Being an educationist is a challenging task. On top of that, if you’re also a parent, then there’s no denying you may be lifting twice the load to keep your professional and personal life from crumbling. Balancing your career and trying to be the best parent is tricky.
Anticipating the needs of your children is not an easy feat, especially when they’re still young. However, astonishingly enough, the tactics you use in the classroom can be used at home with your kids. Being a teacher is about communicating, educating, and guiding students until they can keep up. Your children need the same attention, so how can you ensure both aspects of your life get enough time? Here’s what you need to do:
1. Get your credentials
Teachers do more than conduct lectures and assign work. You’re also responsible for ensuring that the curriculum students follow is coherent, mentoring your pupils when needed, and involving parents where necessary. Likewise, you must be proficient in your subject and know the coursework thoroughly. When you’re good at what you must teach, you can save time since you’re already well aware of what you need to do. This extra time can be used to focus more on your domestic life or gives you the space to work ahead of time.
So how do you get your credentials? The answer lies in going back to school. But don’t opt for the first educational program you see. Enroll in a school that accredits you across fifty shades and prepares you for your role as a teacher. Hence go for an NCATE accredited school and pick from them various post-graduate degrees that can polish you as a teacher and prepare you for the field you plan on tackling as an educationist.
2. Improve your communication skills
Communication is an asset. It can help you effectively manage your hectic lifestyle. All you need to do is improve at speaking your thoughts articulately, delegating work, and fostering relationships with your colleagues to better manage your job. Clearly communicating if there are any changes in the curriculum, lectures, or projects that your students are expected to do saves you the trouble of dealing with mishaps at the last minute.
Furthermore, communicating also allows you to set boundaries. Working in schools is hectic, but that doesn’t mean that you, as a teacher, should sacrifice all your free time, including the weekends, to manage the workload. Let your school know what days you’re available and when you need to be with your family.
Be assertive about your boundaries, and don’t let your school intervene with your limited time with your family. When you’re home, you should talk to your partner about the challenges of being a teacher and a parent. This ensures that raising your children doesn’t lie solely on you and that your partner is with along every step of the way.
3. Know what your priorities are
You may have a million tasks to tackle in a day. As a teacher, you may have a pile of papers to grade, presentations to make, and students to work with who need more of your time. But you can’t handle all of this in one day. Therefore you need to decide what to tackle first and what can wait. This allows you to cut down your workload to only essential tasks that require immediate attention instead of you pouring all your energy and time at work. At home, you need to apply the same rule.
While you may have chores that need attending, decide what is more important, spending meaningful time with your children or emptying the dishwasher. Even though you’ll need to do the latter at some point, dedicate some of your time to your children so they don’t feel overshadowed and neglected by your work.
Your children need your attention, so try to minimize work talk around them when you’re home. You can encourage your children to help you with chores, but it’s best to spend time with them doing what they want.
4. Set up a system
Think of a system as a schedule. When setting up a routine, realistically picture what you can conquer and stick to it. For instance, you can create a system for cleaning your house at home according to the week. You can also create a system to plan your meals and use it as a guiding light when you go out to do your grocery shopping. Planning out your day makes it easier for you to tackle your day without missing a beat. It also allows you to establish a morning routine that works for you and your children.
Try taking your systems a step further and use them within your classroom too. For example, in your class, you can create a designated space for stationery that students always need. When you stock this area, keep a list at hand so that you can double-check if students who take your stationery returned everything. You can also create a feedback system; at the end of a lecture, ask students to leave reviews on their understanding. Allow your pupils to be independent and vocal.
So if students don’t understand what happened in the class, they can tell you immediately without feeling shy or embarrassed. As a result, you’ll know which students need more help with their schoolwork, making it easier to shift your energy toward them.
5. Understand you are not superhuman
You may feel guilty when you cannot stay on top of things. As a parent, you may feel bad that you’re not as often as you should be there for your children. While as a teacher, there may be days when you can’t handle managing a classroom, this is normal. You will have good days and bad ones. Sometimes you’ll effortlessly get through your day; other times, making it from one hour to the next may be too stressful. In such cases, learn to let go of guilt. Acknowledge your limitations and make peace with them. If you force yourself to be productive without a break, you’ll only fast-track yourself to burnout.
Being a teacher and a parent is no less than a challenge. Finding a balance that allows you to attend to both areas of your life is tricky. But with a slight effort, you can manage both aspects seamlessly. Understand that you don’t have to tackle both aspects of your life alone, and you can lean on others for support. At work, don’t hesitate to reach out to other teachers to help manage your workload, while at home, let your partner do their part too. Balancing your life is all about finding a routine that works for you. This routine may not always be consistent, but as long as you can make the most of your day, you have succeeded as a teacher and a parent.