Monday, January 30, 2012

Keeping work at work

We just started a new semester.  And last week, I only brought work home once!  It was amazing what a difference that made to my home and family life. 

  • I didn't have to say, "Not now honey," when N wanted to draw with me, when M wanted to show me her latest scheme, when T wanted to discuss a trip our family might take. 
  • I was able to complete all my normal household tasks of an evening (dishes, laundry, pickup, etc.) while it was still evening and not actually yet night. 
  • I exercised. 
  • One evening, I even sat with my feet up and played with my iPad. 

I want weeks like that more often.  But they are way harder to come by than you might think.  Each year that I have worked at this middle school, more balls have been added to the pile I juggle each day, and more minutes of that precious prep time (teacher talk for our few limited minutes of non-supervisory time at school--the time when we build lessons, call parents, make copies, clean up after the kids, go to the bathroom, eat lunch, etc.) have been taken away. (as well as any promise of the little raises and bonuses that make it financially tenable--I'd have to take a second job if it weren't that the tech industry pays my husband double what I make).

Between my first and second year at my school, I gained two new things to prep, and lost 45 minutes of prep time.  There's something really skewed about this thinking.

This year, I didn't gain any new classes, clubs, or other things to prep for the kids, but I did gain two new PLCs (Professional Learning Communities).  We can debate the value of this particular work sometime if you'd like, but valueable or not, it's a time sink.  And time is the most valuable commodity of my life.

So, the question is back to balance. The whole idea that got me started blogging.  How do we get everything we need and want out of each day? How can I be prepared to educate and inspire 150 middle schoolers, take care of the needs of a household and a house, be there for my family and friends, write, exercise, and still find a little me time?

Step one has got to be leaving work at work.  I'm afraid it's not realistic to think I will never bring home papers to grade or presentations to prepare, but for this semester, my goal is to keep that to a minimum. Because I love my work.  I love my students. But I love my family more.

1 comment:

  1. Though I cannot relate to the teaching field myself. I agree with the statement "leaving work at work". I have recently run into the no perks or incentive to take work home. Although my field (Public Accounting) pays better than teaching it does not often provide raises or incentives to work like crazy during tax season.

    We get comp time, which means a promise to take time off, but then you hear a lot of that is not a good time to take off, or you cannot take more than one week at a time during these certain periods of time.

    Like your statement, "I love my students. But I love my family more." I agree and simply change the name to I like my clients, but love my family more.

    I say keep pushing for no working at home, because there is simply no reward for doing so. Although I know in your case it is different and that you have to be prepared to teach a class and if you don't have enough time at work to prepare then it can be difficult.

    My constraint is...will I meet the deadline, I say it should be able to done with my 830-600pm M-F, Sautrday 9-4pm schedule or it will not happen on time.

    I do work the entire time I'm at work as I know you do, so the employers should try hiring more people, or paying the ones the have better, and learn to show some appreciation and give rewards for any extra time spent. :-)