As a new teacher, figuring out how to achieve a healthy work-life balance can be a struggle. Many Early Career Teachers start working in education because they hope to make an impact on children and their learning, but they can sometimes face expectations that seem impossible to live up to.


In their Teacher Wellbeing Index, Education Support found that 70% of teachers and education staff said workload was the main reason for thinking about leaving their jobs.


However, finding the sweet spot between achievement and work-life balance can help teachers build a happy and healthy career in education. Read our top tips on how to look after your well-being as a new teacher. 

Respect your time and set boundaries



A lot of teachers are hard workers – staying up hours after school finishes to help students and marking papers over the weekends. It is important to recognise that you cannot attend every school event or plan countless school trips.


Instead, focus on what will have the most impact on your student’s success. When the school day ends, allow yourself time to unwind and recharge. Create a designated workspace for planning and grading and leave it behind when you step away.

Plan ahead



Planning out the weeks ahead can help you feel more in control of your time and makes it easier to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Create a realistic schedule that accounts for teaching, planning, and personal time. Prioritise tasks based on importance and deadlines, allowing you to maintain control over your workload.


As a teacher, you will have lots of different tasks – from lesson planning to marking work. There are many resources that you can use to help you stay organised. For example, Twinkl’s marking timetable is an easy way for you to track your tasks for the day. If you prefer, stick to a diary or planner – use whichever tools work best for you. There are also lots of online monthly calendars and to-do lists you can use to organise your days. A lot of these templates are interactive, so you don’t even need to print them!


Mastering the art of lesson planning will also allow you to achieve a better work-life balance. Read our page on lesson planning for new teachers here.

Learn to say no



While enthusiasm is commendable, it’s okay to say no when necessary. Teachers are often reluctant to say no, but it is essential. Overcommitting can lead to burnout.


Assess your capacity realistically and focus on tasks that align with your priorities and goals. This is a key part of learning how you can achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Delegate when possible



If you have the opportunity, delegate certain tasks. Whether it’s collaborating with colleagues or involving students in classroom responsibilities, sharing the load can lighten the burden and can promote your well-being.


By entrusting certain responsibilities to others, teachers can gain the gift of more time. This time can then be redirected towards self-care, lesson planning and time for socialisation.

Schedule time for friends and self-care



Some teachers may feel guilty for taking time off to rest, but rest is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. It allows you to function to the best of your abilities. Taking time for yourself or spending time with friends is a key part of doing your job well as it prevents burnout.


With all the pressures teachers face, taking time to switch off is essential. Your basic needs need to be met before you can give energy to others around you at work.


Schedule some time during the day for self-care – whether it’s reading, exercising, or spending time with loved ones. This way, you’re making a commitment to yourself and blocking out some time in your calendar to do something that will help you feel re-energised and refreshed. For some inspiration, check out some ideas in this blog on self-care.

Switch off your electronics



With online and email education platforms like Schoology, parents and students can connect with teachers at any time. Although this can be useful, it is important to shut off after a tiring day at work. Avoid replying to students and answering emails in the evenings as this can keep you awake and compromise your sleep. Let your students know that after 7pm, you will no longer reply to any messages or posts.


It can also be a good idea to set a time to switch all your electronics off. Although it can be difficult at first, reducing technology use at night can have a profound impact on your emotional and mental health along with your energy levels.

Get enough sleep



A lack of sleep can be detrimental to your well-being. Getting 8 hours of sleep a day is essential to help the body recover from stress the day brings and can improve your problem-solving abilities, decision making and memory. Burnout and a lack of sleep often go hand in hand.


Instead of staying up late, put your work down and have a good night’s sleep.

Be kind to yourself



Do you put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect? As teachers, it’s easy to fixate on small things – the lesson that didn’t go quite as well as we’d hoped or the email that should go out today.


Sometimes you just have to let it go and accept that perfection is an unattainable goal. It’s okay if every lesson doesn’t go according to plan or if you had a slip up at work. Embrace imperfection, learn from challenges, and move forward.


Click here for useful information to help you realise what is good enough, as opposed to striving for an unattainable level of achievement.

Learning how to achieve a healthy work-life balance as a teacher, particularly new teachers, can be tough. There are several benefits to achieving this state of well-being like improved job satisfaction and reduced burnout. It can even contribute to better outcomes for your students!


By incorporating these tips into your routine, you’ll not only thrive in your career but also relish the joy and fulfilment that teaching brings.