7 Steps to Creating a Work-Life Balance for Teachers
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Having a good work-life balance is an essential part of survival these days. There is so much going on around us that we need to make a concerted effort to look after ourselves and our mental and physical health. A work-life balance for teachers is especially important. As English teachers, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by our work and let it take over our lives. But this is not healthy and can lead to exhaustion and even burnout.
Read more: How to Avoid Burnout as a TEFL Teacher
So let’s look at a few practical ways you can make sure you have a good work-life balance while teaching English as a foreign language.
1. Be prepared
Teaching can be stressful. Every lesson you are dealing with people. The nature of the job means you are constantly talking while being mindful of what you are saying, and making sure your language is graded appropriately. At the same time, you are constantly checking up on your student’s interests and comprehension.
Being a TEFL teacher is quite a juggling act. You need to know your lesson plan, assess your learners at every stage of the lesson, and adapt your lesson if necessary. Also, you are dealing with any personality clashes that may come up between the students, while directing any necessary movement of the learners to ensure the best configuration for the learning activities. Whew!
As you can imagine, this can be quite a stressful situation. Because there is so much to think about for the TEFL teacher, you must be adequately prepared for your lessons. Make sure you put the necessary thought and time into your lesson prep. Make sure you are clear in what you have to do at every stage of the lesson to accomplish your aims. And also make sure you have all the resources you need and that you are comfortable with any tools or technology that you might be utilising.
Being prepared will help you have confidence in your abilities. Experience is the greatest teacher but even for new teachers, having a good plan is the best way to set yourself up for success.
2. Take a break
If you’ve done even a little part of your TEFL course you’ll know that planning an EFL lesson can feel like you’re in a vacuum. Planning a thirty-minute lesson can take you hours if you fall into the trap of what-ifs? Spending so long on planning your lessons is not sustainable. It’s also not healthy.
If you’re just starting as a TEFL teacher, know that your planning will take longer than necessary. Lesson planning is a learning curve, and that’s okay. But one very helpful tip is to be firm about making decisions. There are a million ways to teach the same lesson, so choose the route you want to take and stick with it. This will save you from endless rabbit holes as you try to find “the best” activities for your lesson.
Set a time for your lesson prep. This might be a chunk of time to plan for the whole week or smaller periods every day. Stick to your time slot. Lesson planning is part of your job, which means you should do it during working hours. Lesson prep can easily creep into your free time and have a huge effect on your work-life balance as a teacher. Be strict with yourself so that it doesn’t.
Read more: 5 Reasons Your TEFL Lesson is a Dumpster Fire
3. Get social
You might be talking all day with your students but for the most part, your students aren’t your friends. Connection is an important part of our lives and keeping in touch with friends and family is essential for maintaining a good work-life balance for teachers.
If you are teaching English abroad, make sure you keep in touch with your friends and family back home through the use of technology. Check-in every couple of days and keep those connections strong. Try to make some local friends so that you have some people you can hang out with after a long day of school. If you can’t speak the local language, you should be able to find other TEFL teachers or ex-pats in your city.
4. Get physical
Teaching is a physically demanding job because you are on your feet for most of the day – getting your 10 000 steps in shouldn’t be a problem! But it’s important to get out and about in the fresh air too. Walking to and from work is one way to get daily exercise, but if walking is not possible and you have to commute, try to take some time for a walk or a run before or after work. If you’re into heavy sweating, join a gym and fit in a few workouts every week. This will keep you healthy and physically fit, ready to deal with any stresses life throws at you.
If you teach English online, it’s even more important to get up and be active. You might be sitting at your laptop for hours every day. Make sure to make time for exercise as often as possible, even if that means doing yoga stretches in the garden or taking your dog for a walk. The great thing about online teaching is that your schedule will be flexible so you’ll be able to fit exercise in when it suits you.
5. Get some rest
Rest is vital for a good work-life balance. As a teacher, you need to be aware of the possibility of burnout and do everything you can to prevent it. This might mean saying no to lessons if you are already booked to your maximum capacity. It also means taking time off from teaching every day to allow your mind to reset, as well as taking regular rest days or holidays. If you are teaching English online, make sure you schedule days of rest if you work on weekends and regular vacation breaks.
If you are teaching English abroad, it can be tempting to go out and explore your city with every free moment you have, but be careful not to overdo it. Travelling in a new city is exhausting, and sometimes you just need to relax with a book or have a nap instead of checking out the local market.
Read more: Spa Day from Home: Treat Yourself from Head to Toe
6. Watch what you eat
Being healthy is not only about getting enough exercise but also about eating the right way. We’re not saying you need to be on any kind of a diet but you know you shouldn’t be eating McDonald’s every day, right? Nourishing your body with healthy and nutritious food is essential for keeping yourself healthy.
If you are teaching English abroad, familiarise yourself with the local diet. Eating local specialities and cooking for yourself is not only healthier than eating restaurant food all the time, but it’s cheaper too.
If you’re teaching English online, make sure you don’t always eat at your laptop! Take time to step away from your desk and prepare a good lunch. You can’t survive on toasted sandwiches and 2-minute noodles forever!
7. Find your happiness
We thought we’d save the most important for last.
Your happiness is key to a good work-life balance. You need to be happy in your job in order to be able to enjoy your life. If you’re unhappy with your work, this will spill over into your everyday life, which will make you depressed or frustrated.
Work out what it is that will make you happy and work towards that goal. If that is earning tons of money, then you can work hard knowing you are adding to your savings every day. If that means living a relaxing lifestyle, then you will be happy working less and being more mindful of your free time.
The point is, this is your life and, as clichéd as it may sound, it is what you make of it. Teaching English is one way to create the life you’ve always wanted to live, so make sure you look after yourself, so you can live your best life.
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2022
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We’ll only market other organisations’ products and services if you have said it is OK for us to do so.
You can ask us to stop sending you marketing information or withdraw your permission at any time.
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD retains personal information in line with our corporate retention requirements. Your data will be stored within the European Economic Area (“the EEA”) (The EEA consists of all EU member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). However, in some circumstances, part or all of your data may be stored or transferred outside of the European Economic Area (“the EEA”). You are deemed to accept and agree to this by using our site and submitting information to us. If we do store or transfer data outside the EEA, we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your data is treated as safely and securely as it would be within the EEA and under the GDPR. Such steps may include, but not be limited to, the use of legally binding contractual terms between us and any third parties we engage with, and the use of the EU-approved Model Contractual Arrangements. If we intend at any time to transfer any of your data outside the EEA, we will always obtain your consent beforehand.
Right to access personal information
- Under the law, any individual has a right to ask for a copy of the personal information held about them. This means that you can ask for the information that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD holds about you. This is known as the right of ‘subject access’.
- When making a request you will need to give us:
- a request in writing (by post or by email)
- We may need to ask you to provide:
- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.