I remember when I started teaching, I had only one child and felt I was quite busy. I remember mentioning to a colleague that I cook breakfast and dinner everyday. She remarked, "Oh honey, that's gonna stop. I used to do that too. But now, with all of the work, grading papers, and paperwork, you won't have time for that kind of stuff. You're just gonna give that kid a Pop Tart and roll on to work." I immediately thought, "Would/Could teaching consume so much of my life that I wouldn't be able to fix my family a proper meal?" It almost did. My first year, I bought work home daily. It became routine for me to enjoy my favorite shows while grading papers, writing lesson plans or just searching for resources. But I never stopped cooking for my family. Every morning/night my son and husband could expect a hot, nutritious meal. But that was the first year. My second year of teaching, I would still bring work home. But I noticed I never actually did anything. Papers would remain ungraded and alerts would be set when to complete lesson plans during school hours. So I told myself, "I'm not going to bring work home anymore. If my evals/professionalism suffer because of it, so be it!!! God didn't make me a teacher to stop living."
By the end of my second year of teaching, I decided that I would do all work relating to my job, at work. If it couldn't get done at work, then it wasn't going to get done. I remember my old motto I used in high school, "Prior Proper Planning Prevents a Poor Performance." I set a schedule for myself. I arrived at work 30 mins before my shift and stayed no longer than 30 mins afterwards. I planned what I needed to accomplish that day, including getting them kiddos to learn something.
And something crazy happened! My eval scores increase, my work became more efficient, my teaching became more purposeful, and the students learned. I didn't have to carry a bag of papers with me. I enjoyed my mornings and evenings with my family. I had a career and I was LIVING. (Not just existing day to day.)
Fast forward 6 years, 4 kids and a 10 year wedding anniversary.....
I still live by that same motto. I am a Level 5 teacher with an amazing resume and I do not allow teaching to consume my life. I go out with my girls on weeknights. Playdates immediately afterschool. TV marathons on a Thursday night. Tend to my garden every morning (before or after I cook breakfast.) I don't block out my Monday-Friday because I'm a teacher. I add things to it to enrich and better my life because I never stop learning. Only joy will consume my life.
These are some of my thoughts, questions, comments and "could-care-less"...