As the lovely Rhianna once sang “Work, work, work, work, work, work You see me I be work, work, work, work, work, work.” Now she may not have been very eloquent and definitely used the word ‘work’ more than I would allow in a big write however it does sum up my life at the moment.
I used trusty Google to find the definition of work life balance just to make sure I hadn’t accidently got the wrong meaning. It did confirm that it is the division of one’s time and focus between working and family or leisure activities.
I am the first to admit that I do not have a work/life balance. My life revolves around work and has done since I became a teacher. I am normally at work before 7.30am and I am often found tapping away on my laptop till gone 9pm at home. I am a perfectionist and I am a worrier which is a deadly combination when it comes to time management in this profession (or any other I suppose). I love my job but the pressure and the level of work is getting harder and harder to maintain.
Tonight is an example of my evenings and how I have got the balance all wrong. I have just marked 90 books and have another 20 that I will need to mark in the morning because I simply couldn’t carry any more. I have made WALTs including differentiated and colour coded success criteria. I have created activities for Maths and Guided reading as well as writing a detailed letter to the teacher who will be covering my English release in the morning. We also had staff meeting after school, I am exhausted and it is only Monday!
I have seen in the news more and more about ‘Staff Wellbeing’and how school’s senior management teams need to acknowledge the pressure teaching staff are under and get teachers to keep hold of their joy of teaching. In an article the Guardian I read “Good teachers are happy,” said McGill. “But if they don’t have a chance to breathe, they can’t be happy.”
So how can we get the balance back and make sure we are feeling happy again?
My school has attempted to do this in the form of a ‘Staff Wellbeing Week’. It had all the right intentions however badly timed for me! On the Monday my year group are going on a school trip (always fun with 90 children and a chocolate factory – this could be a book!), Tuesday is a book scrutiny and Thursday I am being observed. Not sure I will be feeling very ‘well‘ by Friday and doubt I will be out the school gate by 4pm like planned on any of these days.
In an attempt to still make the most of wellbeing week in my PPA this week I will try to plan for lessons that will produce work that will not need an in depth mark and definitely will make sure I don’t have 110 books to mark in one night! I will also try and have one night where my laptop is shut off and put away by 8pm so I can have an earlier night.
I’ll keep you posted on if I have managed this!