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How to Balance Work and Life as a Teacher

5/01/2013 2:54 pm

Teacher in Classroom

Anyone well into their career in teaching will tell you that if you are truly dedicated to giving students the best education possible, maintaining a proper work-life balance can be challenging. With so many papers to grade, homework to correct and students that need one-on-one attention after school, your work-life balance is liable to get off track now and again. To get back on the path of effectively managing the daily demands that come with a career in teaching, follow this advice:

Manage your time efficiently
Even if the school day ends at 3 p.m., that doesn't mean a teacher's job is done. To maintain a good balance between the time you spend at work and home, try to make an effective use of the extra minutes you have before the students arrive at school. If the bell rings at 8 a.m. and you tend to arrive at 7:30 a.m., spend that time grading papers instead of chatting with your coworkers. That's half an hour you don't have to spend on work once you get home that night.

Have a life outside of work
This is not to say that you need to completely leave your identity as a teacher at the schoolhouse door, but having something to look forward to at the end of the day will help you set any stressors aside and enjoy the time that you do spend at work that much more. If you don't have a family or roommate to come home to, meet friends for dinner or join a book group - whatever gets you out the door and into the world!

Avoid over-committing
You can't please everyone, and if you say 'yes' to every small request you'll quickly overextend yourself. While it's great to help with extra curricular activities or give students the one-on-one tutoring they desperately need, it's OK to say no to chaperoning the school dance now and again. If you don't over-commit, you'll be able to devote more time and energy to the things you're passionate about and be a better teacher because of it.


Western Governors University is a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU's Teachers College offers multiple online degree programs for current teachers or those looking to become teachers. Find out more about WGU's Teachers College!

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