"Balance is not better time management, but better boundary managemant. Balance means making choices and enjoying them." – Betsy Jacobson
Do your batteries feel drained? As you climb towards the final
days of term, feel proud of everything you and your students have achieved. As
the going gets tough, remember to take care of Number 1! An easy thing to say,
but too often missed. We've worked hard enough without punishing ourselves
further by forgetting simple personal treats and care. As I type this post for
you, even though I'm excited to write it, I myself have reached the point of no
return and my hair has not seen a good day for about two weeks! Albeit with my
curly locks, working in Malaysia
with the intense 30 Degree heat, doesn't make it easier. Frizz, frizz and more
frizz! Some of the tasks completed by myself in the last 3 weeks are as
follows; Class Residential, Residential Assembly performance, Whole School Art
Exhibition, Reports, Parent-teacher interviews, profile meetings, sports day
and that's on top of every-day teaching and assessment! I know you are working
through a very similar list as we speak...so WELL DONE!! We've nearly made it to the
Below are some key tricks and tips I've found for myself to help me maintain a
healthy work-life balance. Even though this list may seem obvious, I am too
guilty of not following these basic routines!! Take a look...
A happy & healthy teacher
a happy & buzzing
12 Survival Tips
1.Drink water and
plenty of it! Have a large glass of water as soon as you
wake up, take a hot shower and then drink another glass of water. Dehydration
is the main culprit for battery drainage.
2.Try simpleyoga body
10 - 15 mins twice a day. Make morning and just before bed your routine ritual.
I don't mean, go out any by all the yoga accessories, you can do simple
movements on the floor or even still on your bed!
3.Eat a hearty breakfastand that
means every food group if possible! 2 slices of toast just doesn't cut it. Also
drink orange juice with your multivitamins and a Ginseng tablet for an extra
4.Drink Green Teaand as much
as you want. Sure if you like normal tea or coffee, I'm not saying don't drink
what you prefer, but for cleansing your body and making you actually feel much
better, Green Tea works wonders.
5.Always pack a great lunchwith
enough snacks for school. This is my worst downfall! Beat the 3pms by eating
something at every break-time, lunchtime and again in the afternoon. Keep your
sugar levels constant to avoid slumps at work.
6.As soon as the children leave your
classroom and you remain at your desk for the next two hours marking,put on some
children aren't there so feel free to play what you like.
7.Only do something once!A past
Headteacher once said, 'if you are duplicating assessments, lesson slides
etc...ask yourself why?' One key and very simple strategy I kept forgetting to
do was simply to save all of my lesson slides under a detailed file name
>>> Objective, Block, Unit, Subject, year group + DATE. It sounds like
a task having to put so much effort and detail into a file-name, but when you
repeat the same topic in the future (which you will), all you have to do is
find it, add to it and edit. I spent years saving all my files just under the
lesson subject, which I then had to store into a folder, which I had to store
into another folder etc etc. I thought because all my files were organised, I
was organised! Actually, it was a huge mess. I had just covered it up by
creating a new folder.
8.After a lesson has finished, ask your
their books openon
their current working page. I saved what feels like hours of marking time
because I wasn't spending the whole time taking books out of trays and
endlessly flicking through pages to find their piece of work. Simple I know,
but amazingly effective!
9.Get your children to do it!Obviously,
this tip comes with constraints...there could be age restrictions, but most of
the time, children are more than capable. I often see peers cutting out &
backing work, writing out labels and sharpening pencils! The truth be told, I
never do these tasks. Children should be given the opportunity to take
ownership for as much as possible. I say, show them the scissors and use your
TA (if you have one) for something else! The same rule applies to tidying the
classroom. If they mess it up, they'll be spending time cleaning it up! This
way of thinking works wonders because the children very quickly realise how
much cleaning and tidying sucks, so they generally have a better, more organised
working attitude whilst you sit back and offer house points to your best
10.Self-Assessment is a godsend!One element
required for the success of individual learning progress is for the children to
take part in their own assessment. Again, this can only be carried out where
possible, but an organised system for this does cut your marking work
key tips for marking are:
·Train the children to use
highlighters for key vocabulary. This way when you are marking what feels like
hundreds of books for hours, thehighlightersreally help
you to find and access their language use quickly. It also shows you if they
really know what a verb is!
·Share with a friend- read to a
friend, does it make sense? Have their partner write a feedback comment (a numberedscore out of
10 for enjoymentis
quick and easy).
·Where possible,display the
have them mark their own or a test. This way they get instant feedback about
their success and instant verbal feedback from you.
·Use stampsto highlight
Beginning, Developing or Mastering. Stamps are visually pleasing and do the job
instead of a comment.
·Always add next steps to a piece of
work...but do you have to write this next step 25 times?Print out
your next steps on mini stickersusing
word formatted to A4 sticker sheets and wack them into the books! Hey
Scheduling your time and routine is crucial, butare you
scheduling your FREE time???If
you look inside your diary...how much of it are slots for friends, family,
evenings out, alone time etc? Are you even keeping a personally diary of time?
Work schedules and deadlines are one thing...but updating your personal diary
for the week is a great way to spend your 10-15 minute breaks in the staff
personal planner out!
during your FREE time slots, do whatever floats your boat and makes you happy!Personally,
I'm happy lying by the pool, writing blogs, reading, sipping soda water with
lemon and ice and doing absolutely nothing! But that's me...what do you like to
do in your free time?
Sometimes, it's easy to forget about those wonderful 'wow moments'.However hard we try as teachers to recognise those precious moments, they're so easy to forget with the every day hustle & bustle of a buzzing school. Not to mention the one million other 'TO DO' things you're trying to remember.
Inspired by a friend, try this! It's simpleand very effective! Throughout your academic year, every time one of your students amaze you with a 'wow moment', write it onto a post-it note and add it to your class jar. At the end of the year, sit and read these moments with your class. You will be amazed at how much progress can be shared together, not to mention the warmth created within the atmosphere, seeing smiles all around when you walk down memory lane.
Give it a try...'the best PSHE lesson I ever had, revealing their moments.'