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How to balance work and life in your first year as a teacher

Your first year of teaching will be both challenging and rewarding. No training can fully prepare you for what it is like to jump into the classroom full time and this only becomes easier with time. As an international teacher you have the added challenge of being away from your regular support network, however it is important to have a successful first year of teaching while also enjoying your overseas adventure to the fullest. Below we share some ideas for work/life balance you can utilise

Be sure to exercise and sleep

It is well known that both exercise and sleep are two important components to achieve mental and physical wellbeing, so it is essential not to let school get in the way of both of these. Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety and negative moods while also improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Be sure to allocate a time each day, whether before or after school, to go for a run or hit the gym. As a new teacher it may be hard to switch off from work, leading to poor sleeping patterns. A good night’s sleep can improve concentration and productivity. Therefore to ensure you are always feeling 100 percent have a set bed time routine, which will allow you to unwind and switch of your phone at least 30 minutes before bed.

Utilise PPA time

All teachers have planning, preparation and assessment time allocated to them however as a Newly Qualified Teacher you receive an extra 10% of PPA time. It is vital to utilise this time effectively. Have a clear plan of what you want to achieve in your PPA time so you don’t find yourself procrastinating and no time is wasted.

Don’t be afraid to seek help

At times throughout the year you may feel like you are on your own, however schools are full of people who are willing to offer help if needed. Remember even those really experienced colleagues were once NQT’s. You will be assigned a mentor, so don’t be afraid to go to them with any questions or if you are stressed. They most likely have been in your situation before and might have a solution for you.

Set achievable goals and expectations

It is important to remember that this is your first year of teaching, everything is new and you will be learning a lot. So it is equally important to set expectations that are not unrealistic. By setting expectations which will be simply too hard to achieve you are opening yourself up to an added workload and stress.

Time management is key

Becoming a master at time management might be one of the most important aspects to achieving a great work/life balance. You will slowly pick up time management tips and tricks along the way, however a few tips to get you started are:
• Plan out your day in advance. By creating a plan you will soon be able to categorise the most important tasks and will be able to complete those first.
• Do not procrastinate. Maybe an obvious one however once you have lost time it is hard to catch up.
• Share resources and planning with colleagues.
• Utilise free resources online. Many fantastic lesson ideas and activities are accessible online.

Holidays are for holidays

For some of you, holidays will seem like a fantastic opportunity to get some added preparation in for your lessons, which it can be. However it is important not to be tempted into completing school work for the entirety of your holiday break. Holidays are a great time for you to recharge your batteries, spend time with friends and get some much needed travel in!!