Spring Fever: Maintain Work-life Balance When Life Is “Life-ing”

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May 13, 2024

Spring Fever is in full bloom, and teachers everywhere are looking forward to the end of the school year. Educators shape the future, but the demands of lesson planning, grading and classroom management can be exhausting. Balancing teaching with family obligations means meticulous planning, effective time management and prioritizing self-care amidst the profession’s demands.

It’s like walking a tightrope, with teaching, family and work-life balance all vying for your attention. Whether you are a novice teacher who is finding it challenging to maintain focus and productivity as the weather heats up. Or a more experienced teacher, juggling teaching and a young family, torn between work demands and parental duties. Or like me, a veteran teacher juggling the demands of a career while suffering from caregiver fatigue as you raise your aging parents. Each role comes with its challenges, creating a complex web of responsibilities requiring careful handling.

Teaching while raising a family was a monumental task that demanded dedication, patience and love, from the sleepless nights of infancy to the roller-coaster ride of the teenage years. But nothing prepared me for the responsibility of caring for my elderly parents. This has been the most demanding job of my life.

As the population ages, more of us find ourselves in the role of caregiver. It is a rewarding yet emotionally taxing experience. Balancing my caregiving duties with my own well-being often means sacrificing time, energy and personal fulfillment. Finding time to hold space for myself has become increasingly more difficult. To protect my physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, I have had to become OK  with setting boundaries, seeking support and practicing self-help techniques. Open communication and collaboration within my family have helped distribute responsibilities and ease the burden.

Self-help Strategies: There are several activities that any teacher can engage in to relax and decompress after a demanding day. Some of my favorites are finding solace in a yoga session, unwinding with a good book and taking a leisurely stroll in nature. These moments of self-care are great for rejuvenating the mind and body.

I also recommend picking up new hobbies, such as painting or writing. Being creative can provide an outlet for expression and allow teachers to tap into their artistic side. Whatever the activity, prioritizing relaxation and decompression will allow you to recharge your battery and approach each day with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

Navigating the complexities of family, caregiving, teaching and work-life balance demands resilience, adaptability and a commitment to personal well-being. Being able to embrace chaos with courage and grace is the endgame. By finding harmony amidst the competing demands, we grow stronger, wiser and more fulfilled. Ultimately, this ability to navigate life’s maze defines our humanity.


2023-24 Michigan Teacher of the Year Candice Jackson is a third-grade teacher and instructional coach at Mann Learning Community in Detroit Public Schools Community District. She's been in the Detroit district since 2002 and at Mann since 2017.