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7 simple work-life balance hacks for teachers that win

Go HERO course for teacher productivity and work-life balance

I love to teach, but my work-life balance was unhealthy. I was working long into every night, and I couldn’t stop thinking about school. Till one day, I decided to learn smart work habits, so I would only work school contracted hours and stop taking work home. 

Eventually I developed what I’d learnt into a PD course which I named ‘Go HERO’ so more teachers can get their life in balance. 

Get Work Life Balance

Is your work-life balance healthy?

A few years into teaching, I went to live and work in Solomon Islands. The local church we attended had a vision for a Christian primary school and asked us to help. 

At first, I hesitated, I mean, I love to teach, but hey, I’m not a principal. The thing about working overseas is you soon get asked to do more than you ever thought possible.

I thought it would get easier as we added another year level and more teachers each year, but it didn’t. I was constantly:

  • Budgeting, accounting, and purchasing school resources
  • Creating and developing the school vision
  • Working with the Education Department to establish the school
  • Writing and developing curriculum
  • Training teachers, student teachers, accountant, and other staff
  • Teaching the grade ones, planning, grading and lesson prep

I LOVE to teach and the privilege of helping so many teachers and students, but something had to change. I had to learn to work smarter if I wanted a healthy work-life balance.

Emmaus Christian School Staff 2007

A small staff meeting – we were discussing pay rises, – so much fun!

Is teaching consuming your life?

I learned to develop strategies that enabled me to work and increase my teacher productivity. I stopped taking work home and started to leave an hour after the students went home with my work done.

The school became one of the top primary schools and seen as a viable option to the International school. Our Year six students graduated their final exams in the top 5% to enter high school, which is important. (Only the top 10% of students get placements in the few senior schools available in the Islands). 

Increasingly more teachers wanted to train or/and teach at the school. My students continued to be successful, and my teaching improved.

You, too, can have an healthy work-life balance. It may seem like mission impossible, but I’m here to tell you, even though you love to teach, you can have a life beyond the classroom.

Work-life balance is having quality time with family

Are you tired of missing quality family time?

Let me give you the tools to create habits that will flip the switch off so you can stop thinking about school work all the time but still get stuff done.  

I can help you reframe your lesson-planning and grading, so you can kill your to-do list and stop taking work home.

Imagine IF, in ten weeks, your workdays were 9 hours work, 7 hours life, 8 hours of sleep, and weekends free! 

Read on and discover the seven hacks to win your life back.

Imagine if you could flip the switch on your thoughts

1 - What would you give if you could flip the switch and STOP thinking about school work for hours or even a weekend? 

I don’t know about you, but I used to think about school work even when I wasn’t physically doing it. I would be devising some new way to arrange the classroom in my head even when trying to get to sleep.

Not anymore!

I found a way to Flip the switch immediately, creating smart work habits and getting stuff done. I harness my superhero power to keep me on track.

It makes life so simple. Do you want that same freedom? 

Imagine if all your goals done

2 - What if you could set your goals so they actually get fulfilled?

There are so many projects we have to get done. Where to start? Sometimes we just stay still in limbo not sure where to begin.

I learned the secret of the hunter. I aim my arrow to hit the target that will knock them all dead. 

Instead of whizzing around and going no where trying to complete so many goals, find the ONE to rule them all.

Eliminate excessive planning so you have more time

3 - I wrote three lots of planning: a year at a glance overview, a deep term planner with curriculum strands, and a detailed weekly planner.

But, not since I devised a simple teacher productivity system that stopped all that. Imagine if you could eliminate excessive hours of planning and have all your weekends free for family time.

I learnt to eliminate excessive hours of planning by creating a digital planner. It has the year at a glance, term focus shortcuts and weekly planning tricks. It works so that I don’t have to re-write my term plans in my weekly planner.

Stop taking work home

4 - What if you could stop taking work home and do it within your contract hours?

You know when, most of your after-school hours are spent on school work. To combat it, you try to relax watching Netflix but you’re not really because you’re doing school work, so neither gets done well. 

Or worse, you’re with your family but you can’t switch off from thinking about school stuff. School takes over everything. 

I created the Go HERO quest, so I could get my school work done in my contracted hours, and stop taking work home. Or if I do take work home, I set the timer for one or two hours and get it done because of the systems I’ve set up and a little secret.

Refine your routines for work-life balance

5 - Imagine if your class ran on auto pilot with every routine and procedure in place so your students had more learning time?

Perhaps you just haven’t had the time to get organised so students can run the classroom. 

Are your class transitions taking five to ten minutes, and students are out of order during transitions? That’s a lot of time lost in learning when you consider there are at least five transitions per day in your average elementary classroom.

Learn to refine student routines and procedures for your classroom to run smoothly. Get more done in less time, so students have time during transitions and at the end of the day have 10 minutes to do those little jobs that run the classroom on auto-pilot. 

Get organised and achieve work-life balance

6 - How would it feel to get so organised you never have to create another to-do list?

My work-life balance solution is simple. To-do lists are out because I never get them done, and many of my Aussie colleagues just groaned at the mere mention of them.

The biggest secret of very productive people is that they don’t use to-do lists; they schedule tasks, and so do I. 

Scheduling appointments with myself, which means I get those tasks done, and I’m not wasting time thinking about what I should do. 

Optimise grading so you never take it home

7 - I used to take a cartload of marking home every night and work long into the night, but it never finished.

The idea was to get it all done but not anymore.

The trick is to optimise grading using assessment tricks that work fast. For example, one of the fastest ways I’ve found to grade writing is to use grading keys. 

I circle the error and write a number. Students find the number on the grading key, read it and know immediately what the problem is and correct it. Students learn from the mistakes instead of just noting they got a bad grade for an assignment.

Now, if I take grading home, I only take one set of papers, set the timer for one hour and use a set of marking keys to grade fast. Then I relax the rest of the evening. 

Go HERO course for teacher productivity and work-life balance

Start the Go HERO quest today and get your teacher work-life balance in 10 weeks.

The course has seven modules and each has four trainings. A FREE copy of my Digital Teacher Planner is included, plus a private social group for support. Read more about the course details here.

Go HERO course modules

On completion of the course, you will receive a 20-hour Professional Development Certificate.

Go HERO online PD course for work-life balance and teacher productivity

Download a FREE copy of the GO HERO Roadmap

Wanna chat first?

  1. Schedule a 15 min chat below. 
  2. At the scheduled time, I’ll call you!
  3. We’ll chat to see if Go HERO is for you.
  4. If you decide to go ahead sign-up.
  5. If you don’t there’s no obligation.
  6. I’m here to chat.


Sylvia Jan 2021

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sylvias - avatar
About the author: 5000 Credits 10000 Credits 15000 Credits 20000 Credits PRO Badge sylvias Visit My Stall
I am a K-12 Australian Teacher, with 25+ years of teaching experience. My Honours research investigated how teachers succeed in teaching English in a TEFL context. Originally from the UK, I lived and worked for 15 years in the Pacific Islands. During that time I was Principal of a school for 5 years, training teachers, teaching a class, and building a school from the ground up. I'm now back in Australia teaching and having fun!
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