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Teaching is a tough job! We think that regular reminders to care for yourself are really important, because it can be so easy to be caught up in making the school and classroom environment as impactful as possible for students. This article articulates the importance of each individual in the school system working towards establishing and maintaining a healthy work culture.

It’s time to stop wearing teacher overtime as a badge of honour

Britt Root , a fifth grade teacher, is taking down posts on her Instagram. When her followers wanted to know why, here’s her response. “I shared this in my stories, but I wanted to give it a permanent spot here. I’ve deleted a lot of my old content. 90% of my old posts make me cringe. I am not a fan of my obvious and unhealthy ‘teaching is my life and I do nothing else’ mentality.”

The comments began to pour in. “Thank you for normalizing the shift that has to happen in education,” one follower said. Another wrote, “the fewer times teachers are hailed as heroes for working insane hours, the healthier the narrative will be.” There’s no question that there is a toxic narrative around teacher work and productivity. It’s time to stop wearing teacher overtime as a badge of honor.

Overworking doesn’t make you a better teacher.
There’s a toxic culture in education that associates overworking with being a good teacher. Your overtime is not a badge of honor but a systemic problem that leads to burnout. I wish we could blame it on the craziness of pandemic teaching, but we can’t. It’s a deeply ingrained narrative, and it’s time to rewrite the story. No one is saying we shouldn’t work hard. There’s no question that teaching requires hard work; it’s rare that we end the day with every item crossed off our to-do list. But we need to accept that there is always going to be more that we can do. This is why so many of us sacrifice our physical and mental health and work well beyond our contract hours. We are sprinting towards a finish line that keeps getting further away.

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What are your top tips for new teachers to help them protect and maintain their work-life balance?

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