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Should You Be Feeling Guilty For Working Less as a Teacher

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Should teachers be feeling guilty for working less as a teacher? Here is my hot take on whether or not working less makes you a bad teacher. PLUS I share my personal story of going from a first year teacher who was always working late to a teacher who hardly ever brought work home.

Have you ever found yourself questioning whether you should feel guilty for leaving work on time and working less as a teacher? In a society that praises the hustle culture and glorifies those who work tirelessly, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that working harder equates to success. But is that really the norm? Let’s delve deeper into this topic and challenge the misconception that feeling guilty for working less as a teacher is justified.

My Story:

As a first-year teacher, I struggled to find my footing in the demanding world of education. Every day felt like a battle to keep up with lesson planning, grading, and endless administrative tasks. It wasn’t until winter break that I had my “I’m done” moment. Graduating from feeling overwhelmed to feeling empowered, I dedicated my summer to learning how things could be different.

Second Year Revelation:

Midway through my second year of teaching, in the midst of delivering a math lesson, it dawned on me—I hadn’t stayed late or brought work home in weeks. It was a revelation. I realized that I had inadvertently found a way to manage my workload efficiently without sacrificing effectiveness. This newfound balance allowed me to pursue other passions, such as starting a business through podcasting, email, and social media, all while working fewer hours.

The Guilt Factor:

Despite the positive changes in my work-life balance, I couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt. It felt almost like cheating—I was supposed to struggle, to toil away late into the night like my colleagues. I began to question whether it was fair that I had found a way to make teaching easier when others were still grappling with the demands of the profession.

Three Types of Teachers:

Reflecting on my experiences, I realized that there are three types of teachers: the super organized, the organized chaos, and those who believe there must be a more efficient way. I fell into the latter category and wondered if I should be making things harder for myself to fit the mold of what teaching “should” look like.

Transitioning Mindset:

Instead of succumbing to guilt, I shifted my mindset. I began asking myself, “How can I see this differently?” I reframed the narrative, recognizing that not staying late was actually a positive thing—it meant more time to dedicate to meaningful pursuits, both inside and outside of work.

Overcoming Self-Doubt:

Despite my newfound efficiency, self-doubt crept in. Thoughts of not being smart enough or not having worked hard enough plagued me. But I challenged these beliefs by focusing on evidence to the contrary and reminding myself of the impact I was having on my students and fellow teachers.

Asked By Others:

As I continued to navigate this journey, I noticed colleagues and friends inquiring about my approach. They were curious about how I managed to achieve a better work-life balance. In response, I began creating resources and sharing my strategies online, hoping to empower other educators to reclaim their time and sanity.

How to Do It:

So, how can you, as a new teacher, start saving time and working more efficiently? Begin by conducting a time audit to identify areas of improvement. Then, focus on optimizing key systems such as classroom management, communication, grading and data analysis, planning and prepping, and organization. For more detailed guidance, download the Ultimate Prep Guide.

Wrap Up:

In conclusion, it’s time to debunk the myth that feeling guilty for working less as a teacher is justified. Embracing efficiency doesn’t mean you’re slacking off—it means you’re reclaiming your time and using it to make a positive impact. So, remind yourself of all the good things you can do with your newfound time back, and let go of the guilt. You deserve it.

Remember:

Not sure what to ask at the end of your teacher interview?

Here we break down 10 questions to ask the hiring committee at the end of your teacher interview. PLUS possible red and green flag answers to keep an eye out for.

These teacher interview questions will help you confidently prepare for your upcoming teacher interview, discover the perfect district for you to work for, and know with confidence how to stand out during your next interview from other candidates.

See you in the next one, teacher bestie!

Love,

Helena

AKA

Not sure what to ask at the end of your teacher interview?

Here we break down 10 questions to ask the hiring committee at the end of your teacher interview. PLUS possible red and green flag answers to keep an eye out for.

These teacher interview questions will help you confidently prepare for your upcoming teacher interview, discover the perfect district for you to work for, and know with confidence how to stand out during your next interview from other candidates.