“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how to use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.”Anna Taylor
“It must be great to have summers off,” comments a non-teacher. If I got a dollar every time, I heard that statement I’d be a rich woman. This statement certainly takes my down memory lane and how I spent my summers. The countless vacations where I’m souvenir shopping and buying pencils for students I haven’t even met. Making sure that I take in at least one educational tour, so that I can draft a lesson on my way back (no flight movie for me…lol!). Taking pictures and creating a slide show so that I can expose students that were unable to travel. You’d be surprised at how many kids have never seen or touched sand. So, I can confidently say that teachers are usually on 24/7. This is certainly a great topic for a future blog post (and I will address).
In the age of coronavirus, many teachers are teaching remotely while monitoring and teaching their own children. I recently had a conversation with a friend that has been home with her middle-school children. She has seen aside of her children that only their “real” teachers have been privy too. She went as far as posting a video on social media of the shenanigans. My friend reassured that he is an honor student despite the video. I certainly got a good chuckle. I’ve heard many similar stories and see this as an opportunity to bring some insight to what might seem like 25/8 teaching. This is a wonderful time to introduce or revisit boundaries.
Healthy boundaries are a crucial component of self-care. That’s because “in work or in our personal relationships, poor boundaries lead to resentment, anger, and burnout” (Nelson, 2016). Four simple ways to get started:
- Define-Identify your desired boundary
- Communicate-Say what you need
- Stay simple-Don’t overexplain
- Set consequences- say why it’s important
Of all the teaching that will go on whether with your students or personal children setting healthy boundaries will benefit them well into adulthood. “Boundaries are essentially about understanding and respecting our own needs, and being respectful and understanding of the needs of others,” explains Stephanie Dowd, a clinical psychologist, “and for that to work, we need to be putting a big emphasis on helping kids develop greater empathy and self-awareness.”
Assuming this is a seamless transition for teachers can impact wellness and productivity. It also adds an unfair burden. The presumption that because you’re a teacher it shouldn’t be an issue. I caution this premise as parents have been ready for their children to return to school (since April). Many declaring a deeper appreciation for teachers everywhere. It can be a challenging balance to meet the academic needs of students and your own personal children. This said I do encourage reaching into your toolbox and leveraging these tools at home.
- Create a schedule
- Communicate, even more than you think necessary
- Set boundaries with your children
- Take breaks
- Alternate shifts with your partner/support system
Get out of the 25/8 (or 24/7) trap. Maximize the opportunity to set or revisit healthy boundaries. Create an environment for you and your family to learn and thrive. “Love yourself enough to set boundaries!”