By Matthew Olinski — Even as I sit here writing, the issue of balancing the right combination of family and personal time, commitment to my career, working on my graduate program work, and other time commitments is a difficult one to get correct.
It seems that there is always more to do than the time allotted, and there is no exception in the education field. In fact, I think our chosen career field often draws in those who give as much of themselves as they can.
Trying to find the right balance of all of those pieces in our life may be a never ending search. I have spent countless hours after school correcting papers, preparing materials for the next units, and making phone calls. It seems that there is always something to do, and being a reflective teacher, there usually is. I myself stayed, and have seen other co workers stay, several hours after the work day is over. I often stayed later as a single teacher because I didn’t have as many family commitments. Now, I am eager to get home to see my wife and play with my little daughter. I have spent several Saturday and Sunday afternoons inputting grades and creating new tests. Teaching an AP level class has only added to the time commitment.
I’m sure anyone who has begun his or her student teaching is well aware of the time they have put in the first time around. I used to think that the job got easier each year, and — to some degree — it’s true. You are not completely reinventing the wheel every year, but you are still correcting homework, quizzes, and tests. Parent contacts are important, so there needs to be time for those.
The education field is changing rapidly, so career skills and lesson plans need to be kept up to date. Working a full time job and then going to grad school, and keeping up with the work there is a challenge to, especially after the addition of a young baby into my life. I have already found myself sacrificing activities in order to make more time for both my career, because after all, I still need to pay my bills, and for the commitment to graduate school, which I chose willingly.
One of the toughest parts of this career is the time commitment required, and the fact is, you don’t get to punch out at the end of the day. When I find that perfect balance, I’m going to write a book about it, although that would get added to the list of items I need to finish then!