I don’t know about you, but after I shut off my Zooms for the day, I have never been more exhausted. Teaching online is so different, and it really drains you. I feel now that since all of my teaching is done online and with a computer, it is so hard to shut off and really stop working. I mean, I don’t leave my laptop at school, and I constantly have my phone with me, so it is so easy to just keep working.
Anyone else relating to me???
Before distance learning, I was so good at leaving work at school. I would always leave within an hour of school ending, I would rarely bring work home, and I was always prepped a week in advance. Now, I feel like I’m swimming in schoolwork and I feel bad not working. This time is so different for everyone, and I want to help support students and parents as much as possible. HOWEVER, the expression “you can’t fill others with an empty cup” keeps ringing in the back of my mind. I know I am not alone in this feeling, so what can we do about this?
Have no fear, I have created a list of things I am trying, and maybe they can help you too…
Tips for Teacher Work/Life Balance During A Pandemic:
- Leave your work bag in a certain spot at home and DON’T TOUCH IT!
As a teacher who is going in to teach in my classroom, when I get home I am training myself to not go back and open my laptop. This hasn’t been easy, but it’s getting easier each day.
- Stop responding to emails after 4pm.
This one is something I try to do during non pandemic life, so why not do this during virtual learning? Yes, parents constantly have questions (we all do!) but they also understand we are not getting paid the big bucks to answer their emails after school hours. My personal compromise on this is arriving at school early and responding first thing in the morning. This eases my teacher guilt.
- Connect with teacher friends!
Whether this is teachers at your school site or on social media, it helps to have an outlet. Talking to someone who is going through these same struggles makes a difference. I mean, I love my husband and tell him everything, but he just doesn’t get it. He sees all the work I’m putting in and knows I have learned a new way of teaching overnight, but he doesn’t really know all the ins and out of being a teacher. Having a teacher friend to listen and build you up has made such an impact for me, especially during this pandemic and unprecedented time. We really are all going through this for the first time, so get yourself a teacher friend!
- Lastly, learn to say no.
This is something hard for me in general, but it’s been especially hard for me during the last few months. I mean, I’m home with not a lot to do. Why not fill my day with tasks and help people if I can? I never want to be thought of as selfish or unhelpful. I want to support everyone if I can. But, after doing this for a while, I had a moment. I was very overwhelmed and my anxiety was at an alltime high. I realized, why am I pouring myself into helping other people when I really need to be helping myself and doing some self care, both mentally and physically? Ding, ding ding! Winner winner! I needed to start making myself a priority. Even if it meant saying no, my mental and physical health and safety needs to be a priority. When I feel better, I am a better person and a better teacher.
Again, these are things that I’m trying. Every day is a fresh start with new challenges, and now more than ever, we need to lift each other up! If you’re looking for more tips on work/life balance, check out the Wednesday With Whitney Podcast, ‘Let’s Chat About Work/Life Balance’.