“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” -Anne Lammot
Teaching has always been one of those professions where the to-do list never ends.
This is especially true while teaching during a Pandemic.
- You are working a couple of hours earlier and stopping a couple of hours later.
- You’re working during the weekends.
- You are getting little to no sleep.
- It feels hard to set boundaries.
The reality is you keep giving because you care about your students, but the fact is you have nothing else to give.
This is because you are pouring from an empty cup.
And let me tell you:
That’s why I want to share with you “How to Leave Work on Time as a Teacher.” Let’s work on getting you out of the door or shutting off your computer at a decent time.
But first, I want to show you WHY this is so important.
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Why is Leaving Work on Time important?
According to newmiddleclassdad.com:
“66% of teachers want to leave their job and 41.3% of new teachers leave the profession within the first 5 years. Teachers also suffer from higher than average rates of drug and alcohol use. At any given point in time, 36.4% are likely to quit.”
That’s crazy! 41.3% of teachers leave teaching within the first 5 years.
Burnout is real and the reality is society expects so much from us. It seems like the longer I teach, the more Teachers are expected to do.
But let’s be honest, if we do things how “Society” thinks we should we are going to get burnout FAST.
We need to face that Teacher Burnout is real and we need to start thinking “long term.”
According to the Alliance of Excellent Education, about 15% (500,000) of teachers leave Education every year.
That’s more than one in ten Teachers.
Okay, I am going to be real with you, I love my job. I love my kids, and I want to do this for the rest of my life.
But that cannot happen if I do not put my well being first.
And that starts with Boundaries.
We Need Boundaries
If you read my other post about Boundaries, then you know that we cannot start to change until we change ourselves.
The change starts with us.
We need to start putting up those boundaries and prioritizing what’s important to us.
It is okay to put up boundaries. Especially when you are protecting your well being and your ability to continue this profession “long term.”
And the reality is, is that if enough of us change, so will the world.
I know Burnout is a complex topic that a single blog post can’t fix. But let’s start with something in our control like leaving or unplugging on time.
So without further ado here are my top teacher tips or teacher hacks on how to leave or unplug from work on time.
- Do You Know Why Teachers Struggle With Making Priorities?
- Do You Know Why Teachers Struggle With Making Boundaries?
- Do You Know These 7 Unbelievable Teacher Self-Care Myths?
Tips on How to Leave Work on Time
The first step to leaving work on time is to plan on what time you want to leave.
Whether you decide that’s your contract hour or to the nearest hour, decide ahead of time what time that is.
Next, set an alarm.
And I am not joking. I set mine to “Greatest Mom and Spouse ever!” as a reminder that it’s time to stop being a teacher and time to be with my family.
This helps reinforce that boundary that I set previously and also reminds me of why I set that boundary.
For instance, I want to leave on time so that I can be a good spouse and family member. Because my number one priority is always my family.
As we talked about earlier, the to-do list is never-ending.
Recently I read a book called “Your Best Year Ever” by Michael Hyatt. And in the book, he talks about picking 3 things you absolutely must do on your to-do list.
So every day I decide what three things must get done on my to-do list. At the end of the day, if the rest don’t get done I leave and don’t look back.
Teachers are not machines, and we cannot do everything on our lists.
Let’s be honest, our lists are never going to end, so at some point, we have to.
Pick 3 and ditch the rest, they can wait for tomorrow.
Avoid the Lunchroom Talk
At the end of the day, whether we are in person or virtually, it can be natural to want to chat with someone about our day.
But sometimes, that chat goes so long that we can be there for HOURS talking about work.
That’s why my next tip is to avoid the chit chat.
And it is okay to say no!
One trick I learned is to close my door to show that I am working.
The irony to this is it seemed later I would stay to work the more often teachers would come in to vent.
It’s okay to leave. Take care of yourself and save the talk for later.
No Emails After School
One of the biggest things that allowed me to Leave Work on Time was not reading my email after school.
Granted if there is an emergency (Like a sick student) that’s an exception. Otherwise, the emails can wait for the morning.
If you have to check emails, one hack I like to do is to type out my response but schedule it for the next morning.
Not only does this save you from the back and forth, but it’s also taken care of and out of your mind.
This also helped show others my boundaries with communication. The more I wouldn’t respond after work hours, the fewer amounts of emails I got after hours.
It’s one of those “How you think of yourself, others will too.”
If I respect myself and prioritize myself the more others will as well.
Don’t Let The Thoughts of Other Teachers Get in Your Way
I have heard this time and time again and let me tell you:
It is AWFUL!
A teacher will see another teacher leave on time and you might hear:
- “Wow, that must be nice.”
- “They must not care about their students.”
- “I wish I could do that.”
- “This job isn’t their priority.”
That needs to stop! (Like now!)
It is not okay to put down another teacher for prioritizing their health and mental well being.
Especially if you are doing it so you can thrive in this profession long term.
Since when did “Staying late” become a competition anyway?
Just because you stay late does not mean you care more or that you are any better than anyone else.
If anything, I want to congratulate you for sticking up for yourself and putting your health first.
On another real note, I don’t know about you, but the later I stay, the more burnt out I feel.
And I don’t know about you, but when I feel burnt out I am a real monster.
I’m grumpy, cranky, stressed, and not present with my students.
In reality, not prioritizing yourself is not good for your students (let alone yourself).
Prioritizing your wellbeing is prioritizing your students.
This brings me to my next point.
This is the most important tip I could give you. If you don’t know where your priorities are, then you won’t be consistent.
When I decided that I wanted to stop feeling burnt out I created a list.
Quite literally, I made a list of my priorities and things that were not my priorities.
Those priorities belong to you and you’re entitled to have them. You’re only on this earth once, and it all comes down to you and how you want to spend it.
First off, if you read this far I just want to say thank you! Setting boundaries is not easy, especially as a teacher.
But I just want to say that you deserve it.
You deserve to go on time.
You deserve to have a life outside of teaching.
You deserve to care for and prioritize your health and wellbeing.
Because in the long run, the only way we are going to eliminate burnout as a profession is through speaking up and prioritizing ourselves.
It has been a pleasure going through this journey with you. If you get a chance, message me on Instagram or leave a comment about what you thought about this post.
I love hearing from you!
And always remember:
Together we are stronger!