Work-Life Balance and the Drive to Succeed

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Striking the right balance. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

Whether you’re pushing for a promotion, trying out new teaching strategies, become more involved in school working parties, becoming an active Twitter user or otherwise busting a gut there is a balance to be struck. Can this drive to succeed accompany a healthy work life balance?

I’m an ambitious teacher and the moment I got into the teaching business I saw opportunities to push myself. I’ve been incredibly lucky! Every time I have wanted to do something I have been given that opportunity.

In my first year post-training I started to set up GCSE Astronomy and became, for what it’s worth, ‘Head of Astronomy’. I was headhunted (internally, it just sounds good) to be the E-learning Coordinator at the school, utilising my keen interest in ICT in education.

I then, combined with both those roles, became Assistant Head of Physics. I seemed to be thriving! Juggling all these roles was great fun, prioritising the endless tasks beyond being a classroom teacher; the challenge was exciting.

Since then I’ve luckily found someone wonderful and we’ve bought a place together. I also became Head of Physics this year..oh and then Head of Science as a maternity cover. This was the killer – there was nobody to take on Head of Physics. I knew this when going for Head of Science. I’m now Head of Science and Physics (..and Astronomy….and the go-to guy for anything tech-related).

This may be an extreme example – I’ve got a lot of my plate, it’s not been easy on my social life (ha!) or my relationship…but it’s a vital step in my career and something I am loving. When tasked with arranging a timetable for the 18 members of teaching staff in the department I got excited. I hadn’t even marked all of my A Level coursework yet I was desperate to just play around. Today I finished marking the coursework, now I can think more about the timetable!

Should my first thought on completing coursework be: ‘brilliant! Now I can crack on with timetabling.’? Is it worth pushing yourself all this way even if it does strain your relationships and take tolls on everything you do? You are excited by the work you’re doing (this profession is great for job satisfaction) but actually is it for the best for your life outside of school? Do you have to put these strains on your relationships to reach your goals? How important to you is your life outside of school? Does it take priority over your work life?

I know I need to think carefully about how I operate.

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