Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling stressed when you are meant to feel refreshed? Are you feeling as though you have so much to do and such little time to do it all? Especially with the added stress of the last-minute booking for a relief teaching day, feeling refreshed and having a well organised mindset will make all the difference to your life.   

Regardless of why this may be happening, either you are taking on too much responsibility or your time management techniques are poor, there are strategies you can implement to ensure that you are achieving a work life balance and getting the work done on time. Follow these 6 steps to see how you can balance your personal life whilst being an excellent relief teacher because it is possible! 

Don’t feel guilty 

If you are finding you are committing yourself to too much, do not feel guilty to cut down or say no. It is important to put yourself and your needs first, as much as work is important and is what puts the food on the table, it is also important to consider balance and to still be able to enjoy your down time with family and friends.  

It starts with realising that there are only 24 hours in a day, and we can only achieve what we can achieve within this time, anything outstanding can be picked up again the following day. Otherwise, if we spend our ‘downtime’ working or preparing, we will end up being more stressed, tired and run down in the end and achieve less than what we were already achieving in the first place.  

Focus on balance throughout the week with work and doing the things you want to do for yourself and you will find yourself with more energy, time and brainpower to get through your to-do list. 

Make use of free time to plan ahead   

When you are planning backup lessons, or rather, your relief teacher bag of tricks, remove all distractions and get through them in the most efficient way possible. It is easy to get stuck on whether you think an activity is going to be “fun enough” for a class or promotes the best learning opportunities but go with your gut instinct. Remember, you have the qualification to teach! The regular teacher should be leaving you work to cover, however we all know that is not always the case – so being prepared is key. 

Prioritise your to-do list 

If you have a couple of jobs lined up and you are starting to feel a little under prepared and need to start planning but are feeling a little overwhelmed? Prioritise your to-do list in order of what is to be needed first and so on and so forth. Remember, working on your bag of tricks should be something fun, not feeling like a chore! Procrastination is probably the biggest detriment to our productivity. A good strategy is to do your difficult tasks first, then your other tasks won’t seem so bad and you’ll be on a roll most likely will find it hard to stop.. 

Utilise schedules or even a diary 

Draw up a rough schedule of your week ahead writing in all your jobs for that week to see where your time lies to get organised. You may even begin to realise that you would like to cut back on taking jobs and have more time for yourself? You will only see this pattern once it is written out on paper. 

Having a schedule is important to achieve balance and ultimately reclaim your time and energy. 

Get support if you need, you are not alone 

Don’t forget that there are many other relief teachers out there who go through the same worries and stresses as you do. Most relief teachers have the same questions to ask, so therefore take the opportunity to reach out to fellow relief teachers perhaps via Facebook pages, or others in your area and seek the answers and support you need. It is important to remember you are not the only one struggling to get creative with lesson plans, struggling to find work or turn down work, manage work life balance and control a new class each day/week. 

Confiding in a trusted colleague at the school you are working at is another option if you are looking for support or advice on time management or achieving goals in a time frame.  

If you are feeling the pressure as a relief teacher it is important to remember that there are many of you out there that can assist you with support, ideas, advice or guidance to improve your strategies so don’t be afraid to speak up! 

Try our latest course on The Relief Teacher Association!

If you are interested in learning some valuable tips on time management, our latest courses Reclaim your Time and Reclaim your Energy by Amy Green may be just what you need to help maintain that work and life balance.