The problem with work-life balance…
…is that it presumes that work is the opposite to life. That there’s work and than everything else. I know there are jobs that are just that – a job that you only do for money and you can’t wait to leave. But teaching isn’t one of those.
Teaching has everything to do with real life. Teachers don’t only learn from the past and educate for the present, but they are the social engineers of the future. Teaching is part of life, so believing in a work-life balance is detrimental to your teaching.
A much more helpful phrase is work-leisure balance. Some kinds of teachers, known as perfectionists, put so much into their work that they forget about he leisure. I’ve heard teaching compared with air traffic control in terms of the number of interactions you can ave per hour. But there’s no immediate life or death in teaching – only preparedness for the future – you can always teach a bit better, do a bit more, prepare that little bit extra… Perfectionists are great for their children 90% of the time, but they run the risk of burning out and becoming disconnected from their leisure time. It is this leisure time that will keep their teaching relevant and meaningful for their students.
I prefer ‘life-blend’ as my phrase to use instead of ‘work-life balance’. It reminds me that sometimes there are really intense times when I have to work every hour God sends, and at other times I need to spend time with my family, friends or just chilling.
I’ve also found that Doug Belshaw’s #Uppingyourgame has helped get this blend right. Google it.