Why I Don’t Take Work Home
At all cost, I avoid toting work home. First of all, I’m pretty weak and lugging my laptop and countless pages of student work certainly may break my arms. Or my back. Or both. And I’m pretty fond of both my arms and back. But the main reason why I don’t take work home is because I want teaching to be my long-term career. I don’t want to be part of the 50% that quits teaching in the first five years.
I don’t want to burn myself out. Stamina is the name of the game. If I can’t get everything done while I’m at school, I need to reevaluate my time management, my assignments, and how I run my classroom.
I get to school a half hour early and stay almost an hour late on top of two planning periods of 47 minutes and lunch (eat 15 min.; work 15 min.). That’s nearly three hours of free time daily to work and plan.
I understand not every teacher has that much time and I don’t think I’ll ever have that much planning time after student teaching. Two plan periods per day is a lot. But if I utilize the time I have, why would I need to bring work home? If I can’t get things done in that amount of time, then I’m assigning too much or I’m overthinking lesson plans or something else is not right.
But the main reason why I don’t take work home is because I need a life outside of teaching. If I absorb myself in teaching 24/7, I’ll be a very unhappy and ineffective teacher and I won’t want to stay in the field.
I want a personal life. I have a boyfriend, a family, and friends. I also need me time; time to do things I enjoy. I need time to re-charge. I need to focus on myself to be a better teacher. A healthy teacher is a happy teacher so I need to work out and cook healthy meals. I’m Kelsey before I’m Miss Empfield.
I understand that deadlines sneak up and papers pile up. When that happens, I would rather get to school earlier and stay a bit later to catch up and get my feet underneath me. If I would take my work home, that’s all I’d do. I know this because I stayed late on Monday to attend a board meeting. I had five hours to kill. I was going to work for a while and then read my professional development book. Instead, I worked and planned ALL FIVE HOURS. 7 pm snuck up on me.
So I have to draw a line in the sand and refrain from taking my work home because it would be too difficult to stop and play with my cat. It’s just too tempting to get work done and things crossed off the to-do list.
However, at home I’ll focus on professional development through Twitter, blogs, and books. That’s the work I don’t mind doing at home.
I need balance. Because I stayed so late on Monday, I’m leaving earlier than usual at least once this week. There’s a reason why the work week is 40 hours per week. Workers need rest. Teachers need lives outside of school. And I need time to be Kelsey.