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Tips for a Good Work-Life Balance

Tips for a Good Work-Life Balance

Our next cohort are on the verge of beginning their training. We reached out to our community for their best advice on how to maintain that optimum work-life balance.

Michael was a part of our 2015 cohort and is now Head of Computing at a Teach First school. His tips for a good balance are:


“The ‘to-do list’ is constantly growing so don’t feel guilty for not getting everything done. Do the best you can in the time you have and be content with it. The most time efficient teachers are the ones who can see what’s on the horizon and make changes in their schedule accordingly. If you have parents’ evening on Thursday evening, don’t leave work to be done at that time. Lastly, know that work-life balance is like trying to achieve perfection. Inevitable things happen to effect the balance but you will get better at is as you get more experience.”


Racheal is currently on the Leadership Development Programme as an English Teacher. She joined the programme in 2017 as a career changer. This is the advice she would give to new participants:


“It's easier if you split the day into one hour chunks and draw up a timetable. Shade all the time you're teaching and then pre-plan in marking / extra activities / admin tasks. Make sure you follow it fairly strictly. Your timetable should stop at the time you promised yourself you'd be home. Sometimes you need to remind yourself that teaching is just a job. Look after your mental health, spend time with your family and friends, get plenty of sleep and eat properly.”


Joanna is a Science Teacher who took part in the Insight Programme and was a Brand Manager before joining the Leadership Development Programme in 2015. Her advice is:


“Find a hobby to do during the week such as going to the gym, meeting up with friends or watching a movie. Do something that is relaxing. Share your experience (and resources) with other participants going through the programme.”


Adel joined the programme in 2015 and is now the Head of Business Studies at his placement school. His top tips are:


“Understand how and when you work best. If your concentration is highest in the mornings, then get in a bit earlier and do your planning and marking then so you can go home and chill after school. Plan your admin tasks for when you know you won’t have the mental capacity to do anything serious. For example, do all your printing for the week during your free period on Friday afternoon.”


Joe is now Head of Membership at Chartered College of Teaching. He started the Programme in 2011. After years working in education, he suggests:


“There are loads of fads around but if you engage with what the research points to working then your practice will have a more substantial impact on pupils and lessen your workload. And don’t plan until 10pm at night or you’ll be no use to anyone the next day.”


Simon was a participant in our 2013 cohort as a maths teacher. He now works in strategy at Teach First. His expert advice is:


“Firstly, be proactive and communicate. In your first year you’ll learn many new things and be getting to grips with new processes. Keep in close communication with your line manager and update them if you feel like you’re behind. Secondly, you need to be realistic. The most important thing is that the class has a teacher in front of them who is able to throw themselves into their lessons.”


Emmanuel joined the programme in 2011. He founded The Light House with three other Teach First ambassadors, improving outcomes for looked after children. His tips for new participants are:


“Don’t work seven days a week. Choose Saturday or Sunday and do something away from work. Sign up for a team sport, it’s a good way of getting outside and doing something non-work related. As I progressed I started taking more on board. Though I was doing things faster, I had less free time. Think carefully about what you’re saying yes to and make sure you have the time to do it.”


Mark is the Teach First Participant President. He was a primary teacher on the Programme in 2015. This is what he thinks leads to a good work-life balance:


“Get some things in the diary – trips away or days out – to look forward to when times are tougher. Try things out, don’t put pressure on yourself to get the balance right first time. Finally, appreciate that advice is just that. Don’t feel like you have to implement everything. You’ll get so much advice, some good and some bad, identify what might work for you, focus on that and park the rest.”

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