Teaching Tip Tuesday – Keep it at School

Teaching is a demanding job that can eat up every waking hour of your life. Whenever you are not in the classroom, you are thinking about it. Whenever you see a pile of junk that most people would just throw away, you automatically see how you could use this material in an art or science lesson. When you go shopping, you think of how perfect some items would be in your classroom. When you watch TV, you can get inspired and start thinking of a lesson idea. I could go on and on with further examples.

Any new or beginning teacher reading this is probably nodding in agreement right now. Any experienced teacher probably recognizes themselves in it as well. Once a teacher, always a teacher. You carry this role with you wherever you go. It is not something that you can turn on or off. At least, it may seem that way.

I used to bring work home with me all the time. I would go to work early every morning to do some planning, photocopying, or whatever else needed doing in the classroom. I would stay in the class well after the day had ended working on this and that as well. I would also bring home work to mark every night.

After a while of this, you get exhausted and realize that there needs to be a balance between work and life. So I adopted the philosophy of “Keep it at School.” Now this doesn’t mean that I never bring work home. I occasionally bring stuff home that I can mark while watching television but that is it. I don’t plan at home or bring any other work home with me any more.

For this to work, you really need to develop routines and procedures for how you plan. I type up all my lesson plans and print out a one-page day plan every single day.

I also use my planning time to actually plan. I get to school early every day and leave late. I get a lot of work done when my kids are in gym.

On average I get to school an hour early and stay an hour an a half late. So my workday is 8-5 p.m. I make sure that I take a half hour lunch break in the staffroom every day.

I plan my lessons a week a head of time. Before I leave the school on Friday, I make sure that my one-page lesson plans for the following Monday through Friday are printed off and on my desk. That way I can leave the school, enjoy my weekend, and not have to worry about class until Monday morning. When I get back to school, I start planning the next week’s spelling lesson.

It’s as easy as that. So don’t work too hard and keep reading Teaching Tip Tuesdays. I’ve got lots of ideas I want to share with you.

Go to Tip 5 – Supply Plans

4 responses to “Teaching Tip Tuesday – Keep it at School”

  1. Boy you are speaking my language…I had to learn the hard way to “keep it at school” because if you didn’t then all the love and energy you have for what you do (and its a gift to get to do what we do) can leave you pretty quickly. November and February were the worst for me. I took the last two years off because I could but I miss it more than I can tell you. I plan to sub in the spring just to get my foot back in the door again in case I want to start full time next fall. I am lucky that I don’t have to teach or work right now but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to. I miss that captive audience.

  2. Hi Calvin,

    I love teaching and I completely agree that it is a gift to be able to do this as a career. It doesn’t feel like a job most of the time.

    Report card writing is always a busy time though. I was at the school until 6:15 p.m. every day last week working on them. But it was still better than bringing them home to work on.

    I think teachers need to balance life and school. Besides, most other jobs don’t expect you to do so much work outside of the regular hours.

    I hope new teachers find this series and really consider this tip. It may be one of the reasons some teachers quit within 5 years.

  3. Very true! If we can get 95% done at work, that’s the way to go. Being able to disconnect and decompress outside of teaching is CRUCIAL!