When we talk about juggling academic life and extracurricular activities, we tend to focus on how students struggle to balance school life inside and outside the classroom. But teachers—responsible for coaching or moderating those same activities—often face similar challenges.
Here are some strategies to help teachers balance extracurricular activities with their academic and personal lives:
Put yourself first
Students aren’t the only ones who get burnt out, and while it might seem counterintuitive, sometimes the best way to help others is to focus on yourself.
Allen Nichols, a social studies teacher in Tennessee, stresses the importance of self-care. “You absolutely have to find time to yourself, and you need to do that on a daily basis,” he notes. “For teachers who can’t do that, the job becomes much more difficult.”
Focus on your own interests
Consider that the best coaches and teacher mentors tend to be the ones who are the most passionate and knowledgeable about the activities they lead. In many cases, a dispassionate teacher, coach, or leader can engender a loss of student interest in the activity or sport. Moreover, when you say ‘no’ to activities you’re unsuited to leading, this can end up serving both students and yourself in the long run.
Build leaders and partner up
Leading extracurricular activities can take a lot of focus and energy, so learning how much responsibility to transfer to student participants is a key skill for teachers to learn. Students can flourish when given the opportunity to become more active leaders in arenas outside the classroom. To help spread the workload, you can also partner up with a colleague who shares your passion.
Create rules and boundaries
In a previous post, we wrote about the discouraging quality of life many teachers experience, particularly when it comes to work-life balance. Unlike class hours, which ostensibly end at the sound of a bell, extracurricular activities have a more fluid relationship to time.
Make sure you set your boundaries early and openly with students, administrators, parents, and likely the most frequent boundary-buster of the bunch: yourself.