Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The "Well Balanced Teacher" and Other Admirable Goals

Sometimes it's pretty difficult to conceive of life-work balance for teachers. Our jobs, more so than many others, tend to follow us home in unexpected, inconvenient, joyful, and painful ways. One of my goals for the coming year is to continue to improve as a professional educator while also maintaining a better sense of that balance. To that end, I recently read the book pictured at left, The Well-Balanced Teacher by Mike Anderson.

One of Anderson's best pieces of advice in the book is to take what happens in the classroom less personally. He uses the example of homework: He can try to make the homework engaging and helpful; he can provide meaningful feedback; he can offer students assistance and make-ups after school; but, if they're still not doing their homework, ultimately, that's on them, not him. I hope one day that I can be mentally healthy enough to practice such loving detachment.

Anderson's larger point in the book is that the best teachers he knows are also the happiest, the teachers who enjoy time with friends and families, the teachers who take care of their physical and spiritual health, the teachers who still have hobbies. If you want to be a great teacher, he suggests, the time you spend engaging with parts of your life other than school will actually give you more energy and insight than you might have had otherwise, making you a better practitioner in the classroom.

To that end, I'm going to try to draw some brighter lines between my work life and my outside life. I've already thought of two things I will say "no" to this year if asked to take them on.

How do you maintain a healthy sense of balance in this profession?
blog comments powered by Disqus