Session 66: Is it Possible to Achieve a Good Work/Life Balance?

Thursday 6th October 2011

Session Title:

Is it Possible to Achieve a Good Work/Life Balance?

Session Summary:

Although this topic has been covered a couple of times previously on ukedchat, it is interesting to see how the subject really resonates with contributors, who really do acknowledge the need for a work/life balance. The reality of teaching and education is a core loving for the job, really caring about those who are taught, but this can be to the detriment of reality!

The usual pressures and expectations within education were notable, with a solitary voice reminding us that what we do should be for the benefit of our pupils, not OFSTED – there are many who will recognise this. As teaching is a vocation for many, it was acknowledged that teaching is ‘what we are’, and because of this passion and love for the job (mostly) that many are prepared for this sacrifice. As you will see from the tweets noted below, there were many tips and words of wisdom…but perhaps the most pearl of wisdom was the tweet which mentioned that teaching is like always carrying a box that is permanently ½ full…Sometimes you just need to put the box down!

Notable Tweets from the Session:
  • @EnterpriseSBox: #ukedchat work-life balance difficult with ‘always on’ tech. Means u don’t have to wait and can just get on with it.
  • @BAFDiploma: #ukedchat teaching is one of those jobs where u can always do more. The key is recognising when you need to take time out to up productivity
  • @CornwellLFC: #ukedchat DON’T BRING WORK HOME! If you need to stay late then stay late, work is the place for work, home is the place to chill.
  • @sonicwaffled: #ukedchat One of the biggest things I learned as an NQT was that my ‘to do’ list would never be complete. Once you realise you relax a bit!
  • @jackieschneider: #ukedchat – teachers aren’t the only ones stuck with long hours. Many of our parents are trapped in low paid dead end jobs working long hours
  • @DeputyMitchell: I’m interested to know what your HT could do to make your work/life balance better – genuinely! #ukedchat
  • @philallman1: No useless meetings, no needless paperwork, systems that mean single point of entry, make ppl feel valued #ukedchat #httips
  • @jamesmichie: #ukedchat And “life” to me does not necessarily involve having a night out. It is more about “me” time or “me and the wife” time.
  • @Educationchat: If asked to do something I don’t do it. If they ask again I don’t do it. When they ask a 3rd time it must be important so I do it. #ukedchat
  • @jamesmichie: I think one of the issues is how u define “life” and “work”. For example, taking part in #ukedchat is not work, IMO.
  • @BAFDiploma: yes, this is a chance to reflect on issues.  So useful to bounce ideas, share workload and realise others feel the same #ukedchat
  • @joanne_rich: #ukedchat We have school staff aerobics every Friday at 3.30 – really sets the weekend well as all leave together afterwards in great mood
  • @geraldhaigh1: #ukedchat I interviewed a great head who insisted everyone left by 5.30, taking no work home. “Staff well-being is my responsibility”.
  • @dughall: …For me, having children made me a better teacher. I saw kids in a different way.  #ukedchat My work got less of me though.
  • @gsussex: #ukedchat work/life balance is relative to the individual.  We all have choices.
  • @CarrotyCarrots: I spend a lot of my free time on Twitter, TES, FS forum, but I don’t feel like I’m working #ukedchat
  • @berkholibrarian: no energy for a night out but enjoy potting up plants, sitting with my labs and enjoy being at home with my fiancee.Me time – yoga #ukedchat
  • @bevevans22: #ukedchat Each person I know has a different way of working out their perfect balance. Some only do school work in school.
  • @juneisik: #ukedchat The main themes so far seem to be 1) the importance of saying no 2) not having USELESS meetings 3) cutting down on paperwork.
  • @geraldhaigh1: …#ukedchat Teachers are not programmed to say ‘no’. But they must learn. “What would you like me to drop to make room for this?”
  • @Educationchat: The best way to ensure a good WLB is to abolish Ofsted. Then everything we did would be for the children’s benefit – not Ofsted’s. #ukedchat
  • @amoor4ed: Eating the frog is a good analogy – do the biggest and ugliest job first -not waste time on easier things that don’t really matter #ukedchat
  • @myhanhdoan: I’m seeing all this great advice re work-life balance, but struggle to put it into practice without panicking that I’m not working #ukedchat

Tweets of the Week:

Teaching is like carrying a box which is permanently ½ full. Sometimes you just need to put the box down.

@mberry: #ukedchat if being a teacher is who you are rather than what you do, your work is your life. Of course, this may not be a Good Thing.

@paultanner71: I’ve become very good at prioritising things that will help me achieve overall aims also, and found I can say no sometimes too #ukedchat

@candyliongirl: #ukedchat I was told teaching is like carrying a box which is permanently 1/2 full. Sometimes you just need to put the box down.

@Stephen_Logan: I don’t see #ukedchat as work at all. Although it does help me to be more productive and take time out.

Useful Weblinks Highlighted:

@jamesmichie: #ukedchat 3 things I do every school day that make me a better teacher (& keeps my WLB in check):
@primaryict 20:44 Just assessing my progress towards my worklife balance targets for the year. Feedback to self must do better!  #ukedchat
@jamesmichie: #ukedchat One more WLB related link. Little and often:

Replay of the session:

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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