004: Balance IS Necessary

I reference through this site the idea of creating balanced life in order to be the most effective teacher possible.  I feel what we should strive for, more than becoming the most effective teacher possible, is to become the most IMPACTFUL teacher possible.  The whole reason a majority of aspiring educators, and veteran educators alike are pulled into the profession is because they want to have an impact on children’s lives, to help them become the best versions of themselves and to go onto great things.

The concern I have, based on observation and personal experience, is that many people go into the teaching profession with the best of intentions, but they quickly burn out.  Many teachers try to aspire to the great heights of teaching legends such as Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, founders of the well known KIPP Academy, but what they fail to realise is that not everyone is mentally, emotionally, and physically built to handle the workload that these men tackled.  It’s not to say that hyper-teacher-accountability doesn’t work for some, but many teachers without the proper training and mindset burn out quickly.*

It’s not to say that hyper-teacher-accountability doesn’t work for some, but many teachers without the proper training and mindset burn out quickly.

Most aspiring teachers fail to realise how tough the profession can be.  They may think, “Yea, it will be hard, but I want to make a difference.”  However, these same teachers who have not worked in high-stress situations outside of university fail to truly understand the pressures that present generation teachers face.  Fact is, if you fail to create balance in your life, then you WILL fail to be an impactful teacher.

Below is a diagram of what I believe is necessary to become an impactful teacher:

Impactful Teacher Diagram

The areas that must be considered when striving to become an impactful teacher are SELF, FAMILY, and then your STUDENTS, in that order.  You must take care of yourself in order to take care of your family and students, and if your family is out of sorts, then it becomes more difficult to support those you are trying to educate.  This is by no means a perfect formula, but it’s important we remember that we cannot take care of our students if our life is out of balance.  What’s more, how are we to become impactful in our students lives, to help drive change, if we have no impact in our own domains?  In my opinion, the answer is that we cannot.  Essentially, this conversation is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for educators.

…how are we to become impactful in our students lives, to help drive change, if we have no impact in our own domains?

If you are one of the 5% who are able to jump into the teaching profession without any overwhelm, or can manage the overwhelm in a healthy way, then my hat goes off to you.  You are a rare breed.  But for the rest of us 95%, we must acknowledge that teaching can become very stressful, and we must know how to develop a balance in order to create impact.

Remember to take the time for yourself and your family.  By doing so, you are helping your students in more ways than can be measured.

Until next time!

 

*America’s Academic Impact Model and Theoretical Culture of Accountability Can Foster Disillusionment Among its Corps Members.

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