My journey to become a teacher – Getting the right balance

I would like to think that over the last year and a half, I have learnt some useful things about how to cope with the demanding lifestyle that comes with being a teacher.

Training to be a teacher is hard enough, so it’s a little terrifying to think that once I land myself a job, it’s likely to get a whole lot harder. But I’m up to the challenge, and I can’t wait for the day when I can stand in front of my own class and tell myself that all my hard work has paid off.

bec4I’ll admit that I have made the odd comment about how doing a teaching degree is a million times harder than any other. I think that the only reason us, trainees, say this is because a lot of people don’t appreciate what a demanding degree and career it can be – mentally, emotionally and physically.

But saying that; I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else, and I completely respect that studying is difficult in any context. I also think that it’s extremely important, in any career, to have a good study-life balance!

In a couple of weeks time, I will be going back into School to start my big block placement of Year 2. I am aware that hard work is on the horizon, and I’ve already been told a hundred times just how important this placement is.

Every now and then, I have a momentary panic thinking that I’ve probably forgotten everything, but I guess the craft of teaching doesn’t go…it is just the familiarity and being ‘in the zone’ that sometimes fades.bec2

Often, the fear of relaxing too much and losing my focus during placement is enough to keep me up every evening doing my work, even after a long day at school when I can barely keep my eyes open.

But for my upcoming time on school placement, I am determined to make sure that I keep on top of my social life as well.

It’s a little different this year, as myself and my two fellow trainee teachers/flat mates from last year, have moved into a house with our three close, non-teacher friends as well. This (fingers crossed) will help us to switch off our teacher heads a little when we walk in the front door.

It’s so easy to let studying and work experience completely take over, and I think that it’s important for all students, not just trainee teachers, to relax and enjoy being young and surrounded by friends.

Tips for how to get the right work/life balance:

bec3Set yourself a strict time, and stick to it! Giving yourself a set time to do your work will help you to stay focused, and allow you to put your books away and have some time off, when you’re done.

– Get enough sleep. You only need to work with a child who’s had a late night, to realise the negative effect that sleep deprivation can have on your work. Enough sleep will make your work time more productive, and give you more energy for your social life!

– Give yourself something to look forward to. Make some plans to go away for the weekend, out for the evening or to spend time with a friend etc. This way you have strict deadlines to work towards and you’ll feel like you’ve earned yourself some fun time off.

– Surround yourself with positive people! I find this especially helpful bec1after a long day of placement or when i’m trudging through a large pile of work. There is no reason why you have to completely separate your work and your social life. Sit with your friends and chat whilst you work to keep you positive and sane!

It’s really important to work out how to switch off sometimes, in order to have a well balanced, happy and stress-free time at University! More useful tips in Emily’s post on the same topic – check it out!