How many hours do you work a week? If you are a schoolteacher, then it is probably more than you think.
Whilst the DfE is looking to reduce the workload that teachers have, its last survey in 2019 still showed that, on average, a teacher worked almost 50 hours a week, which is well above the standard 37 hours worked by many people. Everyone knows that being a teacher is hard work, but we rarely think about how much time and effort it takes, especially when you are putting your pupils’ education and personal growth in front of your own wellbeing.
Here are our tips to help you gain some time back for yourself, which will help to give you the work-life balance and prevent that physical and emotional exhaustion that could lead to burnout.
It is important to separate your work and home life. We all know that teachers bring work home with them – but make sure that you can designate a separate area for your work, even better if you have a home office and can shut the door on it. There is nothing worse than having constant reminders around the home. Make designated times at home your no go work time – and that includes leaving the emails alone!
Get rid of all those non-essential tasks. Some of these help with the procrastination of not doing what you are meant to be doing, so stop rearranging your “post-it” notes or creating bulletin boards and cut all of those non-essential jobs out.
Develop Great Working Relationships
As the saying goes – “A problem shared is a problem halved”. Taking time to make friends with your colleagues is important; not only can you talk through difficult issues or have someone to act as a sounding board, sometimes you just need to vent off to someone who will listen. People who have great work friendships have better job satisfaction, so don’t be shy – strike up that conversation. Who knows, you may be the one helping someone else out.
Take A Break
Don’t forget to take breaks during the day – The phrase “lunch break” means exactly that – it is not time to grab a sandwich and get marking books; it is a time to down tools and get away from the desk even for a few minutes. If you can get outside and go for a short walk during your break, then even better.
Do Something Outside the Classroom
It may not be skydiving or ballroom dancing, but finding something to do outside your teaching job can remind you that you are an individual and not just a teacher. It doesn’t even need to be exercise (even though that can be a great stress buster); just find something that you enjoy, and switch off from work. Don’t forget that personal development may feel like it is still work, but actually investing in your own professional growth can help to switch off from the daily grind and can improve satisfaction as you learn new skills that will help you progress in your career.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Lack of sleep is bad for your health – fact!
Sleep helps the body recover from the stress of the day and can also improve your ability to problem solve, make decisions, and helps your memory to grow. Burnout and lack of sleep often go hand in hand, so instead of burning the midnight oil, put the work down, turn your tech off and drift off to sleep for a good 8 hours.
Switch Off when you are Working Remotely
Most teachers have moved back into the classrooms, but there are still occasions when you may be working remotely. This is one time when the lines between work and home life can become very blurred indeed. You may only have a commute from the bedroom to the kitchen to your home office, so remember to take downtime during the day and treat your time away from books or your computer screen as breaks – just as you would at school.