I had an email from one of my friends in Australia yesterday that really got me thinking. He was talking about trying to organise to have one day off work a week in order for him to focus on his own interests instead of being bogged down with work. He wants a better work/life balance. I think it's a great idea for him if he can work it out.
It got me thinking about my own situation. I have been putting in a lot of extra hours over the past month in order to get things to a level that I feel comfortable with for my grade. Part of this is due to my responsibility of being the Team Leader for my grade and I feel that it is my duty to ensure that what we're doing is up to scratch. The reasons for me having such little time are many. We are in the middle of several fairly major changes at my school and at the moment there is some confusion about the requirements and direction we are meant to be taking. The result of this is that there's a lot of 'discussing' and very little 'doing'. This has had a knock-on effect to the teachers as they also have the usual amount of class work to maintain and many people have experienced a build up that is unsustainable. There is light at the end of the tunnel though.
The other part of me allocating my spare time to work is that, no matter how stressful it can be, I really do enjoy it. I love it when my planned learning engagements hit the bullseye (although I'm devastated if the opposite occurs!). I like that our planners are clear and everyone has a shared understanding of where we are and where we need to go next. And I enjoy the discussions that have evolved out of the problems we've experienced. There is still a lot of work to be done but I am learning every step of the way from people that are more experienced and knowledgable than me. If my thoughts or opinions are questioned I feel motivated to explore the alternatives to see if I truly believe in what I say or whether I'm just following a crowd. This helps me to become a better educator.
I feel privileged to be working in a profession that I love. If I took a day off then I would probably spend most of it fine-tuning my lessons, updating my planning or reading books, articles or blogs related to education. To a stranger, my work/life balance is way out of line. But it suits me just fine.