This post is part of the 30-Day Blog Challenge from TeachThought. To learn more about the challenge go to www.teachthought.com/teaching/reflective-teaching-30-day-blogging-challenge-teachers/.
DAY 27: What role do weekends and holidays play in your teaching?
Let me lay it all out on the table tonight: I feel guilty for the amount of time I spend working on school-related responsibilities while I'm at home with my family.
My official work day starts at 7:40 and ends at 3:40, but I usually get home at 5:00 or later. I always make it home by 5:30 for supper, unless I have a meeting or an extracurricular commitment. Later at night, I usually spend at least an hour or two finishing up more work for school, varying from evaluating student work to adjusting a lesson that was prepared to searching for an answer to someone's technology question.
The weekend hours are quickly consumed with assessing student work, planning for the upcoming week, and writing my weekly parent update. Every other weekend, I also write and distribute a district technology newsletter.
I have colleagues who have drawn a line in the sand and declared that they won't do any school work at home, or they'll always keep the weekends work-free. I don't know how they do it. I don't feel like there are enough hours in the day to finish everything I'd like to get done now, much less completely blocking out two entire days. But at the same time, I have this tremendous guilt. I should be playing more games with my sons. We should be going outside more often. I should be doing science experiments with my sons. My kids have been asking me for months to teach them how to write in cursive. My husband and I haven't gone out to a movie in months. It pains me to even type all of this out.
I've been teaching for 10 years, and I still haven't figured out how to balance my home life with this crazy-demanding job. Being a teacher is a part of who I am, and it's difficult for me to be "less" of who I am by simply devoting less time to it. At the same time, being a mom and a wife are also part of who I am, and I feel I am "less" of myself when I let the my teacher-side take the reins for too long.
How do we do this? How do we devote ourselves to the people we love and maintain our passion for our chosen profession at the same time? The stress of this constant internal debate wears on me.
Today was a Saturday. I knew that I wanted to accomplish five things:
- Spend time with our First LEGO League Team during their weekly meeting. Both of my sons are on the team and my husband and I are coaches.
- Work out at the fitness center.
- Play a new game with my family (they've been waiting for me to have time to do this all week.)
- Practice guitar with my sons.
- Read some chapters from my new book.
Sometimes my head clears enough to recall that many people in other professions don't have this incessant conflict in their minds. When they leave work, work is done. They don't have to think about it again until they're physically back at their job. What a luxury this would be.
How can I be the teacher I want to be, but not short-change my family the attention they deserve when I'm at home? How do I take back my weekends for myself, my husband, and my kids - or is this just the way it is for all educators? If any of you have any suggestions, I'd truly appreciate hearing from you.
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