Teacher Balance


The Learner Profile is not just for our students; it’s also for IB teachers! How would you describe your work-life balance? Are you overwhelmed with work for 9 months of the year? Do you have enough time with your family? Finding balance is difficult but it’s an important goal to strive for. Being balanced is not something you will accomplish and check off your list, but hopefully some of these tips will help you get better at finding balance.

Get, and stay, organized!

During the summer I schedule time to get organized. I don’t work every day, or even every week, but I do try to:
  • Create a plan for the year with each unit I will cover
  • Plan out the length of time I will teach each unit (and stick to it!)
  • Decide what concepts and skills I will each in each unit and in what order
  • Set the due dates for Internal Assessments and practice External Assessments (and stick to them!)
  • Look over last year’s lessons and reflections to start brainstorming

I also write out my lesson plans for the first month since it’s such a busy month with meetings. If I’m ambitious I may even start lesson planning further out.

Stick to your plan.

If you have decided to spend two weeks teaching the Harlem Renaissance, you need to be finished teaching it after two weeks. It is so much more work to re-organize your due dates and then squish other units into a shorter period of time...and it will stress you out.

Don’t grade everything.
As a Literature teacher, I learned this quickly.
  • Grade one paragraph instead a full essay.
  • Grade three questions instead of all ten; decide ahead of time which questions to grade and why those questions are most important.
  • Grade one element of writing. Perhaps you’ve been working with your students on choosing relevant quotations to support their claims. Grade their choice of evidence, and not their analysis.
  • Ask students to complete a reflection and grade their ability to reflect.
  • Pair students up and have them peer-assess each other. Give a grade based on participation and detail of their answers.
  • Grade on the spot. When students create artwork, they come to me to get their work checked in and then I give them tape so they can hang their art on the classroom wall. I have graded them and have them decorate our room in under a minute!

Work at Work.
If you are going to take work home, decide which days you will take work home. Don’t take work home every day. If possible, find time to work at work so you don’t have to work at home. I’m a morning person so I’d get to school an hour early each morning.

Exercise helps you let go of stress and stay healthy. You won’t be an effective teacher unless you are healthy.

Are you good at balancing? What tips do you have to share?

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