Teaching is an incredibly rewarding profession, but it can also be difficult and challenging. It requires a great deal of patience and understanding to navigate the classroom effectively. One of the most important things teachers need to do in order to succeed is set boundaries.
These boundaries allow them to manage their workload while still being able to provide students with the best possible education. Establishing clear expectations for behavior helps create an environment that is conducive to learning, and allows teachers more time for planning lessons and grading assignments. In this article, we will discuss why setting boundaries as a teacher is essential and how it can help make teaching easier.
Must-Have Boundaries When You’re a Teacher
When you’re a teacher there are a lot of expectations about what you will do and when you will do it. While performing your job to the best of your abilities is a must, doing so only when you’re paid to be working is also important. Here are some of the must-have boundaries that will help you do that.
Not Staying Late
Working extra hours can lead to burnout, fatigue, and decreased job satisfaction, all of which can negatively impact a teacher’s ability to effectively do their job. There is absolutely nothing wrong with leaving when your contract hours are over for the day. That’s why they are in your contract. While it may be tempting to stay after to get things done, it can often be a slippery slope where you end up staying late every day. Go home when your hours are over.
Coming in Early (If You Want To!)
When we asked teachers what boundaries they set, many of them mentioned coming in early. For many, the ability to work uninterrupted in their classroom during the early morning hours gives them the opportunity to get work done without having to stay later. If this is not something that appeals to you, don’t do it! Work your contract hours and then go home.
Don’t Take Work Home
The most significant boundary that teachers can set for their mental well-being is not taking work home. There will always be more to do, but there will never be that time again with your family and friends. Create a hard boundary if you need to, and leave your teaching bag in the trunk for the night. When you are able to be present with your family instead of worrying about getting work done, you may find that the quality of your life improves and teaching doesn’t lead to burnout as quickly.
Going to the Bathroom
Using the bathroom is a basic biological need. When you need to use the bathroom, find coverage and use the bathroom. If you work in a room where there is a co-teacher, this becomes easier. However, setting the boundary and expectation that you will call on others to cover your class when you need to use the restroom is appropriate and better for your physical health.
Email at School Only
Emails can show up in your inbox at a fast and furious pace. Instead of stressing about them or feeling the need to answer them after hours, set up notifications to do not disturb after your contract hours are over for the day. That way, you won’t see the emails pop up and be tempted to answer them. If you have your school email on your phone, you might even want to delete it so that your teaching responsibilities remain at school and your evenings and weekends can be yours alone.
Setting boundaries as a teacher is essential for both your mental and physical health. Taking the time to establish clear expectations of what you will and will not do helps to create an environment where you have more time to plan lessons, grade assignments, and complete the tasks that you need to do. By implementing these simple strategies, such as not staying late after work, not emailing outside of working hours, using the bathroom when needed, and leaving work at school, teachers are able to manage their workload better without compromising their mental or physical health. With this approach, teaching becomes easier and much more rewarding.
While it is not always easy to set boundaries at school, it is vital if you want to last as a teacher. There will always be more work, more responsibilities, and more pressure put on you, but there will only ever be one of you. Protect yourself and put boundaries in place to make sure you are taking care of yourself.