Be a whole person!

Finding and respecting balance in life as a teacher.

Photo of Heather Tyler
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Teaching is a profession where it is easy to lose yourself.  It is also one where if you make time for yourself you inevitably feel guilty and like you should be working instead.  

I was reading Amy Poehler's book Yes Please for my book club (one of the grown up things I do to find balance) and I came across her chapter "treat your career like a bad boyfriend."  While she does make the distinction between a career and passion, the over all message is that you need to have an element of healthy detachment. This can be extremely difficult for teachers. Amy writes that "you will rarely feel done or complete or even successful" in your career.  I agree.  No matter how much I do, I never feel like it is enough.  This isn't terribly healthy, though.

I want to be an adult with interests and hobbies and passions besides the classroom. And to not feel guilty about it.  I believe that valuing myself as a whole person will be integral to my future success. As Kelly and Matt wrote, their outside experiences also helped to inspire and improve their own teaching.

If we value the whole child, shouldn't we value ourselves and each other as whole people, too?

And now to go do a yoga video before dinner, no guilt involved. :)


Join the conversation:

Photo of Erin Earnshaw

Amen sista! The guilt! I have this expectation that I should be able to do all this and the reality is... No, I cannot. But that voice is so much smaller than all the others. No wonder so many teachers burn out. :(

Photo of John Faig

This is an important idea for everyone - and especially teachers. Teachers are reluctant to do things differently in the interest of recapturing some leisure time. The deep devotion that teachers' feel towards their students can hamper productivity. Most teachers grade 100% of their students' work - by hand. Technology could do some of this and teachers could take a sampling approach to grading some of the smaller, more routine student work (even the FDA only samples beef and chicken).

Photo of Chris Good

Great post Heather, I wonder what thoughts this collective might have for promoting balance for deeply passionate and committed teachers - who have likely made a career out of sacrificing for others (professionally and at home)! Such an important need - yet one we are all so quick to give up.

Photo of Kirsten Franklin

Very important topic! Taking some time for yourself outside of teaching can create a "time revolution." You are more efficient when you strive for balance, but you also learn how to let go of some things.

Photo of Sarah Lundy

Oh my goodness, this is a message the bears repeating over & over & over again. Amen.

Photo of Jessica Lura

Totally agree that it's way too easy for us to lose the balance between work and life as a teacher.

Thanks for sharing.