategy for escalating worries is key.
Planning And Preparation
Managing the busy life of a teacher as well as keeping a positive work-life balance requires some planning and preparation. There will always be things that you can plan for and things that you can’t. Planning your lessons will help you with day-to-day teaching and establishing a routine – if you can plan your lessons well in advance, that’s a real bonus. Once you’ve been a teacher for a while you’ll have a store of lessons that you can whip out in a flash – until then, you’ll need to be adaptable, but prepared to see your planning through, as well as reviewing and learning from your mistakes, allowing you to be better prepared in the future!
Tried & Tested Techniques
There are a plethora of strategies out there – from planning all your lessons at the beginning of the year to dividing your time into manageable chunks and distributing your tasks among them. One strategy we’ve seen teachers successful use to manage their workload is a priority grid – it forces you to consider what’s really important in your workload. Twinkl has some great free resources for teachers wanting to organise and manage their workload. Try their Priority Grid download here, or search their other organisation content here.
It’s vital that schools take wellbeing seriously too. If you are struggling to manage your workload, speak to your Head of Department or mentor and make sure they are taking your concerns seriously.
“Sometimes schools forget the importance of looking after their staff and fail to understand that with happy staff you’re more likely to produce happy learners. Creating a climate for a genuine work-life balance must be at the heart of every school’s wellbeing strategy”
– Mike Conaghan, Engage Partnership & Development Team.
If you find yourself struggling, there are places you can go for help. Education Support provide a 24/7 helpline for teachers that are struggling with their mental health, or need someone to listen. Your school should also be able to signpost your towards training or courses that could help manage your workload too – don’t be afraid to speak out if you are struggling!
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