Finding a Balance

This week marks the beginning of my 23rd year of teaching, and I’m making an important change in my work situation this year in hopes of finding a little bit more balance between work and home. “Finding a balance” is a struggle for many teachers (it’s an obsessive job), but especially for me. Like many teachers, I consider my job as my “calling,” and have always given my heart and soul to the kids. But as I get older, and perhaps a little wiser, I’m finding that it’s taking a physical toll to be so completely immersed in work, and that’s not good for me — or for those kids. So I changed grade level (on the advice of my doctor), started knitting again (joy!), and began blogging about the books I read (and found a wonderful new community of friends!).

And then an opportunity knocked that was too good to pass up — something that would add more balance to the equation. I’m going to do a “job share” this year! I will be teaching 4 days a week, instead of five (with Mondays off!). It wasn’t something I planned to do, but when a former teammate, whom I dearly love and respect as a teacher, called and asked me if I’d consider a job share, I surprised myself by saying YES! So, we’re tightening the belt for the 20% reduction in funds, and focusing on balance and health.

I’m so excited! This will give me longer weekends in which to visit the Grandboy in Portland (200 miles away). I will have more reading, writing, blogging, knitting time. I won’t have the Sunday night blues anymore (they’ll translate to the Monday night blues now.). And because I will have such a wonderful teaching partner, I will feel happy and secure in the knowledge that my students will have an absolutely terrific Monday teacher that they will adore.

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14 thoughts on “Finding a Balance

  1. Kay

    Robin, I think that sounds like a wonderful plan. I totally understand and wish you a great year with your kids (with a little extra Robin-time!).

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  2. J.Danger

    This sounds excellent. I love reading your posts about teaching. You give beginning educators advice that is sorely needed.

    I always try to knit-I can never get it right.

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  3. Robin

    Thanks, Kay!

    Thanks, J. Danger! I’m not the best knitter in the world (my mother and my daughter are both much better at it), but I just love the feel of the yarn and working with the patterns. I put it aside for about 20 years, thinking I was too busy to knit. How lame is that?

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  4. Gentle Reader

    That sounds like a really good plan. I know several teachers that job-share and they all love it! Good luck with the change 🙂

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  5. Nan

    What a tremendous idea! I’ve never heard of it before. Did you have to get it approved by anyone? You still get benefits, right? I think it is hard for most everyone to find that balance, especially those with lots of interests. This sounds wonderful and hopefully there won’t be any ‘blues’ at all!

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  6. Anonymous

    OH YES. Balance? I spent a lot of time trying to get it right. That picture of rocks looks like it could fall any minute. It won’t because you’ve got it right–This seems like a great idea to get it right. It could save a lot of teacher burn-out. Enjoy! Your post reminded me immediately of my weekend catch-up schedule while I was teaching: Saturday started early, while the house was still quiet, making plans for the next school week. Then it was “running” time to do another catch-up on the home stuff. And Sunday afternoon was sometimes necessary to get back to the school jobs of correcting, planning, still needing to rest up for the busy week ahead. Still, I loved teaching and stayed with it a little less than 30 years. Happy
    school year, Robin, for you and your teaching partner.

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  7. Robin

    Thanks, LadyTink. It’s nice that there are a few more options like this nowadays.

    Thanks, Gentle Reader. It’s happening more and more frequently these days. It’s really a nice option for young parents. My teammate is able to stay home with her little girl four days a week, but still keep her teaching options open.

    Thanks, Nan. Job Sharing is becoming more and more frequent, at least in the elementary schools. It’s an option that makes so much sense–for teachers with young families or older teachers that face more health or family issues. And, yes, a job share must be approved by the principal first and then by the district. In my district, dropping the one day a week puts me at 80% of my normal salary, but my health and dental benefits are intact, as is my retirement credit for the year. It’s a wonderful option for some people.

    Hi Mom, I remember those Saturday mornings with your plan book out on the kitchen table. There are so many more reasonable options for us these days! Love you!

    Thanks, Nymeth. I’m looking forward to a little bit more time with that Grandboy … and with my books!

    Thanks, Stephanie. I think it’s perfect for this year. I’ll take it one year at a time and see how it works. It’s an interesting experiment for me.

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  8. Cath

    This sounds like a brilliant arrangement to me. Oddly enough, my 8 year old grandaughter is likewise having two teachers this coming school year. It’s not that uncommon in the UK I believe. I think it’s a good idea, especially for female teachers with children or those looking to cut back on their hours. Good luck! and enjoy your extra ‘you’ time.

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  9. Laura

    Just visiting in your blog for the first time; and this job share story is wonderful!!!! So glad you have this opportunity to slow down a bit. Reading, knitting, and grandson visiting sounds so cool!

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  10. Robin

    Thanks, Tara!

    Thanks, Cath. There are so many more options for teachers these days, and job shares make so much sense. I hope it’s a good year for your 8-year old granddaughter. I hope she dearly loves both her teachers!

    Hi Laura. Thanks for visiting my blog, and thanks for your kind thoughts. I’m lucky to have this opportunity to try this out this year.

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