I quit teaching after 10 years. After about a year and a half of working a 9-5 job, I was ready to go back, but it took an additional year to find the right school for me. My first year back, I spent most of the school year commuting almost 3 hours roundtrip. By the end of May, I was a frazzled mess. My goal this school year is to put myself first and avoid burnout. How am I doing that?
Strategy 1 – Leave work at work
Teachers are notorious for grading and lesson planning at home. Since my school went 1:1 this year, I do spend a fair amount of time planning on the weekends. Since my classes are only a semester long, I figure that the time I spend this semester working on lesson plans will be greatly reduced next semester, so I am ok with that tradeoff.
I hate to grade at home and rarely do I actually do it. Still, occasionally I get behind if my planning is interrupted. That was the case this week, but l still managed to leave on Friday with less than a class worth of papers. Since we went 1:1, this means that some of my assignments can be graded automatically thanks to Google forms, Schoology quizzes, or EdPuzzle.
I also disconnected my work email from my phone. It can wait. Free yourself.
You probably think I stay at school late every night in order to get my work done. This brings me to –
Strategy 2 – Leave work
According to my contract, unless I have detention or a meeting, I can leave at 4:00 pm. Most days I am out of there before 4:30. Usually, I am ready to go at 4:00, but I do like to socialize with the other teachers in my department. I did have to work “late” one-day last week so that I could get things ready for a sub, but I was still out by 5:00 pm.
I would much rather grade like crazy, enter grades while eating lunch, and then run to the copy room so that I can leave school on time. You need that extra time for –
Strategy 3 – Exercise and hobbies
I come home most afternoons and either go for a run with my running group, work on my blog, or just have “me” time. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. After a full day, the last thing you have the energy for is exercise, but it will make you feel SO much better. Last Thursday, I was so exhausted on my way home, but I met my running group, had an excellent run, and then had energy for hours.
Not one for formal exercise? That’s ok. Dance around the kitchen while cooking dinner if that works for you. Just move. You will thank me later.
These strategies don’t just work for teachers. Everyone can benefit from taking a mini-vacation at home every night.