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Nurturing the Educator: Strategies for Work-Life Balance

Nurturing the Educator: Strategies for Work-Life Balance

Teaching is a demanding profession, and it's essential to prioritize your well-being. Establish healthy work-life boundaries, engage in activities you enjoy, and make time for self-care. A balanced teacher is better equipped to support students effectively. What are some practical strategies you can use to take care of yourself?

In my early teaching days, juggling a young family and working full-time felt like walking a tightrope every evening. With the looming prospect of at least two hours of grading ahead, dinner had to be both wholesome and ready in about forty minutes. Picture this: my two kids huddled over their homework while I was in a race against time, browning turkey mince for our speedy spaghetti sauce.

Shared Responsibilities

I was no martyr, though. I knew that for my household to run smoothly, we had to be a team. So, I delegated responsibilities early on. That way, my kids grasped the concept of collaborative effort and the value of working together. It's a lesson that goes beyond the dinner table—teaching them teamwork is a life skill that pays off in the long run.

Think about your own situation. If you have a partner with availability in the early evenings, work together to create schedules that suit both of you. Capitalize on the support of others to tackle those "to do" lists, allowing you to make the most of the time left for yourself. This is the time to nourish your soul and attend to your own needs. It's about finding that balance where you can recharge and prioritize self-care amidst life's demands.


Now, taking care of yourself in this whirlwind is a must. Boundaries in my playbook are a game-changer -  set clear work hours and stick to them. When the day’s work is done, it’s time to exit the building. Sure, some teachers opt to stay back tackling lesson plans or marking at school. For me,  I leaned toward taking a bit of work home to wrap up later in the evening.  It allowed me to kickstart the evening with my kids, and that was important to me. Personal choices aside, breaks can be golden. Whether it's a quick breather or a dive into a hobby, stepping away always brought a refreshing pause. It’s all about finding what works for you and honouring those moments of respite in the midst of chaos.

Down Time

Personal well-being is unique to each individual.  Maybe it's immersing yourself in a non-work-related book or breaking a sweat at the gym; self-care is not negotiable. Connecting with colleagues to share stories and laugh can be therapeutic. They can understand your struggles and triumphs like no one else.  Mastering the art of saying no is a skill that will save you from burnout down the road. It can sneak up on you so self-monitor to ensure you’re at the top of your game. Be discerning about your involvement in school happenings, avoiding the temptation to spread yourself thin.  

Teaching is undeniably demanding, no question about it. However, carving out time for yourself and incorporating self-care strategies into your routine is key to your success. The benefits will extend not only to you but also to your family and students. Remember, a well-nurtured teacher is a catalyst for a thriving learning environment.

Discover how to incorporate Social Emotional Learning in your classroom by clicking here.

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Meet the author:

Nina Jaiswal, an Educational Consultant and former Superintendent of Education, offers valuable insights for educators, both experienced and new. As an expert witness in school liability, discipline matters, compliance, and policy, her perspective is essential for understanding the complexities of education. In addition to consultancy, Nina dedicates her expertise to coaching staff at all levels, focusing on career growth, promotion preparation, leadership development, and competency strengthening in educational matters.

With over 13 years on the Accreditation Review Panel for the Ontario College of Teachers and a history of teaching at the University of Toronto and York University, Nina's voice is grounded in extensive experience. She has significantly contributed to professional learning at the Ontario Public Supervisory Officers’ Association (OPSOA) and served as a coach for the Ontario Principals' Council. Recognized for impactful partnerships with community agencies and families, Nina is a driving force behind fostering public confidence and elevating student achievement.  

Nina's writing is an indispensable resource for anyone eager to delve into the dynamic world of education.