Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Your Life Outside of Teaching

Where do you draw the line between teaching, your family and life outside of work? If you have been teaching for awhile now, you know how all consuming it can be. If you haven’t taught yet…get ready. Although you will have the great vacation time that comes with teaching, the flip side is the school year with its fast pace and huge work load. At certain times of the year it feels like you work and work and work, come home, collapse and do it all over again. I sometimes feel, as Bryant Gumbel described when working as host of the Today Show, that I am eating breakfast again every five minutes.

We must be good models of human beings as teachers and if we are out of balance in some way and not living up to all of our responsibilities as husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and friends, then we aren’t modeling appropriately. You have to craft your life so that you draw the line in certain places. Create boundaries where you say I’m going to work at this time and be with my family and friends at this time.

You must take care of your health, and get enough sleep, so that you can work effectively and when that time away from work comes, you don’t just collapse or hide in a dark room, failing your other connections in life. Keep yourself in that harmonious, singing mental state.
Again, make time each week. Don’t save all your needs for weekends and vacations. It may seem uptight, but planning is the best way to ensure that your needs get met. Otherwise, all your responsibilities as a teacher (whose work never ends) will creep up and bleed into the rest of your life.

I heard a teacher once say at a conference "Don’t neglect your own children in the raising of other people’s children." There are so many students with so many needs you could spend forever on those other problems. As someone about to have his second child, I'm determined not to let them grow up with their dad locked in a room grading papers.
Keep your inner life full and healthy for your own sake and your students' sake. They won't learn from a shell.

No comments:

Post a Comment