Monday, September 29, 2014

Who Needs Weekends and Holidays?

Day 27 of the +TeachThought blogging challenge

My first year teaching was 1999 and my weeks looked something like this...

Monday - Friday:  Arrive at school by 8am, work all day, including through lunchtime, leave school around 5pm or earlier if my son had sport, have dinner, start working again, finish at about midnight, bed, then up again at 6am to start all over.

Weekends - sport with my son but I could multi-task if his games were at the school grounds and then mostly preparation for the following week with breaks to spend time with my son.

I took this career so seriously and wanted to give the best I could to my students - I still do -  but I was missing out on time for me and also for my son.  I was a single parent so I should have been more aware of this.  I'm very lucky he's turned out to be such an amazing young man whom I'm incredibly proud of but...

This 'routine' which was exhausting, went on for many years.  I started to question it, however.  The more I reflected on what I was doing and the more aware I became of the lack of balance I began to realise that if I kept going at this pace then everyone would miss family, my students and school and also myself. There's nothing like a reality check for you to realise that by leading a more balanced life and taking breaks and holidays, you actually become a far better teacher - and learner.  A colleague taught me this when I moved from a large college back to a primary school.  She is a teacher whom I admire immensely and she was managing to be a 'super teacher' in my eyes, had a fantastic family and is also a very talented artist - who was still managing to create beautiful works of art and be an amazing teacher.  I paid attention and had many discussions with her.  I learned so much about balance and how to get there.  Not always easy when you are a perfectionist.

So how am I doing 15 years down the track from that first year?  Well... I reflect on this a lot and know that I probably have a way to go on the balance aspect of my practice but I'm a work in progress and I try to participate in as many activities as I can because I know that a more balanced life makes me a better person, and a far better teacher / co-learner and leader for my staff and students.

I'll keep reflecting and working on that...


No comments:

Post a Comment