Aileen Ryan graduated from St. Pat’s in 2004. She is currently teaching in an inner city DEIS school in Dublin. She also have teaching experience with the British, Australian and American curriculums while working in large international schools. Aileen is an Assistant Principal 2 and has a Master’s in Literacy and Postgraduate Diplomas in Educational Management and Special Education Needs.
In today’s busy classrooms, teachers are often racked with guilt. This guilt is a combination of trying to cover an expansive curriculum, keep on top of corrections, give effective feedback and plan interesting and stimulating lessons.
Teachers are often left overwhelmed and exhausted as they have very little time to relax. It is a constant struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance. I have been teaching over 15 years and I have noticed a huge change in the demand being placed on teachers. I feel very strongly that it is essential that teachers look after their own well-being.
As a facilitator of the Work Smarter, Be Happier summer course, I have three tips that might help teachers who feel they need to help redress their work-life balance.
Use the Eisenhower Matrix on a weekly/monthly basis to help you to prioritise tasks by urgency and importance. I think all teachers can be guilty of spreading themselves too thin and taking on too many things at once. The Eisenhower Matrix really focuses your attention of what is essential and what are unnecessary extras. Teachers also need to focus their attention on life/self-tasks in order to ensure they are engaging in self-care which is equally as important. Learn more about this technique here.
Use of a variety of assessment techniques. Increasing the use of self and peer assessment has been shown to an increased ownership of learning by the students and it also takes away some of the pressure on a teacher. It is also suggested that there is no need to mark every single page. It is much more important to give effective, constructive feedback than ticking every question on every page. Learn more about effective assessment here.
Lesson Plan with KISS
When planning lessons use the KISS method, which is featured in the Everyday Lesson Planning Summer Course.
Key question: What do want your students to know by the end of the lesson?
Information: How are you going to present the information in a memorable way?
Search for Meaning: What will students do with that information to make sense of it?
Search for Understanding: How will the students demonstrate their ability to answer the key question?
This method prevents adding unnecessary elements to a lesson and ensures that there is a clear focus for each lesson.