10 simple things to try and have a better work-life balance

Tonight’s 15 minute forum was led by Becky Owen – giving some great advice on how it is possible to be a brilliant teacher and avoid teacher burnout.

Get Organised

1.Mid term plan for each class before each half term including homework to be set.

  • Reduces planning time during the week
  • Gives time to become more confident with areas of subject knowledge that are less strong.
  • Gives time to prepare practical work
  • Ensures enough time to cover all content in lessons you have available.
  • Allows shared classes to be taught properly without confusion.

Time scale – approx. 1 hour for all classes (I had 10)

  1. Set homework on connect before start of half term (for as much of half term as possible)
  • Reduces time setting each week
  • Reduces chance of it not being set or put on connect
  • Helps reduce shared classes from not being set any homework.

Time scale – approx. 1 – 2 hours for all classes (I had 10) depending on detail of instructions written (I write very detailed!)

  1. Print out 2 week timetable and stick to desk near key board
  • Reduces chance of last minute panic!
  • Organises time for marking, homework setting/collection, planning of lessons, TP deadlines, meetings, revision sessions etc
  • Helps focus PPA and non contact time.

Time scale – none!

Make sure you also include things that you need to leave school for at the end of the day!

4. Plan when to mark home works/assessments/books to meet deadlines.

  • Reduces last minute marking before deadline
  • Some people have homework set on same day each fortnight so marking plan can be implemented also.
  • Allows deadlines to be met
  • Allows ‘bottlenecks’ to be identified and head of dept. can be notified of possibility of missed deadline.

Time scale – varies depending on how much marking you have/if you have a set homework plan etc.

Be Productive

  1. Figure out when you work best and do your work then!
  2. If you are marking then have no distractions and have a decent space to work in. I allocate a certain number of time and aim to mark a certain number of assessments in that time before stopping.
  3. Write to do lists or jobs to do today and update regularly.

Get a Life

In order to actually have a work-life balance you have to have things you enjoy doing outside of work.

  1. Try and have at least 1 thing you do during a Monday to Friday that has nothing to do with work. Book it in and stick to it.
  2. Have a ‘no work time’ policy at home. This can be hard if you have a family or are still working on reducing your workload at the start but you shoud:
  • No work on Friday nights, Saturday and Sunday night
  • Allocate 1 hour a day at home for school work but NO MORE!
  • No marking books/assessments at home, only do planning, setting homework/rewards on connect, mid-term planning sheets.


  1. Be strong – remember that if you are working productively for 8-9+ hours a day and you still can’t get all the work done, then it is probably the system that needs changing not you!
  • Ask for support – in my opinion we work in a very supportive school that does change to streamline tasks etc (more on how they do this here) but that can only happen if leaders know there’s an issue! Don’t give up asking or raising the issue if it doesn’t get heard the first time!
  • Come up with solutions to the problem (e.g. change when TP tasks are done, shared resources, planning groups, changes to marking policy)
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1 Response to 10 simple things to try and have a better work-life balance

  1. Reblogged this on Design Technology & Engineering Teaching Resources and commented:
    10 simple things to try and have a better work-life balance

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