What Do The Best Teachers Do?

That could be a long list but there is one thing they all do: they go home early.

I say ‘early’ but what I mean is they go home at a reasonable time in order to save their sanity.

I was a teacher who got to school early and stayed at school late. Of course, I used to take work home too and mark until midnight. I thought it would make me more organised and better at what I did.

It didn’t. I regularly crashed and burned and I wasn’t alone. Lots of my colleagues were doing the same and we were digging ourselves an early grave.

The best teachers I have seen seldom work beyond 5:30pm. You don’t need to be in school beyond that unless its a parents’ evening or special event (of which there are many!). But really, if you are getting into school for 7am then no way should you be still there at 6pm and then marking when you get home.

Teachers with families will be under stress to get everything done and be everywhere at the same time but the same advice goes to teachers without children – everyone needs a cut-off point and so drawing that line is crucial.

Setting boundaries is vital to our wellbeing and sticking to them more so. I used to set myself boundaries and then make exceptions which was bonkers. Unless you simply have to be at school for a concert of something similar then take a hike and get yourself out of there!

Working longer hours does not make you more productive. It does the opposite and it impacts negatively on your life. We don’t need to work more than 39 hours a week but of course we all do.  But caution: if you are doing more than 55 hours and you are storing up big problems.

If we ignore ourselves, our family and our friends then we aren’t well-balanced and rounded people but lop-sided, unhealthy and dysfunctional. To be teachers with depth and personality then we just need to go home.

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