The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Teachers struggle to maintain healthy work-life balance

Luisa Gapastione
Jobs, especially teaching, require finding a balance between personal life and work life.

Often effort has to be put in to find the harmony between living life and fulfilling employment responsibilities, which can be especially difficult for teachers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said teachers prepare lessons, grade papers, and teach various skills. Shomace Ighanian teaches science. Her work schedule has changed over the years after becoming more experienced.

“When I started, I was here till like 6:30/7:30 pm [and] weekends, which I think a lot of new teachers do because you don’t realize [getting] everything done on time is impossible,” Ighanian said. “You can’t do it. And I think at the beginning, you feel like ‘I’m young and energetic. I’m hopeful I can get it all done, [and] it doesn’t matter if I take hours and hours’.” 

For some teachers, like Ighanian, their work-life balance strategy is impacted by having kids.

 “When I had kids, I realized that that’s a horrible example to just not be home ever, [not] spend time with them, not have hobbies, not exercise,” Ighanian said. “So I just decided [that] if I can’t get the work done during the school day, I’m still going to leave at an appropriate time and I’ll get it done when I can.” 

Spanish teacher Karen Dorsey separates work time from family time in her home. After school, she doesn’t work on anything school-related until after her kids have gone to bed.

“I think [at] the beginning of my career, it felt like if I didn’t do the best job all the time, that was the end of the world,” Dorsey said. “And then I realized that there were things that I needed to do for my family that were important and sometimes more important than being 100% all the time at work.”

Biology teacher Julie Paoli uses organization and planning strategies that she has picked up over the years. They keep her on track and support efficiency.

“I put a lot of systems in place in the class, like keeping Google Slides [so] I know what I did last year,” Paoli said. “I don’t have to replan things. For me, notebooks make grading way easier because I can do it during the test. And sometimes I still grade a lot on the weekends.”

Along with Paoli, Ighanian often has to take extra time after the school day to stay on top of all of her work.

“Sometimes I’ll take a personal day to grade papers, which people think is crazy,” Ighanian said. “I can focus on planning or grading or whatever I have to do. One time, I didn’t go with my family during Christmas to the vacation, because I just had too much to do. It was crazy, trying to fit everything in and trying to get it all done during the school year and I couldn’t do it. I knew that if I just did [the work] then I could have a more relaxed second semester.”

It’s not always enough to have set aside work time, teachers can fall behind or feel like their workload is too heavy.

“I do get overwhelmed,” Dorsey said. “Sometimes I just try and push through. I think that it helps to have a friend, a teacher friend, to talk about the things that are stressful because usually they are feeling the same way. It’s nice to not feel alone.”

Paoli has found that experience with the job helps to establish a workflow.

“I have a routine,” Paoli said. “I get up and walk in the mornings with a friend. I do meal planning and grocery shopping on the weekends. Over the years, I’ve just kind of developed that sort of routine. But, I work probably more than I should.”

Dorsey has her own strategy for getting everything done. It’s not always possible to use memory to keep track of important things.

“I have a list of things that need to get done,” Dorsey said. “And I cross them off as I go, and I try to prioritize the things that are most essential. I have [some things] on a list that’s weekly, like I order copies on Mondays.” 

Jobs can take a lot of thoughtful effort, so it’s important to find a balance between your personal life and your profession.

“In terms of hours, this [job] is my biggest commitment,” Ighanian said. “So I always tell people, ‘don’t take a job if you don’t love the job, if you don’t believe in it, if you don’t think it’s worthy.’ You have to be happy spending your day doing things that you’re doing. So [the] job is a priority, but I won’t prioritize the job at the expense of my kids.”

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About the Contributor
Luisa Gapastione
Luisa Gapastione, Beat Editor
Luisa Gapastione is a freshman and first-year journalist. She enjoys writing about politics, controversies, and public opinions. She wants to spread awareness about significant topics and encourage people to have important conversations. In her free time, she enjoys reading, going on walks, and listening to music.

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