How to balance work and study as a teacher

Are you a teacher looking to balance work and postgraduate study? Find out how you can maintain a healthy work/study balance below.

According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, 93 per cent of employees would stay at a company longer if their employers invested in their careers. Continued professional development (CPD) is something that a lot of employees, including teachers, are keen to invest their time and energy into.

CPD opportunities for teachers might include: :

  • Workshops, seminars and conferences
  • Online learning
  • Professional reading
  • Mentoring others
  • Formal study.

Going back to study while teaching can not only be fulfilling, but add sought-after skills and qualifications to your CV. Despite this, one challenge for those considering further study is the delicate work and study balance. To maintain this balance, there are some tips you can employ to ensure both your classroom work and study to thrive.

Maintain your support networks

Staying in the loop with your leadership team at school is really important, along with communicating to your university that you are working full time. At your university, it’s important to understand the processes involved with getting extensions and accessing flexible class schedules. These can give you the ability to study outside of work hours and complete assessments in your own time.

Your school will also appreciate knowing your schedule. This allows them to effectively plan meetings or any important events that don’t interfere with your study. Keeping transparency between both parties will help you study and work with greater ease and productivity.

Plan your schedule, and don’t forget downtime

After you know how your class timetable works for study and work, it’s important to set out a detailed calendar and schedule. Understanding your day-to-day and weekly plan helps you be more productive, and have a clear understanding of when classes are held and assessments are due.

While going back to study might mean you need to make some sacrifices in your social life, make sure it’s not to the point where you have no time to relax – it’s important to have some downtime. A recent Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23 per cent were feeling burned out at work very often or always. Whether taking yourself to a movie, going to the gym or reading a book – schedule breaks. Making sure you don’t do everything at once and crowd your schedule can be key to increased productivity.

Create a quiet study space

If you’re aiming to maximise your study time before or after working in a classroom, you need to make sure that you have a quiet and effective study space. It can take your brain, on average, 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to your original task, after being distracted.

A study space could be:

  • A quiet table at a café or restaurant
  • Your own little nook at a local library
  • Space at your school, such as available classrooms
  • Your own dedicated space at home that’s free of distractions like the TV, phones, video games and general clutter.

Making sure you have an efficient study space is one way you can maintain your work and study balance going forward.

Studying online

If you are like the many working teachers who cannot study on-campus due to work and family commitments but are still invested in their professional growth, there is now the option to study online.  Gone are the days of sitting in an uncomfortable chair in a lecture theatre. Many universities now provide excellent online resources and systems geared towards busy working professionals. One university that offers busy working teachers the option to study is Edith Cowan University, with their Master of Education, delivered 100% online you can balance your home, work and study goals.

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