Not enough time in a day…

So today I had an all-day district workshop during which I was helping put together Word Study kits for all of the teachers at four of our district’s schools. While, there, I had a wonderful opportunity to talk with some teachers from other schools, all of whom have had more time in the field than me. I always find it really interesting to talk to teachers who have been in the field for 10, 15, 20, or even 30 years to see their perspective on how things have changed, what has stayed the same or cycled back from the past.

As much as I love talking to these teachers and hanging on many of their ideas to implement in my own classroom, there is one honest truth that many say that is difficult to swallow. It never becomes less work. Teaching is still overwhelming. I feel like I work too much and still can’t get it all done.

As a fourth year teacher in grad school, I can totally identify with their sentiments. I daily feel like there is way too much to do, that I am treading water, and that no matter how much I do, there is always so much more to be done. I live in the hope that one day, it will be easier. There is light at the end of the tunnel and one day my job will not come before everything else. But then I hear these veteran teachers expressing the same feelings as my own. I like that my job is a challenge and am glad that with my job there is never a dull moment, but I struggle to think about if I am working this much just on my job, how am I ever going to be able to fit in having a family too? I struggle often with making time to spend with my husband and letting things go and I often have a hard time trying to figure out where I can stop. I have learned a lot these past three years about how to work smarter not harder, but no matter how smart I work, there is always that much more to do.

These thoughts and feelings are sometimes difficult enough that I am not sure how long I can handle teaching. I have been working four years at the same grade level in the same school, and while I feel that I have learned a lot in that time, I feel like I am still working almost as hard as I was during my first year. I am just not sure that I can handle doing that for my entire career. I don’t know if I want to feel like I am choosing between being the best teacher I can be for my kids at school or being the best wife and mom I can be for my family at home.

I would love to hear insight from anyone who feels like they have figured out this balance. Does it get better? Do you feel like you have time to enjoy with family and spend doing things outside of work that you love? Do you have any advice for me on how to establish good habits that will lead to a more stress-free teaching life? Any and all feedback is welcome!

Feeling like this guy but much less skilled at “spinning plates”,

~Mrs. L

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5 thoughts on “Not enough time in a day…

  1. I know that you already got a notification of my reblogging, but I just have to say, this is spot on. More and more I feel like I’m seeing “teacher burnout,” and talking with colleagues about the strain and stress of teaching. I’ve heard the plate spinning comparison before, but it is certainly so true – just when you feel you’ve got one thing under control, another ‘plate’ starts wobbling. I have similar concerns about family time and commitment to other parts of my life – how do I effectively balance teaching with being a good friend, a good girlfriend, good to myself, etc.? I’m interested to see if anyone does think it smoothes over with time or, if it will always be a ‘balancing act’ in some sense.

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    • Thanks Taylor! It’s definitely comforting to know that there are others that feel the same way! I am definitely interested to see if this smoothes over time too!

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  2. Hi…
    I think this is constantly something that teachers are facing, totally agreeing over here. But I think the truth is that teaching is not a job like any other job. Teaching is a lifestyle. I think for myself I have found that I have to set boundaries for myself. Right now, being in grad school, everything has been thrown for a loop. But in regular life (nongrad school life) I choose one or two nights a week that I am going to work on teaching outside of school and I won’t work the rest of the week. By picking a specific time for work, I try to work more efficiently because I know that that work time is valuable. I don’t know if that helps, but it’s worth a try!

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    • Thanks Lauren! I totally agree that setting boundaries is important. I am not always good about sticking to them and need to be more diligent to do so. I am hoping once grad school is over, I will realize that I have become more efficient in managing my time and will thus have more time to spend outside of doing work. I will definitely work on being more diligent in setting and sticking to boundaries!

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